By Amber C. Snider
Straight from the mind of tarot reader and Cosmopolitan contributor Sarah Potter, a dreamy new deck for the modern era appears.
Sarah Potter is all about sharing the magic with others. The Cosmo Deck, her latest collaboration with Cosmopolitan magazine, has a chic, psychedelic, and playful energy that puts a new spin on classic archetypes. It’s refreshing to see the women's magazine, which was first published in 1886, openly embrace astrology, witchcraft and magic, but especially so for tapping veterans like Potter to help. A long-time patron of the Enchantments shop and seasoned color magic practitioner, Potter has been working with the tarot since she was 12 years old, which is also around the same time she started reading Cosmo magazine. It feels serendipitous then for her to helm the deck’s guidebook.
The deck's imagery takes the layered symbolism found in the original tarot and translates it into intuitive, accessible images filled with faces, diamonds, astrological charts, and of course, the glittering night sky. Wands and rods have been transformed into keys, while swords have been converted into pens (because is there anything more powerful?). “I wanted it to be approachable and accessible without being dumbed down, and to honor the tarot as a tool for intuition,” she says. “Magic is special and otherworldly, but it’s also something that can be accessible and smart. I believe that tarot is for everyone,” she says.
Condensing all the varied meanings of the cards into a small guidebook is no easy feat, especially when each card has so many layers. And yet, that’s exactly what she did, using language that feels like getting advice from a best friend. “Tarot was such a big part of slumber parties growing up and I wanted the deck to be like another friend who’s joining the party, offering another perspective, and reminding you that you already know what to do. But sometimes you need that extra confirmation,” she says. “So I thought: How can I embody that energy and put it into this deck?”
Potter says she began the writing process by going back to the time when she picked up her first tarot deck as a teenager. “I was searching for answers and a better understanding of myself and the world around me. And also, I’m not gonna lie, I always wanted to know who had a crush on me and figured tarot could help me navigate love, too!” she adds. We’ve all combed through tarot spreads seeking love advice, but the tarot tends to reveal things we already know deep down, making it a powerful tool for intuition, as well as for divination. “Tarot has always helped me throughout my whole life,” says Potter. “Especially when I needed a reminder of my own inner wisdom.”
Potter loves the outcome of the visuals, which were created by the Art Department at Cosmo: “It’s dreamy, and ethereal, and evocative –– and it’s inclusive. Not every tarot deck is for everyone, but I hope you can find something that you can relate to in it,” she adds. “[I hope] it truly invites anyone who’s using it to spark their imagination and to look at the cards in a new way.” The cards include colored borders (which you can add your own meaning to), providing both a nice frame and offer a connection to the suits of the Minor Arcana.
When the deck first arrived, I was particularly intrigued with the swapping of the wands/rods for keys, a symbol I thought translated well in this new context. Potter cites the wands as symbolic of our passions and inspirations: “Having the key emblematic of this energy is about unlocking something, whether it’s personal secrets or wisdom. It’s a very active energy. Take the key and try the different locks to see what opens,” she says. The choice of diamonds also feels apropos for the deck: “I think of diamonds as clarity and I turn to my tarot deck because I’m seeking clarity. And it adds a sense of luxury that’s chic and opulent. It feels special.”
The knowledge we can take away from a spread normally brings clarity –– which is ultimately empowering. And Potter agrees: “What we don’t know is so much scarier, or the infinite possibilities of the unknown. I think we can often be our own worst enemies the way we can overthink things. I like to think of tarot as more soothing and clarifying. It can be brutal, but at the same time, I find it a loving energy and a gentle quality in the way it delivers.”
In many ways, this deck feels like just the beginning for Sarah Potter and more decks to come. As for the future, she remains characteristically optimistic: “I don’t know what I’m going to tap into next!”
You can purchase The Cosmo Deck: The Ultimate Deck and Guidebook at the Enchantments shop or online. To read more about Sarah Potter and color magic, check out this story.