Arkartia: New steps for tarot online

3 May 2017

Arkartia: Kickstarter Tarot Association

So Arkartia. What’s that now?
I had promised to tell you a few of my thoughts – if that might help you in your ‘to pledge or not to pledge‘.
Augmented reality apps, online communities, digital worlds and characters…they aren’t new in the pc-world, but they are in tarot. That is where the visionary part comes in with the newest project by the Tarot Association (TA): Arkartia.

While many tarot readers are still taking their first steps into the whole online learning and sharing thing on (f.e.) Facebook, creators Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin are obviously ready for the next step. Sunday evening, April 30th they launched Arkartia, a combination of an online community, interactive map and accompanied by an app.

Full disclosure: I already backed the project because if nothing else: I’d like to be part of new things in tarot (which is why I aptly chose to pledge as Pioneer). I personally think, but have to base that on what I have seen so far, that the project makes the Tarot Association a pioneer in its own right. Setting up a community where people can share within certain locations, integrate blogs, online readings, courses and give tarot readers a sense of belonging to go with that…that’s cool. And then to have the eye-candy – the digital map – to go with that community: that’s awesome.

Interactive eye-candy

Let’s face it: when it comes to it, we tarot readers favor paper. Our decks. So internet comes in second. I can even imagine there will be those that think tarot and tech don’t go together. On that part I disagree. When Ciro Marchetti designed his Kipper: Fin de Siecle and used Aurasma – an app used to hover over a card to show you video and info – I already felt this would be ‘the next new thing’. The interactive part does not detract from any sacred part you see in tarot or paper companions – I don’t think they’ll ever go out of style. It’ll just be a more interesting combination.

When it comes to the eye-candy I spoke of before, it is not surprised this was designed by that same Marchetti. Even if you don’t like his art on tarot cards, it will be hard to say his style *isn’t* ideally suited for a magical digital tarot world. He created the maps, the castles, Arkartia’s nature, people and what the augmented reality app will show on tarot decks (First his own Decoratif deck and the Waite-Smith, later other designers can include their decks). For now Arkartia will be 2D. Think video clips and clicking on links and images. But maybe -if the project is funded way over or perhaps in the future – we could have our own avatars in a 3D Arkartia on the location that is assigned to us.

Realms & free courses

Speaking of…That location is based on your astro-chart, so I will welcome my soon-to-be-Leo-neighbors already! Every one of the 12 realms of Arkartia is linked to a Zodiac sign and then there are 22 more locations focused on the Arcana. As a resident (also called Tarot Wayfarer) you get astro tips and other tarot-related material for your realm. Your subscription and what you ‘do’ in Arkartia unlocks certain other parts of the map.

The doing part is the ‘journey’. Every realm has its own set of media, other than the zodiac material, and of course many exercises and courses will be offered (later) free of charge or for a fee, by the TA or by other institutes. Most likely members of the TA can expect some bonus material. All your work for those courses and whatever you share with others will be logged, so you know exactly where you left off and what you’ve done. Who knows, you might get a digital equivalent of that coveted sticker we once got in primary school when we finished a project. But that’s just guess work on my part.

I do have a few worries to point out. The sharing part is also something publishers get to do. Designers and authors also get to buy a subscription, as well as bloggers. That means they get to showcase and announce new work. Sure, cool. But…I don’t think I am the only one who is a bit concerned this might turn into an advertising circus where you and your ‘Tarot Wayfarer character’ are being ambushed by pop-ups and advertising links while traveling. If Arkartia can make sure I am not pestered while I am logged in, I am fine. The TA has a good track record if the administrators of their FB group are an indication, so am not *too* worried ;-)…

The second part is…well, the price. I have to admit, it is on the steep side. I am not saying it is not worth it. Designing technology literally comes with a price. But I am not sure if people can afford the monthly subscription that is suggested now for a basic subscription (19,95 dollar per month). Most tarot readers, professional or not, aren’t known for their large bank accounts. And that would result in the secret society and old boys network they actually want to avoid.

There is loads more to read on the Wayfarer page and the Kickstarter if you are interested. My recommendation, if your wallet permits, is to see where the project will take us. Yes, you will be part of the ‘children sicknesses’, but can also be part of the group that’ll set up tarot for a new online future.
And after a year, we evaluate.