Oh happy day! My NeuroTarot has arrived! Created by neuroscientist and artist Siddharth Ramakrishnan, the NeuroTarot is a cluster of the 22 major arcana that come in a sweet cloth bag printed with the Brain Mystic logo. That logo is on the back of the tarot too, along with the tagline “insights from neuroscience”. I just love these cards! This is my third deck; the NeuroTarot is so beautifully executed, such an artful concept, I keep giving my set away so that other people can enjoy it.
If you’re familiar with one of the traditional tarot decks such as the Waite Rider or Morgan Greer, I think you’ll be charmed by the NeuroTarot’s unique design. Instead of the Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess and the other standard cards of the major arcana, Sidd’s NeuroTarot deck portrays concepts from neuroscience paired with imaginative illustrations of the processes and deep structures in the brain. Card 0, “Beginnings”, has Sidd’s depiction of neurolation, the development of the neural tube and all that can be. “Action” is card 1, and the notion is action potential, the charged neuron gathering all inputs. Card 2, “Introspection”, would be The High Priestess in a standard deck. But in the NeuroTarot, it represents the pineal gland and melatonin signaling. The imagery is a beautiful and peaceful androgynous face in a closed-eyed meditative pose. You can see the entire set and Sidd’s evocative artwork at the NeuroTarot Etsy store.
I wanted to share the arrival of my NeuroTarot deck on my Facebook and Instagram accounts. I laid out a silk/cashmere shawl that I bought in Shanghai (it’s quite sacred to me) then fanned out the cards and placed them on the scarf with the numbers moving from right to left. This is how I see my number forms, always right to left. The same is true for my spatial->sequential synesthesia in regard to days of the week. My week looks like a wheel and I move along that circle from right to left. My beautifully hued hours of the day rise up in front of me and above my head until midnight when the colored hours spill over to my left and form a new day. Although I am not left handed, many of my visual/conceptual synesthesias follow a right-to-left orientation.
When I looked at the NeuroTarot laid onto my pretty scarf, I immediately thought to rearrange the fanned out cards. I’ve trained myself to organize images and information in ways that make sense to other people, not to arrange things so they make sense to me. I live in a culture where people read English language literature from left to right, where web design puts key information on the right side of the screen, and where a number line or alphabet in a child’s classroom is scrolled from left to right. I’m accustomed to making corrections so I almost reordered my cards. But I didn’t.
I did not reorder my NeuroTarot for the photograph because I am determined at this time to honor my unique brain. I’ve spent so much of my life struggling to fit myself into patterns that make sense to other people; it’s utterly exhausting. The NeuroTarot is one more push toward accepting the mysteries of neurodiversity and allowing my own neurodivergence to run wild. I am neurodiverse AF, a true weird sister, and I am hellbent to live authentically these days, tics, bits of echolalia, right-to-left order and all.
This morning, I drew a card from my NeuroTarot deck as an oracle for my day. I got card 4, “Control”, which is paired with the frontal lobe. In the past few years I’ve learned that my own frontal lobe does best with a small dose of medication for ADHD, and lots of time for creative practices. The insight from NeuroTarot card 4 is this: the control exerted by the frontal lobe allows our humanness to emerge. I’ve placed that card on an easel next to my art supplies, and will use the imagery to motivate me as I work on the two mixed media pieces I am developing. It does indeed take control to bring one’s vision into this world. I am ever so grateful for the messages and mysteries of the NeuroTarot, and for Sidd’s inspiring creativity.