On a recent expedition to Borders, I picked up "The Encyclopedia of Survival Techniques," because I figure it looks useful, and hey, someday (after the increasingly inevitable nuclear winter) I may urgently need to figure out how to make an igloo. Lying on top of it was "The Merlin Tarot Handbook," which I had been consulting as a reference for a story I'm planning, and must have put down absentmindedly in the living room.
The juxtaposition -- and especially the relative position of the books; so that I briefly did actually read the combined title as "The Encyclopedia of Survival Tarot" -- kicked my brain into a gear I haven't really been able to get it out of; which is why I'm making this post.
Namely, What would a "survival tarot" look like? I mean, heck, you can wrap pretty much any arbitrary theme into a Tarot deck already ...
I noodled briefly over this, both alone and with kadyg, and figured the four suits would be food [earth/pentacles], shelter [air/swords], fire [fire/wands], and water [the aforementioned igloo ... uhh, I mean, cups]. The necessities. I toyed with the idea of having one of the suits be protection, but if you're dropped in the middle of nowhere, chances are very good that comes fifth, so it probably can get folded into the major arcana, or perhaps the court cards.
Some of the major arcana lend themselves to quick parallels. Such as Tower -> forest fire. Devil -> (insert local large predator here, or perhaps hostile humans). Kady suggested food poisoning would be Death, but that seems a little off to me, and I counter-suggested the Hanged Man, which in retrospect also seems as badly off.
And, of course, the Wheel of Fortune -> "Edible" Mushrooms. ;-)
Any other card suggestions?