I discovered Tommie Kelly on my ongoing Gordon White-esque “Find The Others” quest through his excellent blog Adventures in Woo Woo (best name.) From there I learned about his divination deck, The Forty Servants. The art is visually stunning on it’s own, but what really got me excited was the concept of a deck that could be used as a standalone magical system in addition to a divinatory method. It’s rare that you see people pushing the limits of what can be done with cards and magic, and while it’s great that there’s a tarot for everyone, in my opinion the last thing the world needs is yet another Golden Dawn-style Rider Waite-Smith clone, or as Jason Miller would say, another “Tarot of The Cat People.”
After using the deck for only about a week at the time of writing this, I’ve already had some exciting results and experiences (shout out to The Levitator) so I reached out to Tommie and he was kind enough to chat with me a bit.
Can you give us a little bit of your background?
Sure. I was born in the late 70’s in Ireland and have lived here ever since. I’ve pretty much had a lifelong interest in all things Occult and Spirituality starting from when I was in my early teens and I read some Stuart Wilde books, and then I found the Alice Bailey material via an Aunt of mine. I then branched out into Buddhism, a fair bit of Theosophy and a ton of New Age type and self-help stuff.
Stuart Wilde’s books and lectures have always been a constant since then and he would be hands down my biggest influence. I got to meet him once, which was great.
I went to College in my mid-twenties to study Holistic Health and became qualified in Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Holistic Massage, Indian Head Massage and Reiki, but don’t practice any of it these days other than Aromatherapy which I find extremely pleasant and helpful. My house always smells of essential oils or incense.
I played in bands and was a sound engineer for the longest time, I also spend a bit of time doing a radio show on a local station, along with some podcasting.
I got into Magick in a big way after watching Grant Morrison’s Disinfo Lecture, as I am quite sure lots of others did to, which led me to Gordon White and Rune Soup, which in turn led me to Chaos Magick proper. At that point I pretty much devoured any book I could get my hands on in the subject.
These days I am a full time artist, I do a magick related blog, and I admin and lurk round a Chaos Magick Facebook group called CMG.
How did The Forty Servants come about?
Early last year, I was approached by a friend to do up an oracle card deck for her personal use. I really enjoyed doing it, and during the research for it, I found out everything I needed to know about where to get it printed and sold online and all that. It just felt like a really natural next step to do my own.
I didn’t want to do a Tarot deck, I wanted to do a deck that would be extremely useful and practical for magick purposes. That’s when the idea of the dual use of The Forty Servants came to me. So, mostly I did The Forty Servants because it was something I wanted to use.
What are some of the different ways people can use this deck?
The dual function element to the deck means that you can use it for divination, and for ritual use. So, just like other Oracle Card Decks, it can be easily used for Divination to gain insight on problems at hand, discover insights from the past, or look somewhat into the future.
However, it also has a second purpose – Magick! The 40 Characters of the Deck can also be used as Servitors, or helpers in attaining your wants, goals and desires.
Can you explain what a servitor is for people who might not be familiar with the concept?
Well, lots of people have different opinions but for me, a Servitor is essentially a though-form servant that is created in order to do a particular purpose, or fulfill a certain function. So each of The Forty Servants have a particular role or power that they can be asked to use to aid you. Some are for Protection, some for Good Luck, some for Knowledge and some have a number of functions.
Servitors need to be “fed” to stay in existence, so I have set the Forty Servants Servitors to feed on attention and from then being used. The more you use them and the more you think about them, the more powerful they will become. If people want to know more about Servitors I did a post awhile back that has lots of information.
What is your favorite way to use the deck?
I’m way more into the Magick use of the deck than the divination side – mostly because I’m not particularly skilled at divination. So I use the Servants predominantly for magick.
The main way I use them is by placing them on my altar, telling them what I want, and then lighting a candle as an offering. That works really surprisingly well. It’s quite similar, I guess, to how Catholics would work with Saints and being that I was brought up a Catholic, it comes quite naturally to me.
I’m not great at the whole pomp and ceremony of some forms of Magick, so when I attempt to talk to spirits, ancestors or whatever, I just talk to them the same way I would if someone human was in front of me. It works for me, but everyone has their own style.
Which of the servants do you work with the most in your practice?
At the minute I am working with a few – The Healer, The Master, The Sun, The Mother and The Fortunate. The great thing about the Forty Servants is that no matter what you are working towards there is a card for that, or a combination that will work.
Where can people purchase the deck?
Everything you could possible want to know about the deck, the guidebook and where to purchase it is here.
Where can people find out more about you?