A friend recommended this deck a couple of years ago but I resisted getting it because the surreal card images online looked rather dark and way out there. Recently I acquired a copy of the Deviant Moon Tarot and have been thoroughly enjoying it. The creator, Patrick Valenza, is a gifted artist with a great sense of the bizarre. The accompanying LWB is quite good and explains what the author had in mind for each card. The art work is quite good, full of humor and funny twists. Every time I look at one of the cards a smile comes to my face.
As an astrologer, I wondered what might appear in the birth chart of such a gifted artist. Surely the Moon, Venus and Neptune must be prominent. The surreal is probably associated with Pisces and Neptune. With the emphasis on the dark side there must be a strong Scorpio and Pluto as well. I wrote to Patrick Valenza to ask for his birth info but have not yet had a response. I did find a site that mentions his birth date on Long Island, NY, so I cast a Noon chart (actual time unknown) with whole sign houses to take a preliminary look. Here is the chart:
The most remarkable feature of this chart is a very close grand trine in water signs involving the Sun in Pisces, Jupiter exalted in Cancer, and Neptune in Scorpio. Pisces is the sign of dreamers, poets, mystics, and artists. The grand trine involving the traditional and modern rulers of Pisces gives an especially Piscean cast to this nativity. Of all the signs of the zodiac, Pisces probably has the greatest access to images from the collective unconscious.
In discussing the Deviant Moon deck, the artist said that many of the images came to him fully finished in his dreams. This phenomenon is most likely a reflection of Mercury in Pisces being Valenza’s “guiding” planet, to use the terminology of humanistic astrology. The guiding planet is simply the one that is first to rise before the Sun (find the Sun in your chart and move clockwise until you encounter a planet). According to Michael Meyer, the guiding planet or “skill symbol” reveals our “guiding qualities and innate skills bestowed to help us fulfill out special destiny as individuals and as purposeful members of humanity.” Meyer says that Mercury as a skill symbol suggests “inner guidance in the form of an intuitive sense of the connections and associations existing between people and things.” In Pisces, Mercury receives its impressions from intuitions and dreams.
The sensitive otherworldly Pisces Sun closely conjoins Chiron, the wounded healer. This conjunction suggests that his art is linked to some childhood hurt or sense of vulnerability, which he seeks to heal through his imaginative creativity. A familiarity with pain and compassion shows through his art in the Deviant Moon tarot. The Sun/Chiron conjunction opposes Uranus and Pluto in Virgo suggesting that the nature of this wound was probably sudden (Uranus) and on the dark side (Pluto). The fact that the Uranus/Pluto conjunction occurs in Virgo may be reflected in the meticulous, mechanical, technically detailed appearance of many of the images in his art. His Hermit card seems to capture this configuration perfectly.
The prominent opposition between Sun/Chiron in Pisces and Uranus/Pluto in Virgo suggests that the artist is trying to resolve an inner conflict between materialism (earth, Virgo) and spirituality (water, Pisces) in his creations. The Uranus/Pluto conjunction, which opposes his Sun and motivates his urge to create, is also trine his exalted Moon in Taurus. The Moon is also a very watery, artistic “planet,” so again we see an emphasis on creative self-expression through poetry or art. Taurus is a sensual sign that is fascinated by pleasing textures, which can be seen in his tarot images. Moon trine Pluto gives him ready access to dream imagery and the unconscious.
Venus in Aries is rather assertive at fulfilling its wants and desires. Venus is stressfully connected to Neptune and Jupiter, which fuels his drive to create something of beauty (Venus) to relieve the stress of these aspects.
Mars in Scorpio, which it rules, suggests a strongly passionate nature and a willingness to approach “dark” topics like death, decay, sex, elimination and transformation. Mars is trine his Mercury in Pisces, giving a quick wit and assertive mind. Mercury is Pisces is quite imaginative and can be mystical and psychic.
All in all, his natal chart mirrors his creativity in the Deviant Moon tarot, and vice versa.