Journeying the Sixties: A Counterculture Tarot

New readings of a tumultuous time

Presented here is a non-fiction narrative of the 1960s Counterculture that uses the Tarot to conceptualize and describe the era's critical cycles of historical experience. As a photographer and journalist I wrote hundreds of articles and produced thousands of photos that describe and capture the personalities, political conflicts, lifestyles, and cultural changes of the Sixties.

Selected vintage photos I made between 1966-78 anchor a 130,000-word historical account that cites hundreds of books, articles and primary sources to amplify the facts and revive the experiences of this consequential and tumultuous time. This site presents an edited version of this larger work.

I have formatted 78 of my Sixties photographs as Tarot cards and use an interpretation of the Fool's Journey to extend a new reading of the era's crucial touchpoints, including the changing nature of personal relationships, the sexual revolution, the emergence of the New Left, feminism, civil rights, cultural and artistic developments, as well as social, economic, and intellectual achievements that advanced the Counterculture.

It is a history that emerges in remarkably accessible ways through the Tarot, a cycle of experience described by Sixties critic and historian Theodore Roszak as a "circle that goes somewhere." For many reasons that will become evident, the Tarot is an ideal template for a return visit to a unique and controversial period in the world's cultural and political history.

I present here all 78 cards of my Counterculture Tarot. But essays that accompany each card have been edited into much smaller samplings of the complete (and much lengthier) original narratives. Both the work's Introduction and Afterword are included for those interested in a more detailed discussion of the concepts, both historicist and literary, that drive the creation of Journeying the Sixties. The original essays contain much more detail along with Tarot "reversals" that are not presented here. As well, the complete work includes footnotes and a 23-page bibliography of more than 300 cited sources.

I hope you enjoy this journey. Please contact me with your thoughts and comments.

William Cook Haigwood