Sophy Hollington’s illustrated tarot deck gets extensive update

All the original contents of Autonomic Tarot have been lovingly reimagined in a new extended edition published by Rough Trade Books and Volume

Image of the clamshell cover of Autonomic Tarot featuring a cover illustration by Sophy Hollington showing an open mouth with a skull and a fishbone inside

Volume has teamed up with Rough Trade Books to release an updated edition of Autonomic Tarot, which the latter originally published in 2018.

Composed of a 30-card tarot deck illustrated by artist Sophy Hollington, an instruction booklet, and a novella titled To Run Wild In It by writer David Keenan, the initial set was a collaborative exploration of tarot’s archaic roots, and a “future-visioning of it as a glam-punk portal deep into the now”.

Image of Autonomic Tarot, featuring the cover illustation by Sophy Hollington showing an open mouth with a fishbone and a skull inside, next to the cover of the book and the inside of the clamshell case

This new edition takes the original concept and extends it to include a larger deck of 78 cards, a fully updated hardcover of Keenan’s instruction booklet, a double-sided divination mat (only available in the special edition of the release), and a beautifully produced presentation box for all of it to live in.

The new version of Autonomic Tarot is limited to only 777 copies in total, of which 222 come with the additional divination mat.

Image of folkloric illustrations by Sophy Hollington for Autonomic Tarot

As before, Hollington illustrated and designed the new cards that have been added to the deck, employing her signature style to create rich and textured artworks that elevate the experience.

“This upgrade to the original deck involved expanding it to the traditional tarot card number count – which is 78 – and designing a bespoke Autonomic Tarot divination mat,” she notes. “The 48 new cards are comprised of a full set of pictorial royal suit cards (Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages of Wands, Disks, Cups and Swords) along with 36 numbered pip cards.”

Image shows Sophy Hollington's illustrated cover of Autonoma, showing an illustration of a dragon-like creature inside a yellow vase shape, surrounded by fire and water emblems

Though adapting work she made five years ago, Hollington says maintaining a similar visual approach for the new additions was fairly straightforward.

“I found that by channelling David’s writing and making sure I was still in an experimental mindset I could create cards that still felt fresh enough to my eye but also felt at home with the existing ones,” she tells us. “It helps that there’s quite a restricted colour palette and my work has quite a distinct language to it that hasn’t changed drastically in that time.”

Indeed, Hollington has developed a trademark aesthetic that mixes contrasting colours with a linocut printmaking process to create artworks that are full of folkloric forms and symbols, yet distinctly contemporary in their rendering. Her natural interest in arcane subjects and traditions makes her illustrations the perfect match for the tarot cards and Keenan’s writings.

Keenan himself, a Scottish author, has a keen interest in tarot and related subjects, with To Run Wild In It taking the form of an experimental novella and a “channelled” text that reimagines the tarot cards as an unfolding of parallel stories “alive with uncanny oracular detail”.

Together, the duo have created an immersive experience which takes an age-old practice of divination guidance and applies it to the possibilities of the present. Through captivating drawings and a rich yet accessible text, the power of tarot is revealed and brought to a new generation of wisdom-seekers.

Autonomic Tarot is available to preorder with Volume;