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Tarot of the Dead. Monica Knighton. 2004 Llewellyn. - "We’ve had a deck made up of Fools (Brian Williams’ Ship of Fools), so why not a deck made up of Death? This is obviously just the deck for a Grateful Deadhead or a biker. This deck is lighthearted in its imagery, an homage to the Aztec heritage Dia de los Muertos. Just as a Ship of Fools Tarot makes some sense in a historical context, when you think about the many artistic representations of death that continued long after the Black Death of 1348-1349 - to the time of Tarot’s creation and beyond, when Hans Holbein the Younger produced one of the most extensive series of artistic images on the Dance of Death in 1538 - it becomes apparent that this deck’s theme is more than a gimmick. And even if it were a gimmick, the images are amusing enough to make this a deck worth adding to the collection on that strength alone." (From my review at Tarot Passages)
Dreampower Tarot. R.J. Stewart and Stuart Littlejohn (artist). 1993 Aquarian Press. - Fascinating. The Majors are very evocative for me, while the minors are simply element symbols with a keyword. The story behind this deck is that it is a deck that the (archetypal) people painted on an ordinary deck might use. It is based on a tree of life which "grows in reverse, with its roots in our outer world, reaching through the Underworld, with its crown in the mysterious Realm of universal being deep below or within all forms." The major arcana are organized into three Realms: Stone, Pearl and Whirlpool. Stewart uses a "non-qabalistic tree of life" which began based on W.G. Gray's version of the qabalistic tree of life (different from GD and Levi both), but has been changed a bit due to the different shape of the glyph for the tree that grows down into the underworld.
Stewart, R.J. The Dreampower Tarot: The Three Realms of Transformation in the Underworld. 1993: The Aquarian Press, London. ISBN 0 85538 300 4 (came with deck)
Enchanted Tarot. Amy Zerner & Monte Farber. 1990 St Martins Press. - Outside the tarot, one of my huge loves is fiber art, particularly embellished fabric and beadwork. So you might imagine why I would finally need to add this deck to my collection. Images show real originality in interpretation of traditional meanings, though of course, like many in this postmodern category it's not particularly high in hermetic/traditional occult content. I'm not quite sure why it took so long to join my collection, as I had known about it for years... it was a deck used quite successfully by a close friend for self-healing. Perhaps I needed the distance of time for it to stop being exclusively hers. At any rate, this is a particularly lovely deck, with a gentle feminine air to it. Figures are garbed in Victorian and Middle Eastern style.
Amy Zerner and Monte Farber. The Enchanted Tarot. 1990: St Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-05079-8 (came with deck)
The Faery Wicca Tarot. Kisma K. Stepanich, illustrated by Renée Yates. 1998 Llewellyn Publications. - Theme: Faery Wicca of Kisma Stepanich. - I have had a long fascination with things fae and elvish, and I was hoping when I purchased this deck that it would work within that mythos for me. Unfortunately, what I could glean from just the deck and booklet itself did not fit that need. Though we have both started with many of the same written source materials (at least according to the plagiarism accusations), I've come to other conclusions than those represented on this deck. My own views are much closer to those expressed by R.J. Stewart and John and Caitlin Matthews. Much of the art is pretty though. As I have removed this deck from my collection I don't have a scanned card image of the Ainnir of Uisce, so you see an image of the card back instead.
Fenton-Bale Tarot. Illustrated by Samantha Bale. (In Kit with Book by Sasha Fenton). 1998 Rona Books. - A pretty Marseilles style deck.
Fenton, Sasha and Samantha Bale. Tarot: Your color guide to the fascinating world of Tarot. 1998: Rona Books. ISBN: 0-7651-0750-3
The Fey Tarot. Mara Aghem and Riccardo Minetti. 2002 Lo Scarabeo. - The veils between Arcadia and Mundania must be thinning right now. Not since the photos of Cottingley Glen have so many faery artifacts been produced. While this deck is an appealing illustration of the world of winged sprites, it is also a worthy deck aside from the theme it explores. The interpretations are extremely original and yet still meaningful from a traditional Tarot framework. Thanks to a very successful collaboration between artist and Tarot expert, this deck is both good art and good Tarot. (extract from my full length review at Tarot Passages)
Forest Folklore Tarot. Kessia Beverley-Smith. 2005 US Games Systems. - "For lovers of black cats and bluebell woods, here is a neo-pagan friendly deck firmly based in the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) illustrative tradition. Illustrated and created in the area of New Forest in Hampshire U.K., it reminds me of the Arthurian Tarot in its homage to the British greenwood. Yet rather than evoking the Iron Age Celtic hero King Arthur, this deck is more modern, with more of a Harry Potter vibe...." (from my review at Tarot Passages)
The Gendron Tarot. Melanie Gendron. 1997 US Games Systems.
Major Arcana: mostly modern occult titles (Magus for Magician, Hanged One for Hanged Man, Transition for Death, Deceiver for Devil)
Suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles
Court: Princess, Prince, Queen, King
Scenic pips readable with RWS-based interpretations
Melanie Gendron studied the Builders of the Adytum Tarot (BOTA) with Amber Jayanti (author of Living the Tarot). The BOTA deck is based on the Judeo-Christian mystery tradition. Melanie was inspired to create a deck based on the Sacred Feminine. In addition to being populated with more women than men, this deck is made multicultural by spreading the images of people of different ethnicities dressed in traditional garb throughout the deck. Animal totems are a significant part of the symbolism, and appropriate Goddesses (and a few Gods) are suggested for each of the Major Arcana.
The art is computer-manipulated collage of photographic and painted elements. The Major Arcana have more painted elements and less photographic elements than the Minor Arcana, and make good use of transparent light effects. Many symbols recur throughout the deck - pearls and amethyst clusters, dolphins, butterflies, hummingbirds and outer space.
Gilded Tarot. Ciro Marchetti with Companion Book by Barbara Moore. 2004 Llewellyn. - "Glowing gem-tones and glittering metallics will appeal to anyone with corvine tendencies. Marchetti’s digital artwork reminds me of the kind of illustrations that appeared in Omni magazine. Even more, it reminds me of the Myst computer game ("the surrealistic adventure that will become your world"). It has that kind of addictive illusionary realism. You want to spend time in this world...." (From my review at Tarot Passages)
Glastonbury Tarot. Lisa Tenzin-Dolma. 1999 Aquarian Press. -
Tarot of the Gnomes. Antonio Lupatelli. 2000 Lo Scarabeo. - To Wil Huygen and Rien Poortvliet add Antonio Lupatelli as a master portrayer of gnomes. The art on this deck is charming and humorous. Keywords are printed on the Minor Arcana cards, and typical of Lo Scarabeo decks, the divinatory meanings are idiosyncratic to this deck.
Greenwood Tarot. Mark Ryan and Chesca Potter. 1996 Thorsons. - Don't be put off by the description "Pre-Celtic Shamanism of the Mythic Forest" - this isn't nearly the fluffy bunny cosmic foo-foo deck that verbiage makes it seem. I love the animal totem court cards even though I disagree with the seasons she attributes to them. And the pips don't work with RWS correspondences very well, so if you use those, you will have to drop those associations to read with this deck... The story behind this deck is its basis of reconstructed pre-Celtic shamanism, traditions of the mythic forest, and the Wheel of the Year. The major arcana are renumbered to fit in an attributed order around the wheel of the year, and some are renamed. The four suits are Wands, Arrows (Swords), Cups and Stones (Pentacles). The court cards are totem animals, which makes perfect sense for a neo-Shamanism deck.
Ryan, Mark and Chesca Potter. The Greenwood Tarot: Pre-Celtic Shamanism of the Mythic Forest. 1996: Thorsons, London. ISBN 1 85538 384 5 (came with deck)
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Copyright © 1994-2001 Joan Schraith Cole.
Updated August 26, 2001
Some graphics from Ann-S-Thesia CD, Number 76 variant A