A Collection of Tarot Decks

Postmodern Decks Beginning with L

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Legend the Arthurian Tarot. Anna-Marie Ferguson. 1995 Llewellyn.

Legend Page of Cups set

The Light and Shadow Tarot. Michael Goepferd. 1997 Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont. - This is an excellent black and white deck illustrated with linoleum block printing . The court cards follow the requirements of Book "T", while most of the pip cards are reinterpretations of Waite-Smith (RWS) images, yet with elements emphasizing Golden Dawn (GD) interpretations, and astrological symbols included in the image. I fully agree with Sarah Ovenall when she writes "The Light and Shadow Tarot is a marvelous example of an all-too-rare occurance: a deck that works on both the artistic and esoteric levels." What I like about Light and Shadow is that it is a bridge between RWS, Book "T" and Thoth with significant influence visible from all three. It makes it an ideal intermediate deck for someone who perhaps started with RWS from a reading point of view and has gotten interested in the "western mystery tradition" (at least as filtered through the Golden Dawn), in conjunction with a copy of RWS itself and Thoth. In this sense I think it plays the role of a postmodern RWS, since part of the genius of THAT deck is how it pulls together nineteenth-century occult motifs, the Book "T" and the traditional decks (like Marseilles).

Light and Shadow Princess of Cups set cover

Living Earth Tarot. Loren Cruden. 1998 Pan's Forest Herb Company. - I got this deck off of Ebay, attracted by the scans of three cards. It is quite unusual, probably to the point of being a not-quite-Tarot even though the number of cards fits the standard Tarot deck in each category. The Major Arcana are unordered and are missing many of the archetypes we are used to. Instead it has the following characters (each associated with an herb): Dreamer, Protector, Nurturer, Healer, Magician, Shaman, Guide, Dancer, Teacher, Philosopher, Judge, Artist, Learner, Journeyer, Builder, Warrior, Merchant, Harper, Gardener, Rememberer, Hermit, and Midwife. The four suits are Feathers, Flames, Waves, and Stones, and the courts are Child, Youth, Adult and Elder. There is the tiniest LWB, a single folded sheet of paper. Here is a quote from it: "The images are from the living Earth, the winged creatures, the furred four-footeds, the sea mammals, the creatures of the waters, the scaled ones, the stones, the green kingdom, the clouds and the sun and the moon. It is a deck meant for all, no matter their color, sex, religion, land of origin, age, or orientation. May it speak to all of our relatedness. Blessed Be".

Living Earth Child of Waves

The Londa Tarot Deck. Londa Marks. 1993 US Games Systems. - The style of art on this deck is quite distinctive. It is rather like the Tarot of the Cat People; instead of cats, every single card depicts a very slim, vaguely androgenous person with long flowing hair and angular, almost feline, facial structure. Each figure is garbed in costumes which remind me of the sort of things you might expect to see worn by rock band members in the 1980s; the big hair and dramatic makeup accentuates this impression. They rather remind me of David Bowie in the movie Labyrinth. The figure might have a prop or two, but there is generally next to no background, so the amount of esoteric symbolism is minimal; nonetheless the poses and props are sufficient to remind one of the corresponding RWS image. I imagine that this deck might be appealing to goths, as well as those nostalgic for the night-life scene of the glam rock and heavy metal era.

Londa Page of Cups deck cover

Lord of the Rings Tarot Deck and Card Game. Terry Donaldson and Peter Pracownik. US Games Systems. - I like my hobbits barefoot... I would be interested in a LOTR deck with artwork informed by closer attention to the books, and with better choices of what scenes and personalities should be assigned to what card. Finally, it is my hope that no other deck designer decides that this is a good way to border the artwork on their cards. So much of the visual area on the card is consumed by the brick border and quoted passage from the books that it is very difficult to see what the scenes depicted are. I was sufficiently disappointed in this deck to remove it from my collection.

Lord of the Rings Page of Cups set cover

Tarot of Love. Wulfing von Rohr and Gayan Winter, Marcia Perry illustrator. 1989 US Games Systems. - A very sweet and positive deck. A caring nurturer in the Stuart Smalley sense. Even the scary cards are not scary here. But not as relentlessly positive as Medicine Woman. It is also nice in that it doesn't seem to have any attachment to any particular religion, neither Christian nor Pagan. It seems like it would be ideal to use in a couples therapy kind of setting. I like the idea of cups as Blossoms, and cranes are a bird I have a particular affinity to (and they appear very frequently on this deck). It is partially appropriate for general use outside of love issues. I say partially, as a few of the Majors are renamed pretty specifically, and while the amount of nudity is less than on many decks (only the High Priestess, Lovers and Climax - Strength), there is quite a bit of use of the vesica piscis, and finally some of the images indulge in what might be called floral eroticism (e.g. a pronounced pistil being encompassed by another flower).

Tarot of Love Page of Blossoms set cover book cover


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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
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