Artist, Jennifer Reiland was inspired to design these cards after reading about the Affair of the Poisons. This scandal in the French royal court took place around the time the Salem witch trials were taking place in America, during the reign of Louis XIV and the construction of Versailles. Like the witch hunt in Salem, this scandal erupted from anxiety about religious beliefs, social hierarchy, and the roles of women.

It started when a noblewoman, Madame de Brinvilliers, was accused of poisoning her father and brothers. During the investigation, she confessed to having visited a witch/astrologer/midwife named La Voisin. La Voisin was popular with ladies of the court, who often saw her to have their horoscopes told or their palms read, or to seek medical remedies to get pregnant or end a pregnancy. This led to the arrest, persecution, and execution of many innocent women who had visited her. At the height of the scandal, Louis XIV’s mistress, Athenaïs, was accused of paying La Voisin for a Black Mass to keep the love of the king, during which a baby was sacrificed (this accusation was almost certainly untrue)

This deck of tarot cards tells the story of the scandal in a medium that would have been familiar to its participants. The Voisin Tarot depicts not just the scandal, but also the lives of the men and women who were involved in it. All the designs for the cards are original, based on my own research. Each tarot card shows an event or a person connected to the Affair of the Poisons that embodies that card’s meaning.

They are for sale through her website for $26 + shipping.

Photos courtesy of: Syrie Moskowitz


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