In the late 1970s Vicki and Karen became research and writing partners, living in a big old stucco house in Berkeley California, with Vicki's two daughters and our two cats. We were catapulted out of our academic foundation, Karen's in anthropology and biology and Vicki's in history and women's studies, into the fields of alternative healing, psychic studies, ancient occult and magical traditions, and Goddess spirituality.
With our combined feminist focus we delved into ancient art, prehistory, Goddess and tribal cultures, uncovering what turned out to be an ancient, continuous sacred female lineage dating back as far as human memory reaches. It seemed as if Fate had brought us together to do this research and write a Big book about these subjects, but instead we were the somewhat unwitting conduits to manifest the amazing Motherpeace Tarot deck.
In 1978, within a year of being given our first tarot deck, we were taken by surprise one night: Karen felt our room literally tilt, and Vicki proceeded to have a life changing vision of Goddess energy and transmission of ancient wisdom. We soon began drawing the Motherpeace deck.
In creating Motherpeace we were able to use our research into many diverse cultures from every continent. We looked back at thirty thousand years of art and five million years of human evolution. Our investigations led us to study many great Goddess and tribal cultures from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. All this knowledge pours through the Motherpeace images, whether or not a person ever reads any of our books or studies the tarot.
The exact origin of tarot cards is a mystery. They share a common history with playing cards which first appeared in the 1300s in medieval Europe. The earliest full-fledged tarot deck dates back to the 1400s in renaissance Italy.
The origin story most often told is that the wisdom keepers of ancient cultures were healers, shamans, storytellers and other artists, who chose between writing their wisdom into spiritual or philosophical text or putting their knowledge into a game. They decided that a game in the form of cards would last longer, be more accessible to everyone, as well as being easier to hide from the powers that be.
Some scholars speculate that cards and tarot came into Europe with the Gypsies, who are thought to descend from a Goddess worshiping people from India known as Dravidians.
Regardless of how exactly the tarot came into being, the messages encoded in the cards reflect the morality and world views of an earlier time. In creating the Motherpeace Tarot deck images, we gathered from ancient Goddess cultures and earth-based people, because we perceived that those cultures to be an original source for the wisdom we found in the tarot.The Motherpeace deck is a bridge back into an era when a high value was place on artistic expression and ritual, and when communities supported individual uniqueness as well as group welfare. We incorporated images of people in a variety of roles focusing on times and places where women were leaders or active participants in spheres beyond their immediate families. The Motherpeace cards became more than a divination tool for us: they were and are, a fundamental healing process for reaching beyond the limitations of gender, age, race and class roles found in our society.