Wordsday, March 23, 2013


The great mystery of Black Rock City has long confounded archaeologists. Until now, experts held that the lost Burner tribe was cut off from the rest of the world in its vast, desert wasteland. The clan's sophisticated technologies and intriguing social rituals must have arisen spontaneously.

Not so, according to scientists at Goddard College. New artifacts reveal that the Burners did have contact with an advanced civilization. Researchers believe that centuries ago a small band of Tarotists migrated from the Northwest and colonized a tiny plot of land at Black Rock City, for reasons unknown. When they departed several years later, they left precious cargo behind.

As every child is taught in school, Tarotists invented a unique early form of written and visual language that was codified in complex tomes known as Tarot decks. Fragile examples of these cards exist only in museums today---and in the harsh Playa desert. A Burner whose name translates roughly to Miss Magdalen of Mystical Mayhem thought the cards must be magical devices of the Tarotist gods. She became the High Priestess of the cult that archaeologists are calling "Burning Tarot."

"Miss Magdalen used the cards as a kind of mirror, so querents could see into their own souls," says Dr. Winston Smith, director of the current dig. "She called each religious session a 'Tarot reading.'"

The cult's elaborately costumed and highly charismatic shaman, Steven St. Cheese, imitated the Tarotists by creating new cards. They depict his fellow Burners portraying Tarot characters, clothed in peculiar garments and carrying strange religious objects: gaily colored "cowboy" hats, a vision-enhancing device called the "goggle," a "CamelBak", and even the taboo "feather boa," banned from conventional Burner society.

Relics of Burning Tarot will be on display at the annual Black Rock City Days festival (along with homemade jams, a livestock exhibition, and of course, the pie competition). Actors performing the roles of Miss Magdalen and Steven St. Cheese will "initiate" visitors into the "cult" by giving Tarot readings and workshops...and photographing participants so that they, like the ancient Burners before them, may become characters in a new Burning Tarot deck.

Based on the new excavations, alumni from Goddard College's prestigious MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program have painstakingly re-created the fragile 2009 Burning Tarot deck. Enthusiasts are welcome to download it for free at magdalen.com.


Saturday, February 20, 2010



Thursday, October 15, 2009


Enjoy your FREE DOWNLOAD today!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


To answer a common question:

I started reading amateurishly in the mid to late 1980s. I began a more serious investigation, and worked with a Tarotist, in 1990-1992.

Then I read a lot of books, did a lot of readings, got a lot of different decks, and.... oh lordy.... got a job doing readings on a psychic phone line, where I lasted one week. (Note: I think you can give perfectly good readings via phone or online. Working there just sucked.) I wrote about oracles for online magazines, interviewed people like astrologer Rob Breszny and Paul O'Brien of the I Ching and Synchronicity online, and wrote cheezball horoscopes for various commercial entities and publications.

I proceeded to do Tarot only for friends.

I proceeded to attempt to forget what I'd learned in the books.

Burning Tarot has really charged me up with being a more consistent reader again, and more frequently giving readings to strangers. It's great shit. Thank you, wild people ov Burnland.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


- Burning Tarot rawked! I'm really sorry if you tried to find us & couldn't get to the new location. We were part of the Rocketeers camp (facing "B" near 6:30) for Raygun Gothic Rocketship, which was hands-down the greatest B Man project I've ever had the honor to work on, even if my contribution was at best, ummmm, marginal. (Pictured left: the 9 of Express; photo Steve Fritz).

- Miss Magdalen's Tarot workshop brought in some 25 people to a tiny lil' Tarot hut. It was great to see you all. I especially love how these workshops combine experienced readers, most of us with somewhat differing opinions, with brand newbies. Thanks so much for participating.

- The musician Grey Anne often played hostess in the Tarot hut while I gave readings in the back. Apparently y'all had a good time while waiting: yay! She had the brilliant and bizarre idea of giving "Dino Readings" with plastic dinosaurs that happened to be in the Tarot hut. Look for her "Dino Tarot" readings around food cart pods in Portland; she has a really cool setup for it. (Pictured left: the 31 of Exist, photo Steven Fritz.)

- You guys were generous with the gifties yet again. Yum. Let's see, there were red wines, sangria, whiskeys of good quality, chocolates, a rubber ducky, a set of beautiful
B Man 2009 earrings, and even a slab of smoked salmon.

- And also, thank you for being patient, waiting in line, working with me on the New Agey pre-reading meditation stuff, and generally being a cool, open, generous group of Tarot querents.

- Loves,
- magdalen/tiffany

Rocket photo stolen without permission from jadekeller.com

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Dear lovely people: I have made a giant, 160-image Tarot deck for you. I have invented the Double Tarot especially for you, including an 80-card brand-new Burning Man-only "deck." I have given you approximately 4,000 readings --- free --- in the last 6 weeks. Whine, whine, martyr, martyr, waah waah.

But dude. Give me a little leeway on posting the deck for your free downloading pleasure. I love that you care!! I really do. I love getting prods and questions in email. But, uh, like don't be accusatory about it, OK? Please? Thank you.

Oh, why are we waiting? Cuz Lena, who basically finished all the production and printing stuff on the deck, wanted a couple changes to it before we upload it. She is smart and she is correct; there are some flubs in that file. So! We must all wait for me & Lena to spruce it up a bit.

In the meantime, here's a sample. Photo by Steven Fritz. (Recognize the Hierophant? Hee Hee.)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Burning Tarot pictures, update

MANOR HOUSE in Portland:
Burning Tarot is up & running at the Manor of Art. chekc out photographer Steven Fritz on Facebook to see some pix ... Come by if you're in Portland.

You can browse the new deck in Room #310 during all opening hours, though to get the full effect ya gotta come when I'm there, because I'm an actual piece of the installation. (god, those performance artists.) i will definitely be on-site Sun 16th 3-6 pm, Wed 19th 4-7 pm, 1:30-4 pm Thurs 20th, and Fri the 21st 5-7 pm (warning, most of Friday's Tarot schedule is filled already)... and Sat the 22nd 3-5 pm, perhaps later. all slots on Sat the 23rd are filled already.

we'll have a small sign and a yellow hut full of red fabric stuff. Look around the perimeter of the Raygun Gothic Rocketship building crew camp, near 6:30 and "B." Despite what the B Man events calendar says, we're not in Hushville. sorry about that. Readings avail 1-3 pm Tues sept 1, 1-3 pm Thurs the 3rd, and 1-3 pm Sat the 5th --- plus whenever i feel up for it.

Tarot/Double Tarot workshop 4-5:30 pm Thurs, Sept 3rd, all levels welcome.

Two prints of the deck exist. One is in the possession of Miss Magdalen of Mystical Mayhem; the other is owned by Steven Fritz, who shot most of the lovely photos in this 160-card deck. Eventually, e.g. when I get my shit together, I'll upload files to this site for free download.

See the facebook link above, come to the show, visit us at Burning Man, or look on the wooden fence around Center Camp Cafe -- we'll have a small installation there as well.


Friday, July 24, 2009

BURNING TAROT II debuts at "The Manor of Art"

The new, 2009 Burning Tarot deck—a "double tarot" deck initiated by Tiffany Lee Brown—will debut at the Manor of Art group show in Portland, Oregon from August 14 to August 24, 2009.

It's the subject of an installation and performance in Room 310 in an abandoned, dilapidated nursing home next to Milepost 5, at 900 NE 81st Avenue. Lots of opening parties, bands, etc. Click below for deets!

Artists: Tiffany Lee Brown (a.k.a. Miss Magdalen of Mystical Mayhem) and photographer Steven Fritz, together with the participants who made the new Burning Tarot deck happen...

Milepost 5's Manor of Art page: www.milepostfive.com/manor
Tiffany Lee Brown's artist/etc. page: www.magdalen.com
Burning Tarot homepage: www.burningtarot.com

Miss Magdalen's readings & gift certificates (phone or in-person): http://seedcake.etsy.com
A non-profit arts fundraiser unrelated to the Burning Tarot project.

Email list/occasional updates: send email to magdalen23 att gmail.com with "burning tarot" in the subject header. Thanks!