Vibrating Tarot is a forthcoming Tarot deck based on the 1909 illustrations of Pamela Colman Smith, featuring popular sex toys and adult pleasure products in place of all the people and iconic imagery.
The world of Vibrating Tarot builds upon the traditional Tarot themes, transforming the essence of the deck as a whole, while paying homage to many different sub-genres within the world of kink, BDSM, and sex positivity.
Vibrating Tarot is an independent project that brings together dozens of themes in the world of sex positivity, and dozens of quality names in the adult toy industry, so that we may all celebrate the diverse threads that weave together our tapestry.
Yes, there will be an accompanying guidebook that will explain each card.
I'd also like to have an extended online version of the guidebook so that I can go into more detail about each toy and each card's unique characteristics.
Vibrating Tarot is an independent project brought to you by an individual artist. I have no help in manufacturing or distributing this product, so I thank you for your patience while I figure everything out.
When all of the artwork is done and all of the licensing agreements are signed, we'll run the crowdfunding campaign. I'm hoping this will happen in 2023.
In our crowdfunding stage, you'll be able to obtain a first edition deck by backing the project in our online crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
Join our mailing list, here, to get notified about the crowdfunding campaign.
In our second stage, you'll be able to order a deck, again online, through a pre-sale campaign that will fund our second print run. It will be in this stage that I can offer wholesale prices to other retail outlets who want to sell the deck on their shelves.
Following the second print run, the deck will be sold in a variety of different online and in person retail environments.
After that, I'm hoping a professional Tarot card publishing company will offer to buy the project from me so that Vibrating Tarot can thrive with a reputable company who can process manufacturing and distribution on a larger scale.
When all of the artwork is done and all of the licensing agreements are signed, we'll run the crowdfunding campaign.
I'm hoping to run the crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter sometime in 2023.
In the meantime, please join our mailing list, here, to be notified when we start our Kickstarter campaign.
Yes, if you are an adult retailer who would like to stock this product, or an occult shop or gift shop owner or purchasing manager, please get in touch with me at email@example.com
I will not be able to offer wholesale prices during the initial Kickstarter run, but I will have wholesale prices available to retail outlets in the pre-sale campaign for our second print run.
My name is Frank Lawrence (he/they), I am a multidisciplinary Hamilton, Ontario based artist who runs a freelance graphic design company called Pallor Publishing.
Having obtained a Bachelor of Design at York University/Sheridan College, I specialize in typography and book design, and predominantly focus on tangible and tactile projects with themes of horror, kink, and the occult.
Vibrating Tarot is the largest project I've ever attempted to accomplish, and you're all watching me navigate these waters for the first time.
I'm trying to manage maintaining friendly and professional relationships with over 100 different toy manufacturing companies, from large corporations to independent artists. I'm also learning everything I can about running my first crowdfunding campaign, all while trying to find my own visual style for the artwork in an increasingly crowded Tarot card production landscape.
If I've ever directly said thank you to you, believe me, you have truly been a godsend. I honestly appreciate everything that everyone has done to help me get the project to the point where it is today. From discussing printing companies with other Tarot designers, to discussing sex toys with toy manufacturers and reviewers, to discussing politics with sex educators, all of you have helped me grow and have helped solidify the base of this project, and are continuing to help it grow into the most honourable and successful version it can be.
My experience and journey with the Tarot has been unparalleled in terms of finding something like a system that affords me the opportunity to understand myself better, to understand others better, to meet new people and to make meaningful connections. Not only that, but it has allowed me to understand the world better and realize my place within it. What it means to be alive, to have free choice, to understand life situations on a deeper level, to trust your inner voice, and to be able to share these wonderful intuitive processes with those who are close to you.
This project is an amazing way to teach myself a deeper understanding the Tarot cards as I go through the process of tearing the deck apart and putting it back together again, redrawing every card anew, and discovering details I never knew existed. This new understanding will lay the groundwork for my next Tarot project and the one after that. So I’m grateful to be in this position and wouldn’t trade it for any other project.
: :Without having a solid idea of what I was getting myself into, I formally started working on Vibrating Tarot in February 2020.
I always knew that this project would take years to accomplish. I spent the first year figuring out what I was doing, the second year figuring out how to do it, and the third year will be spent figuring out how to get it done and out into the world and into your hands.
Below is a full timeline of the project so far:
2017: This idea first came to me in a daydream in 2017. Back then I wasn’t able to work on it, but I filed it away for later, and continued letting it simmer on the back burner. I knew that there would be enough sex toys to make the idea work, but if you asked me to name any brands, I would have only been able to list about three.
Feb. 14, 2020: I designed a logo and started an Instagram account, posting my very first preliminary image of the Lovers card, as a piece of art, without permission from the company whose toy I had used, without knowing what to expect, and ultimately completely clueless as to what would come from it.
Oct. 2020: Start a formal process of acquiring each company’s explicit permission, via email, before using their imagery in the project. Realize that someday soon, I would need to put a formal licensing agreement in place.
Feb. 2021: After having designed the majority of the Major Arcana, I announce for the first time what the four suits will be and explain what my plan is for the 56 cards in the Minor Arcana.
May 2021: Major breakthrough in learning and understanding how Procreate works and how I can find my own visual style in redrawing the original illustrations and redesigning the colour palette from the original images.
Nov 2021: Started my process about learning how to run a successful crowdfunding campaign. This will be my first attempt at using Kickstarter or any other crowdfunding platform.
Mar. 2022: After chatting with a few different industry leaders, I ask my lawyer to draw up an official licensing agreement so that I can start collecting signatures from the companies who are participating in Vibrating Tarot.
Jul. 2022: Official endorsement from VP of US Games, publisher of the RWS Tarot. This means that any questions about the legality of using the RWS likeness in the Vibrating Tarot project are put to rest.
Oct. 2022: First round of licensing agreements are sent out to be signed by toy manufacturers.
Yes, each company that you see on our Toy Company page has initially given me their permission to continue with my work in an email correspondence.
After two years of research, corresponding with over 100 different companies, and a design process that has finally put rhyme and reason to everything involved, we are at the point where an official licensing agreement has been drawn up by my lawyer, and we are for the first time, asking each company to sign the document in order to make it all official.
Vibrating Tarot is a commercial project, so a licensing agreement between us and each company is warranted, and has been requested by many companies who have agreed to be part of this project.
The Licensing Agreement that Vibrating Tarot is using is a very straightforward document that officially grants me permission to use the likeness of a company's product in the Vibrating Tarot deck.
An additional detail includes limiting my use of their images to the deck of cards only, and not being allowed to use their images in any other project.
The Licensing Agreement that Vibrating Tarot is using was drawn up by my intellectual property lawyer here in Hamilton, Ontario.
I have always found tremendous pride in sharing the names of all of the companies contributing imagery to Vibrating Tarot, and it has always been a priority for me to make sure that there are several different ways in which I make this information available.
The strength of this project is in celebrating the diversity of artists and businesses who have come together, and I’m grateful to be in a position where I can help new customers find their way to new adult toy companies.
On social media, I always tag the accounts of the artists and businesses who are featured in the post. Please see my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter @VibratingTarot
On my website, I always post the names of the contributors within the images that are showcased.
I also have a list on my website of all of the contributing companies to the project, that can be accessed here, with links to all of their websites.
In the project itself, all companies will be listed and thanked in the guidebook that comes with the deck of cards. They will also be noted within the description of each card so that people know which company contributed which toys.
"Good luck with it."
VP of US Games
Over the past two years, I have read extensively on this matter and have consulted dozens of online articles and opinion pieces, as well as spoken to my own intellectual property lawyer about this issue.
Earlier this year I wrote my own blog post about it, which you can access here.
It comes down to this: the original black line illustrations drawn by Colman Smith are public domain as of 2022, but the colour palette, along with the typography, back of the card design, and box art, are all protected by a US Games copyright claim.
That's perfect because the colour palette, the typography, the design on the backs of the cards, and the box design, are all newly created art designed specifically for Vibrating Tarot.
The original black line illustrations drawn by Colman Smith are the only element that Vibrating Tarot uses in its artwork, and as stated above, they became public domain in 2022.
As for the Rider Waite Smith trademark: US Games says that they may hold copyright ownership over the RWS name in perpetuity.
Vibrating Tarot takes careful steps to describe itself as a deck that is "based on the original Pamela Colman Smith illustrations", and never mentions the RWS trademark at any time.
In addition to this, I have reached out to US Games, and have heard back from their VP, who has reviewed several cards in the project and has told me that "This (Vibrating Tarot) has nothing to do with US Games. Good luck with it."
Each card in the Tarot deck tells its own story and there should always be a good reason as to why a certain toy appears on a card. Therefore, each toy is carefully selected for the card it appears on. A toy‘s function, shape, materials, and colour are usually the chief decision makers.
The 4 Suits are replaced in the following manner:
Wands = Rope
Cups = Lubricant
Swords = Whips
Pentacles = Plugs
A self warming toy is featured in the Suit of Rope which represents Fire.
A concentration of glass toys are featured in the Suit of Lube which represents Water.
A toy that uses air suction is shown in the Suit of Whips which represents Air.
Ceramics and crystal toys are featured heavily in the Suit of Plugs which represents Earth.
Court cards, like Knight, Queen, and King cards hold more powerful toys than other cards.
Certain lubricants can only be paired up with certain toys and not with others.
Certain toy company giants must be properly honoured by showcasing them on the best cards in the deck. The companies who have paved the way for the entire industry, or who have contributed breakthrough toys in their field, are usually gathered in the Major Arcana.
Someone once told me that all the cards will look the same because none of the toys will carry their own nuance. I say this in return: if you allow me the chance, I will convince you otherwise. There is a lot of information and nuance built into the imagery, and just like any other Tarot deck, it will take you a long time to discover all of the different layers.
This is a very important part of putting this puzzle together because I believe that I should showcase the brands and toys that are the most trusted and most revered, and who pride themselves on being body safe.
I have been approached by dozens of adult toy manufacturers who I would never allow into Vibrating Tarot, and I have made it a mission to feature only the most reputable companies and to actively avoid the questionable ones.
If I have made any missteps, I humbly ask that you contact me to open a discussion about it.
My name is Frank, and I am genuinely interested in your opinion. My contact is firstname.lastname@example.org
I have always used a community informed approach, and have always asked that my audience be open about communicating their thoughts and desires to me. This deck is not for me, it is for all of you.
For the past two years, I've been trying my best to build bridges with the most well known names in the adult toy industry, and to keep an open dialogue about listening to their requests and paying attention to the factors that are important to them so that I can ensure that everyone is happy and proud about moving forward with this project with the highest form of integrity.
People will use this deck and look at it as a source of inspiration, to expand their ideas, and to try new things. I always want to be putting the best products in front of their eyes, and to always try to make available a rich discourse on the mater.
The issue of sex education is one that must be embraced with a project like this, and I'm proud to say that I've had the chance to reach out to some sex educators within the course of this project and have taken their advice to heart as I've been designing the deck of cards.
Vibrating Tarot must not shy away from the fact that it will be used as an education tool whether it wants to be or not; whether it’s in a professional setting or in a personal one, people will always look at this deck and learn something from it.
Therefore, it is my greatest duty to ensure that the imagery I put forward and the message I send is always one that comes from a sober place of genuine integrity.
It is equally important that I share resources for my audience in order to direct them to the right places to get their questions answered.
I am not a sex educator, I will never agree to answer any personal or sexual questions of any sort. I come to this project from the point of view of a graphic designer, and secondly from the viewpoint of someone interested in the Tarot and similar systems of divination.
It has always been important for me to teach myself about the sex toy component of this project, to familiarize myself with the industry, and to learn from the sex educators who take it upon themselves to make sure that accessible, non biased and accurate information is available.
A list of sex educators who have one way or another influenced the scope of this project is provided here.
They do not endorse this Tarot deck nor are they affiliated with it in any way. They are simply faces and voices that I've discovered while working on this project. Each of them have something incredibly dynamic and worthwhile to share.
Vibrating Tarot gathers together a lot of different adult products across its 90 cards. There has always been enough room for a clear representation of women owned businesses, as well as businesses that are owned by any racial and ethnic minority.
I have also done a lot to put front and centre the voices of those in the LGBTQ+ community by showcasing queer positive imagery and inviting queer owned businesses to have their products featured in the project.
It has been a goal to learn about the companies that I invite into Vibrating Tarot, and to ensure that small businesses and independent artists share the spotlight with the bigger companies.
The voices of queer and BIPOC sex educators who make it their mission to provide rich, varied, and accurate information to people around the world, are also an important element in the overall picture and I invite you to see our Sex Educators page to find a variety of individual voices.
At first, I thought I could ask my crowdfunding backers for charitable donations through the crowdfunding process. I would haven given away the extra funds to organizations that provide aid to sexual assault survivors, and to those in the LGBTQ+ community who are persecuted.
It turns out that no charitable donations can be collected through Kickstarter.
Then I thought that I would build a concept into the project after the crowdfunding campaign was over, where $1 from each deck sold will go charity.
But it turned out that doing something like this is far more convoluted than it sounds, furthermore, it was too often seen as a negative because it opens the doors to unforeseen issues like associations with charities that not everyone agrees to, the possibility of mismanaged funds, and host of other situations and details of this sort.
I realized that I needed to strip all of this down and present a clean and straightforward licensing agreement to the toy companies who are allowing me to use their imagery, not one that is filled with extra sections that open the door to unforeseen issues.
After all, I'm just one person. Bringing this project to fruition will be a miracle unto itself, and I cannot let the main goal be sacrificed because I wanted something extra.
But then I realized that I can tackle charity donations on a smaller scale.
I could paint or otherwise create a new artwork based on one of the cards in the Tarot deck, and auction it off for charity myself, or provide it to an organization who is equipped to run such an event.
It would require the specific permission of each company who appears on the specific card in question, and it would always be handled separately and independently of the actual deck of Tarot cards.
I'm looking forward to figuring out all these details when the time is right.
The entire scope of the project is a deck of 90 cards, an accompanying colouring book of all the images, and a free font that will be released for non commercial use.
Aside from that, there will not be any other official merchandise. There will never be any stickers, patches, pins, posters, t-shirts, tote bags, or any other kind of product that I will ever seek to sell.
The Licensing Agreement that Vibrating Tarot is using goes into detail on this issue and states that we are licensing imagery to only be used in the deck of cards and accompanying colouring book.
Yes, there's a font. It came together as a part of my design process while making the Tarot deck. It is made up of my illustrations of each toy in the Tarot deck.
The font is not merchandise, its a free download intended to be available under a “free for non commercial use” license.
Please visit our Vibrating Tarot Font page for the full story.
Now more than ever, people are making their own independent decks of cards. That means that we need an increasing number of sex positivity and LGBTQ+ representation in this medium.
And the sex toy industry is booming right now but too many people are still buying cheaply made knock offs from Amazon. This project will introduce so many new world class, award winning, body safe options to people and has always made available the channels to purchase these toys the right way, from trusted retailers, or directly from the manufacturer.
With sex positivity at its core, acceptance, and embracing of everyone across many spectra, Vibrating Tarot starts the types of conversations that bridge the gap between sexuality and spirituality.
The concept clears away stigma with its initial humour, but the deck of cards can also be looked at in a much deeper way and should be used as a serious tool of divination to engage in, solo or with friends and trusted partners, in search of knowledge about their sexual selves.
The classic Colman Smith images have been used as a backdrop for dozens of different decks, all with different themes, many of them which have taken themselves much less seriously than the level that I have approached this project with.
There have been Tarot decks made with endless varieties of themes, each one more creative than the last. The union of sexual imagery to the Tarot system is nothing new. I have seen many different Tarot decks that showcase materials of a sexual nature and far worse than that.
To say the theme of "adult toys" that I’ve brought to the Tarot backdrop is negative is a viewpoint that is based on subjective ideologies that people are going to have no matter what. I can never change the fact that there will be people that will dislike the new connotations I’ve introduced to these images.
All I can do is advocate for the seriousness behind my intentions, for the extreme depth of detail found within all of my design decisions, and for the socially, culturally, and ethically conscious lens that this deck is being designed under, as described in my online presence and extensively on my website.
I would go as far as to say that I find it much more offensive to discover that Disney has taken the Tarot format to produce decks of cards based off of their films. This seems much more like a corporate cash grab and a commercialization and desecration of the Tarot format. There are many people who would disagree with my point of view, but the common denominator is that there is room for everyone within the discussion.
Vibrating Tarot is not a corporate cash grab. It is an independent project that brings together dozens of themes in the world of sex positivity, and dozens of quality names in the adult toy industry, so that we may all celebrate the diverse threads that weave together our tapestry. It is set upon a spiritual backdrop because spirituality and sexuality have gone hand in hand for thousands of years. After all, love is one of the top subjects that card readers find themselves answering questions about.
I’ve been reading the Tarot for myself for over 10 years. I sometimes read for family and friends, rarely do I read the cards in a commercial setting, but I am becoming increasingly interested in reading cards on a professional level as I've always found that reading for strangers is far easier than reading for someone I know personally.
As a general rule for myself, I’d like to refrain from ever reading from the Vibrating Tarot deck, whether it be for friends, family, or any possible future clients.
As the designer of the deck, I’d like to be able to step away from it after it has been published and let the world digest it on its own.
One thing I will never do is solicit you or anyone else for a card reading. It is wrong and unethical to do so. Real card readers will never do this, and if you are being solicited for a card reading, it is generally a sign that you are being scammed.
There are a lot of scammers going around right now online in the Tarot world. A lot of fake and scammer accounts popping up claiming to be well known individuals in the Tarot community. They follow you, pretending to be someone they’re not, and then they’ll send you a message telling you that they want to read your cards.
People in the Tarot community are pretty good about having each other’s backs and reporting these accounts when they pop up. And for this reason, we all state that no authentic Tarot reader will ever message you directly to solicit a card reading.
The sex toy industry has experienced a huge boost in recent years, even in the short time it has taken me to bring the project this far, and the Tarot itself has come back in a huge way and is currently enjoying a major cultural resurgence. The time is right for this project to come together right now.
The strength of this project is that there is instant recognition with the original Pamela Colman Smith imagery, and usually a curiosity as to what the rest of the cards look like under this new theme of adult toys.
For those who have enjoyed playing with sex toys, there is an established connection to the toy that they love, and chances are that they may see their favourite toy featured in the deck of cards. The love that they have for the toys, and the companies who make them, becomes a love for the designs that the toys appear in.
If you are unfamiliar with the original Tarot imagery, and you’ve never used a sex toy, this deck is still appealing as it would be an awesome gift for one of your friends. It is a viable product on many different shelves in today's increasingly sexually aware marketplace.
We are not allowed to advertise on Facebook or Instagram by using images of the product.
This project is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18.
Not everyone out there is mature enough to handle this project or to see it for its deeper value. It may be written off as a "novelty item."
In regards to advertising the Kickstarter and subsequent market availability, we can inquire about utilizing the fanbases and email lists of the toy companies that are involved. This could lead to hundreds of thousands of new email addresses that we can reach.
Considering everything we stand for, we hope Vibrating Tarot might be recommended by sex educators as a tool for them to use in their practise and/or to recommend to their clients and patients. If we could secure an endorsement from a sex educator, or a reputable sex educator who can speak about how they can see value in this product, it could go a long way in helping the deck of cards reach new levels of exposure and success.
Some of the companies may change their minds or may decide that they don’t want to sign the licensing agreement for their own legitimate reasons. The structure of the deck is so delicate that if a certain company here or there were to drop out, it could cause a domino effect where several different cards may have to change as a result.
Word of mouth is an amazing tool, so please tell everyone you know about our project.
Join the mailing list, here, so that you can make sure that you don't miss the crowdfunding campaign.
If you really want to help me in a more active way, I'll put you on my launch team, and you can help us out in a variety of different ways like by forwarding info to your own personal mailing list, and helping us promote the crowdfunding campaign by posting about it on your social media accounts during a specific time frame.
As a member of my launch team, you'll also be asked to back the project by making your purchase within the opening minutes of the crowdfunding campaign in order to boost the Kickstarter algorithm and set us up for greater exposure.
Contact me anytime for more information on how you can be a part of our launch team.
Sign up to hear from us about our next steps, including the upcoming Kickstarter campaign.