by Fawn Fitter

As soon as you draw your first card from the Little Erotic Tarot, you'll know you won't find the Queen of Pentacles or the Ace of Cups here. With cards like Fullness, Orgasm, Impotence, Submission, and Pleasure, it's clearly not your New Age roommate's deck of cards.

Helene Bouboulis, an artist from Paris now living in Los Angeles, had already published two Tarot decks and some children's books when she created the Little Erotic Tarot for a publisher friend's display at an "erotic fair." The small cards with playful line drawings in black, red, beige, and chartreuse seethe with a fierce and unrestrained sexual energy. "Discovery", a woman sitting naked on a table before an array of sex toys, radiates eager curiosity. "Protection," a condom machine, blares "Hyper resistant! Super sexy!" On the card for "Union," two intertwined bodies seem to share one face.

Tarot Card One

The French seem to accept the mysteries of the libido more easily than we Yankee puritans do. When Bouboulis sold her cards in Los Angeles, she found some people were offended by cards showing ropes, a rape, and a flogging. But the Little Erotic Tarot, like sex itself, isn't merely about pleasure. "Business," a woman in fishnets sitting on a bench, was inspired by the prostitutes who worked the bus stops in a posh Parisian neighborhood where Bouboulis once lived. "Disease" is covered with twinkly green and orange germs. And "Warning", a woman raking her fingernails across a man's groin as she sticks out an insolent tongue, is disturbingly funny. When you're questing for answers about the direction of a romance, turning up a card that looks like Lorena Bobbit in action may not seem erotic — but after all, both sex and the future inspire as much fear as anticipation.

Tarot card Two

By strange coincidence, the Little Erotic Tarot landed on my desk just as my romance began, shall we say, experiencing technical difficulties. My standard Rider-Waite Tarot deck wasn't offering me much direction, so I turned to this 32-card deck with its enclosed cheat sheet with the meanings of the cards ("Distance: touch only with your eyes.")and suggested nine-card spread. Even though I was working with an unfamiliar set of cards and a spread I'd never seen before, something clicked. My intuition started humming. The cards plainly advised me to hang on, back off, watch, and wait. So I did.

Lookin for Love?When I told Bouboulis that I'd used her cards to steer my love life, she seemed skeptical, insisting they're only for fun. Readings, she said, are a dangerous fraud if you take them too seriously. Still, the Little Erotic Tarot hadn't steered me wrong the first time. So a few weeks later, when the cards practically shouted "Now is the time," I listened. Whaddayaknow? They were right again!

Mystical guidance is where you find it. If you can't get to Paris to buy the Little Erotic Tarot at the Hune-Brenner art gallery, you can order directly from Bouboulis by sending $20 plus $3 shipping to 1525 Amherst Avenue, #206, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Her two other Tarot decks are "The French Revolution Tarot Deck" (1988) and the "World War II Tarot Deck" (1994)   </end>

Fawn Fitter is a professional writer and amateur Tarot reader. Kids, don't try this at home.

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