The Swagatam Tarot story

The Swagatam Tarot story

  • Social Media
  • -
  • Jul, 19 , 23

Pankhuri Agarwal

  On an extremely sultry, summer afternoon in India, bogged down and restrained by the Covid lockdown, a flurry of thoughts whirled like a tornado inside my being. While my mind raced over a million topics, it wondered why could the tarot not include one extra element for a more in-depth reading?


Most cultures world-wide work with the 5-element concept, and this thought got my spiritual salivary glands all excited! Over the next hour, I channeled and visualized the Swagatam deck - except it wasn’t called anything back then. Funnily enough, the universe co-conspired and immediately responded by bringing up Aishwarya’s artwork as a suggestion on my Instagram. One look, and I was hooked. By that evening, Aishwarya and I had spoken, advances were paid, contracts were signed and the work for Swagatam had begun! What ensued in the next 10 days was nothing short of a miracle. I wrote like my life depended on it - an absolute manic frenzy - and Aishwarya matched my speed with her artwork. In less than 11 days, the Swagatam deck was complete! (On a side, and personal note, it also made me question if I may have undiagnosed ADHD - because the speed and quality of my work was not something I believe was ordinary - and yes, my hunch was right!)


I pitched the idea to Schiffer Publishing’s imprint, Red Feather MBS and very interestingly the day I was able to return (the then) home to London, I received the bombastically fantastic news that Swagatam had been accepted for publishing!


One of the questions that the acquisitions editor asked me while considering my deck was, what was unique about Swagatam? and why was the artwork the way it was? And here is the answer.


Swagatam is unique, not just because it has the extra element added making it a 92-card deck as opposed to the traditional 78 card deck. Swagatam is also unique for many other reasons - however two reasons stand out the most. Firstly, most of the new age philosophies find their root in ancient civilizations and scriptures, among which India has always been at center stage - and interestingly enough, even though decks borrowing from the Indian mythology had existed - there wasn’t a single one discussing India and the core philosophies that form the edifice of modern day spirituality. Secondly, apart from grouping the cards element wise/suit wise, they are also grouped number wise. Each number of the minor arcana represents a theme- mudras, seasons, food, and so on. This gives the opportunity for very specific answers during a divination session.  The major arcana follows the journey of the fool while drawing parallels from Indian philosophy about the purpose of a soul that is born on earth.


As a professional tarot card reader, it is non-negotiable for me to provide my client the worth of the time, money and trust they invest in me, and therefore that is the same intention and energy that directed me to create a deck to enable this for anyone who uses the deck for professional divination. And as I believe, if you’re 100 percent vested in your professional readings, you’d give yourself the same quality when you read for yourself without the age-old fear of having personal bias.


The artwork of Swagatam draws heavily from India and ‘Indianness’. Aishwarya’s inimitable art, classic use of color with a quirky approach to very heavy topics, makes the deck a very unique one for tarot collectors. Many cards are symmetrical, simple because I don’t turn my cards around to read reversals. I keep my cards upright and aim to read both polarities while keeping the cards upright.


The finishing on the cards, the box and book design by Red Feather MBS is the proverbial thread that strings together the beautiful cards into a simply outstanding work of beauty - much akin to a strand of pearls (of wisdom!)


As its creator, I recommend you use the deck in its conventional form and in any unconventional type of readings that our beautiful spiritual self wants to experience. In my experience I’ve learnt the limitations of what the tarot can do for us, are constantly being challenged and pushed as we evolve.


I also recommend the deck/ box to be read simply as one would read literature or a self- help book. The concepts, especially in the Major Arcana are very lofty concepts that I have simplified for the much more aware, suave, busy and impatient modern person. The tarot, as we know, is a tool that is as powerful as a healing methodology as it is a tool of divination and fortune telling.


You can use the deck to examine belief systems, chakras, balance and play of elements in your mind, body and environment. You may use the sevens in the minor arcana to specify location. I implore you to use the major arcana to understand your souls purpose, its challenges and its past lessons -  oh there is so much to be discovered and enjoyed in this intriguing deck called Swagatam - and this is precisely why I named the deck Swagatam, meaning welcome -  because I welcome you all to the plethora of being alive, with Swagatam being your guide, friend, challenger and maybe even lover on this exciting journey.


I would love to know of your personal experiences with the deck and the unique ways you use it. Do reach out to me on Instagram, my ID is Pankhuri_r.healer. Until we meet again, in the endless seas of eternal bliss, Namaste!

 Learn more here


  • Share this post :

Older Post Newer Post

Translation missing: