deck review

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Tarot Review: LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot

Published August 31, 2015 by Tarot By Elizabeth

legrande-box

“Come one, come all… Step right up…Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages! You are about to witness a daring Tarot deck of adventure and wonder…of excitement, guaranteed to delight! A deck that you will remember throughout your lifetime! Never before has anything so dashing been seen! I am privileged to introduce to you the star of the show…..(drum roll please)…..The LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot!”

Created and illustrated by Joe Lee, a former professional clown with Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, this gorgeous 78 card Tarot deck with it’s bright colors and vintage circus styled posters is guaranteed to please almost every circus aficionado and tarot reader alike. After leaving the circus life, Joe moved to New York City where he studied and later taught art classes, now living in Indiana, he works as an illustrator.

The cards measure nearly 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and are accentuated by a red line frame, with a colorful mirror image clown on the back that allows the reader to use reversals if so chosen. I had no problems shuffling and I have always loved U.S. Games Systems card stock because I am always able to mix the cards well without damage to edges or card stock itself.

Following the familiar Tarot Archetypes found in most traditional style decks, Joe Lee has quite successfully captured the unique flavor of circus sights and sounds without sacrificing the essence of conventional interpretations. The Major Arcana reflect the popular parade of archetypal characters with the exception of The Popess, replacing the accustomed High Priestess and the Pope filling in for the more commonly named Heirophant. Strength is enumerated 8 and Justice sports the familiar numeral 11.

Here you will find personalities such as quintessential fat lady (the Empress) the enigmatic Ring Master (the Emperor), a fearsome tiger as he leaps dramatically through a burning ring of flames (the Sun) and the ever popular tramp clown (as the lonely Hermit)

The Minor Arcana, a depiction of day to day life, reflects the quirky and unparalleled circus lifestyle with it’s high wire performers, juggling acts and cast of characters unique to this big top venue.

Each suit corresponds to an aspect of this colorful lifestyle. Wands, conjuring the backbreaking work of man and animal to raise the tent, Cups,the world of performance engaging it’s onlookers, Coins depicting the business of the show with its managers keeping the troupe on the road and the “butcher” hawking his “floss” and popcorn in the stands and the Swords, embedded deep in the bizarre and sometimes frightening heart of the sideshow like the sword swallower and knife thrower garnering wondrous gasps from their riveted audience.

The 60 page LWB (little white book) is comprised of both upright and reversed interpretations for each of it’s 78 cards, and includes a paragraph or two, explaining to it’s readers, the circus life and it’s characters. As an added bonus, the LWB provides a captivating spread named after this decks title, developed by Jody Boginski and my favorite lady, Lynn Araujo…kudos ladies for a truly awesome spread!

This is an absolutely delightful Tarot deck, one that even the newest readers can pick up and read straight away. I just can’t express how impressed I was as soon as I opened the box and began working with such a colorful cast of characters! I would urge readers both young and old, experienced or not, to add this to their collections!

Author/Illustrator: Joe Lee

Publisher: U.S. Games Systems

ISBN: 978-1-57281-731-9

images used with permission from U.S. Games

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Deck Preview Review- The Tarot Of Delphi

Published November 12, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

Self published Tarot decks are some of the most unique and endearing decks around, they just seem to have that special quality that is often missing in their mass market counterparts. I’ve been really excited to see that “crowd funded” websites are starting to gain in popularity and giving many exceptionally beautiful Tarot projects and their creators the recognition that they deserve.

Today, I would like to introduce to you The Tarot of Delphi, a fine art tarot deck illustrated with authentic Neoclassical Victorian art from 1838 to 1913.  Neoclassical Victorian art should not be  just something we go to museums to view… “Oooing and Ahhhing” over carefully matted and framed canvases, hanging passively on sterile walls … Art is only functional if it can inspire us, allow us to heal, motivate us, and take our breath away with  gorgeous lines, effects of shadow and light and use of color that evokes deep emotional responses. It is a way of communicating with each other, much like the art of Tarot, bringing out the best in all of us.

These beautiful paintings are characterized by its highly romantic nature and the influence of historical and mythological themes on its subject matter. Art that was inspired by Classical Greece and Roman architecture. Collaged from examples of fine artworks from the late 1830s to the early 1910s, The Tarot of Delphi is like a Sunday visit to the local museum.

A 79 card Tarot deck, with 22 Major Arcana, 40 Minor Arcana and 16 Court cards, (surprise, an extra card! )  a 32-page booklet, packaged and a full-color tuck box. The cards measure 3.07” x 5.04” (78 x 128 mm) and should shuffle quite nicely. Some of the paintings are well-known masterpieces, and others,  while equally as amazing ,  are relatively unknown and have been more difficult to acquire, as with artists such as Lawrence Alma-Tadema; John Collier; Edith Ridley Corbet; Walter Crane, and Herbert James Draper … these poignant images have made a remarkably attractive tarot deck.

This is going to be a beautiful,  and inspiring deck, I truly hope you will hop on over to Janet’s Kickstarter Page and see for yourself!

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Creatrix:  Janet Hinkel

Kickstarter  Page

Deck Review- The Black Cats Tarot

Published August 29, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

The Black Cats Tarot

Coal black fur relax; Jade eyes stare at worlds between here and there. Show me…

For millennia, cats have held our fascination… aloof; mysterious and elegant creatures, they slip quietly into our lives in story and poem and even worshipped by the Egyptians as gods long ago.  Often thought of as companions to witches, black cats have often been the unlucky recipients of superstition, fear and more than their share of bad press.

Today, however, the black cat is enjoying a new wave of attention, almost gone are the theories and conjecture about bad luck and silly superstitions.  One look into their deep and secretive eyes and our hearts are captured. Being owned by a sleek black cat myself, I was absolutely thrilled to see a Tarot deck full of these enigmatic little companions. Created by Maria Kurara, The Black Cats Tarot is published  by Lo Scarabeo and distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide, I love the theme of these magical creatures leaping, playing and delving deep into the great questions and mysteries of life.

A 78 card, Rider-Waite style deck, The Black Cats Tarot embodies  black cat’s independence, intelligence and ferocity as they seemingly prance across the cards, guiding us between the worlds of fantasy and reality…

I love the size of this deck, at approximately 2 7/8 x 4 3/4  it’s the just the right size to shuffle and is great for those with smaller hands.  They are made of a bit thinner card stock than I’m used to but I’m not that tough on a deck as to bend or damage these lovely cards, a  rougher shuffler may want to take a little more care.

The cards sport a thin black border on each side, with a bit more space at the top  for the Roman numerals in the Major Arcana and regular numbers at the top of the Minors.  At the bottom of the Minor Arcana , is either a Cup representing Chalices, a Coin for Pentacles, Sword or Wand designating the suit from which it comes and symbols representing the designation in the Courts of Knave, Knight, Queen and King.  I was quite taken by the fact that there is no wording across the cards to distract the reader or client, leaving the imagery to literally leap out before you.  At the corners of this imaginative and quite the whimsical deck, one can find white, lacey flourishes framing the images as if surrounded by an elegant picture frame.

As with any new deck, I always seek out a few specific cards such as The High Priestess, The Hermit, The Moon and The Star…to really get a feel of how a deck will read for me. It sounds a tad strange I know, but I’ve found that it’s a really good indicator of the continuity of a deck.  I was impressed at all the bejewelled black cats pouncing through this deck,and  keeping close to the Rider-Waite structure, the imagery is flawless and quite visually appealing.

There are two, totally white cats in this deck, which at first had me a bit curious but as I looked deeper through the cards, their  reason became apparent…I know that you’re probably wondering which cards the white kitties appear on, but I must admit, you will have to remain in suspense…

I was immediately taken by the Lovers card in which two cats appear to be waltzing at the beginnings of three paths,  in keeping with the theme of choices as shown in the more traditional image of the Rider-Waite  deck.  The two characters seem to glide effortlessly, poised high among the clouds. Another intriguing card that instantly caught my attention was the Hermit…usually a cloaked figure, stealing away by himself to focus on his inner light. The Black Cats Tarot, however, is a singular figure, holding a lit white candle and is seated in a boat that appears to  race towards a brilliant white light shining in from the edge of the card.  I absolutely love this interpretation of the Hermit as it gives a slightly more emphatic feeling of seeking out that quiet inner space… of purpose and focus. There are just too many marvelous cards to list here without giving away the secrets of the Black Cats deck.

With this deck also comes the standard LWB (little white book) that gives short and concise explanations in six different languages of English, Italian, Spanish French, German and Portuguese,which makes it accessible for those with different languages. The backs are undeniably memorable too, for they show a mirror imaged, elegant black cat, wearing a beautiful gold crown atop her head allowing for the incorporation of reversed cards if you so choose.

The Black Cats Tarot is an amazing deck that can be read by both beginners and seasoned readers alike, allowing the reader and client to quickly become enamored with these truly special Black Cats! I would  like to extend my gratitude  to Amelia at Llewellyn for allowing me the opportunity to review such a charming deck.  Please make the leap over to Llewellyn and check out this sleek Black Cat Tarot gem!

The Black Cats Tarot1

Created by: Maria Kurara

Published by Lo Scarabeo

Distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide

ISBN: 978-0738738789

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Deck Review- The Gypsy Palace Tarot

Published August 27, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

The Gypsy Palace Tarot1

Gypsies have long been among the most mysterious, and  exotic peoples on earth…. Often the subjects of stories told about them and their ways of life, Gypsies have persistently intrigued those of us who envision a rich culture complete with bright, colorful clothing, ornately decorated traveling wagons…moonlit campfires, mesmerizing music and a plethora of exotic smells and  sounds. Legend holds that Gypsies are among the world’s greatest storytellers…and especially….. fortune tellers.

It is in the spirit of this matchless and mysterious aura of storytellers, craftsman, and mystics   that I am so excited to introduce you to The Gypsy Palace Tarot, by Nora Huszka.The Gypsy Palace Tarot is a 78 card Tarot deck of bright colors, engaging, distinctive imagery, symbols and generational stories just waiting to burst forth in all their glory.

There’s always something special about self published tarot decks, and The Gypsy Palace Tarot is no exception. As we all know, mass market decks flood the bookstores, metaphysical shops and the interwebs each and every year, some themed, some traditional and some quite abstract….a deck for nearly every taste, one might say! However, self published decks have quality…a certain “je ne sais quoi” that all the other decks cannot quite achieve.

For me, it was a case of love at first sight as I gazed at the unique imagery and potential stories that just waited to unfold and I realized straight away that this deck must become part of my world. The cards are wonderfully sized, at  2 ¾” by 4 ¾, making them  perfect for  holding and shuffling. The card stock is absolutely ideal and will last for several years to come… the imagery on the backs…slightly reminiscent of the famous turbaned fortune tellers from which we envision upon hearing the word “Gypsy” are completely reversible if you happen to be one of the readers, such as myself, who use reversed card in their readings.

The cards themselves are  thinly bordered in a rusty colored red and have a yellow semi circle at the top containing roman numerals for the Major Arcana and regular numbers for all of the Minor Arcana and a the bottom of  the cards a rectangular box, also the same sunny yellow, containing the English, German, Spanish and Hungarian name of each individual card. They remind me of ornate picture frames bringing out the stunning detail of the images.  On the inside border is an almost gilded looking line encircling the colorful imagery in each of the cards, making the characters simply jump out and demand your attention!

Nora’s artistic interpretations have transformed the traditional pictures we normally see on the Rider-Waite style decks into an amazing twist of swirling colors, shapes and intuitive imagery that absolutely pleases the eye and makes for a more intuitive approach, something I’ve been trying to bring out more  in my readings. Another thing you may have noticed is that the Court cards are numbered sequentially, making them a continuation of each suit with number designations of 11 for the Pages, 12 for the Knights, 13 for the Queens and 14 designating the Kings. I actually like this style of creating a continuous journey through each suit of the Minors.

There is no LWB (little white book) or companion book, although I have heard that it may be available in the not too distant future, but there is, however, a two page leaflet that comes with this gorgeously one of a kind deck, that depicts a unique spread called  “The Caravan Spread” consisting of nine cards positioned  in, of course, the shape of a Gypsy vardo! Nora also includes a Welcome, describing her deck and it’s uses as an animated game, demonstrating how these cards can be used to spark your imagination and creativity.

There are only so many copies printed of this glorious deck, making it a  limited addition, so hurry and grab a deck or two before it disappears! I would highly recommend it for all types of readers,  beginning and experienced alike. The Gypsy Palace Tarot has quickly become one of my most treasured reading decks, and I encourage each and everyone of you to go take a look, let your creativity unfold as you look at it’s imagery and symbolism. This is a truly awesome deck that will definitely not disappoint!

Deck Review- The Anna K. Tarot

Published August 11, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

As a reviewer, I get the fantastic opportunity to cross paths with some pretty exceptional tarot decks and this deck is no exception…Let me introduce you to the wildly charming and quite popular Anna K. Tarot, recently published by Llewellyn Worldwide.

Anna K. Tarot

Originally  self published by Anna Klaffinger,   this wonderfully interactive deck started it’s life when Anna was only fourteen and frustrated by the personal dissatisfaction with the tarot decks available to her at the time.  Surprisingly, Anna didn’t actually intend to publish it at all but to keep it as a tarot deck for her own personal use…. but this deck wasn’t done with Anna yet….., she published it after much enthusiasm and urging from family, friends and those who had the pleasure of seeing it and  it’s fame  grew  after it’s  debut in 2009 and was republished a second time by Anna in 2010….and with only a few minor adjustments  published on a grand scale by Llewellyn Worldwide.  As a result, the Anna K. Tarot has found it’s way into the hands of many eager Tarot readers and aficionados alike … myself included, making it one of the most popular decks in the present market.

The Anna K. Tarot is a full 78 card tarot deck, which closely follows the Rider Waite symbolism with  22 Major Arcana… but with Justice numbered 8 and Strength numbered 11, with Roman Numerals at the bottom of each card.  The Minor Arcana also follow traditional symbolism and the four suits are referred to as Rods, Pentacles, Cups and Swords, also with designations at the bottom of each card.  Anna did, however, take the liberty with the cards to highlight their meanings a bit more than relying on depictions alone, making this indeed a stunning deck.

Anna K. Tarot1

I absolutely LOVE Anna’s artistic style of not relying on human models at all but on her realistic study of human emotions and storytelling which reflects on the deck to give it an awesome continuity as well as a true “feeling” of what message is being relayed simply by looking at the expressions on the figure’s faces and the actions that they are performing in each particular card.  Anna’s imagery simply leaps right out and  grabs you, leaving no doubt as to what it is saying in a reading.

I personally found that the size (2.75 x 4.00 inches) to be absolutely perfect when holding, shuffling and displaying the imagery to clients during a reading.  Another aspect of The Anna K. Tarot is the lamination chosen by Llewellyn …a lovely matte finish that really lets the cards speak without being too distracting as when the finish can be with more glossy types of decks.  It shuffles like a dream and it’s attractive narrow black borders frame each image beautifully. One thing that I really found myself drawn to is the imagery on the backs of the cards, picturing four smaller representations shown in the World card at the end of the Major Arcana, making them perfect for reversal use.

Anna K. Tarot2

Rather than the more traditional LWB (little white book) Llewellyn has included a wonderful 230 page book which starts out by introducing you to Anna’s deck with paragraphs about it’s conception, surprise popularity and amazing journey to the deck we all admire today.  The companion book also includes sections on Tarot’s origins and usage; what tarot can do as opposed to what it can’t do; respect for the cards and the structure of her deck, suits; Aces and Courts. The bulk of this book is all about the cards and each page shows a picture in black and white of the cards and upright interpretations with areas to add your own observations and notes.

*On a side note, Anna does not include reversed explanations as in her tarot reading, she does not generally use reversed cards, relying more upon how the cards themselves interact with each other.*  This, by all means that one cannot use reversed interpretations but simply read them as they might read with any other deck in their repertoire, I personally like to use reversals, as I believe that it gives my clients a more rounded reading.

I cannot even begin to express how outstanding the Anna K. tarot is for reading, whether you are a new or seasoned reader! This enchanting deck simply jumps right out at you from the get go and in no time at all becomes a “favorite reading” deck!

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide

Artist Anna Klaffinger

ISBN: 978-0-7387-3572-6

Images used with permission from Llewellyn Worlwide

Deck Review- The Healing Tarot…78 ways to wellness

Published June 5, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

the Healing Tarot

 

There’s an awesome Tarot deck out from Schiffer Publishing, that at first I was a bit hesitant about….as a rule of thumb, I generally do not do health readings simply because it’s always better to see a doctor for any medical questions or concerns but as I worked with this deck I was amazed at how accurate and insightful it’s readings were! Now this is a deck that I would not use as a “go to” deck simply because of it’s nature but it’s fantastic when used to ascertain health concerns or areas to focus on to perhaps bring your physicians attention if necessary…with that being said, on with my review of this fabulous new Tarot deck!

The Healing Tarot…78  ways to Wellness  is a 78 card deck which seems a tad thicker than most of the decks out there but is just the right size that nearly everyone can shuffle easily. It measures approximately 3 inches wide by 5 inches long, a bit longer that traditional decks but like I said shuffles quite easily. It has a wonderful glossy lamination and the backs are designed to be used with reversals, if you prefer. It comes with a 192 extremely detailed booklet that gives each cards meanings on several different levels.

Now, this is where it really knocked my socks off…..although the imagery is all in line drawing, each individual card has corresponding explanations in the booklet that address holistic healing; what wellness really means and introduces working with the Tarot on a health and wellness platform. The associations include medical astrology, Qabalistic aspects; traditional Tarot meanings and how to identify well aspected cards; poorly aspected cards and the integration of astrological attributes, upright and reversed meanings; as well as negative astrological combinations; positive astrological combinations and traditional relationships of the planets with each other when they come up in readings.

The information can seem overwhelming at first but I absolutely adore all of it …I was gifted with an amazing memory and everything contained in this kit  gives me TONS of material to work with in my readings for myself or close family.

I was somewhat confused at first as to why there were no bright colors but upon reading the accompanying booklet, I found out that although colors do add an extra dimension to spreads and layouts, the Healing Tarot takes the cards and their imagery back down to the basics in order to really understand the health and wellness messages from the cards. This makes a lot of sense when I think about it, some decks can be so distracting with many brightly colored images and symbols that it can be easy to get distracted! Illustrator Monica Knighton, does an absolutely brilliant job in her depictions of situations we may encounter in our modern everyday life and therefor it becomes more relative to us when we can identify scenes and items that we are used to today.

This is on my “Must Have” list for those who want to consider a Holistic Wellness angle to their lives and once you’ve worked with the deck for awhile, it becomes very easy to switch between traditional decks and The Healing Tarot seamlessly! I’m not sure I would recommend it for beginners, however, but for anyone with a firm foundation of Tarot can easily use this deck. definitely an awesome Tarot deck.

 

Publisher: Schiffer Publishing

Creators: Juno Lucina and Monica Knighton

IBSN: 978-0-76434392-6

 

Deck Review- Higher Intuitions Oracle

Published June 5, 2013 by Tarot By Elizabeth

 

Higher Intuitions Oracle6

There are some wonderful new decks out this time of year, from Schiffer Publishing and one such deck is a charming little set of 44 cards is the Higher Intuitions Oracle.

Authored by Kristy Robinett and illustrated by Johna Gibson Bowman, this marvelous set of cards  is all about receiving messages from Spirit, Guides and even signs and symbols in our everyday life that we may not even notice.  Higher Intuitions Oracle helps us to slow down, clear the cobwebs from our spiritual eyes and gently leads us along our path of enlightenment and good.

Higher Intuitions uses nature, animals and bold shades of orange;blues and even pinks and lavenders to convey those messages that are really relevant to our daily lives. As I’ve mentioned, the deck is made up of 44 lovely little cards and comes with a 128 page LWB (Little White Book) that isn’t so little and definitely not white guide book of interpretations, black and white renderings of each card and awesome quotes that really gives the imagery a real world application to ones readings.

There are also suggestions for spreads, ideas for how you can integrate these messages into your daily life and specifies that it is always a good idea to journal your readings or messages that you receive.

This deck is perfectly sized, 2 7/8 wide and 4 1/2 inches tall which makes it easier to shuffle if you have smaller hands. The cards themselves have a white border, with a flowing script style font, detailing a message from that given card and bordered around the imagery itself, is a thin colored border that compliments the colors used in the main color of the imagery.

This is truly a lovely little Oracle deck that anyone can use and it can also be used in conjunction with Tarot cards to get an overall theme to one’s readings. I think it’s a must for anyone seeking that quiet guidance in our busy everyday lives!

Publisher: Schiffer

Creators: Kristy Robinett and Johna Gibson Bowman

ISBN: 978-0-7643-4143-4