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Mage: The Ascension Tarot. Nicky Rea and Jackie Cassada. 1995 White Wolf. - "Mages safeguard the world in an alliance of sorcerers and mystics. Believing in the power of human choice and the need for wonder, they fight to save the last remnants of magic in a world increasingly ruled by technology. They are the Nine Traditions, a council of mages who unite their different visions in one grand alliance. Ultimately, they safeguard the vision of Ascension: the potential for any human to move beyond this world, to true enlightenment and infinity." (White Wolf) "Magick is not dead. It slumbers beneath the disbelief of our modern age, but it's far from dead. In the shadows, sorcerers, mad mysticks and technological wizards conspire to rule our world. The future they plan may be darker or more wonderful than we can imagine. Mage: The Ascension places your character in the midst of supernatural intrigues and inner struggles. The more she learns about the secrets of this hidden world, the more important her wisdom and power become. Mage drags spirituality and metaphysics screaming through the streets of a post-modern hell. The heights or depths of the voyage are up to you." (The Compleat Strategist) As is appropriate for a deck designed for use in the World of Darkness, this is a dark and pessimistic deck.
Nicky Rea and Jackie Cassada. Mage: The Ascension Tarot: Designs of Destiny. 1995: White Wolf. ISBN: 1565044401 (came with deck)
Medicine Woman Tarot. Carol Bridges. 1989 U S Games (formerly self-published 1986)- This is a very happy deck for feminine spirituality and self-healing. This deck is woman-centered without excising the male perspective quite as deeply as Daughters of the Moon or Motherpeace (but that's not really saying much). It is another of the decks depicting the fictional pan-Native American spirituality so beloved in some sectors of the New Age market. In reality, this deck has as much to do with Native Americans as Lynn Andrews.
Bridges, Carol. The Medicine Woman Inner Guidebook : A Woman's Guide to Her Unique Powers Using the Medicine Woman Tarot Deck. 1992: US Games Systems. ISBN: 0880795123
Medieval Scapini. Luigi Scapini. 1985 US Games. - The Majors are similar in style to the 15th Century Visconti Tarocchi decks, though the Minors in this deck do have scenes. Scapini recreated the missing cards from the Cary-Yale and Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo decks for US Games, which would explain his facility with that style. (See the Visconti reviews in the Classic deck section, above, to compare.) He has also done a tarot of Romeo and Juliet (Tarocchi di Giulietta e Romeo) and The Stained Glass Tarot (Tarocco delle Vetrate). The Majors and Court Cards in this deck have a metallic gold background, while the Minors are simply on a tan background. This difference makes the pips appear more cartoonish, but in fact the manner of illustration of the figures themselves has not changed, just the background. These pips are chock full of subtle symbolism; but not necessarily the symbolism originating with RWS - though that is one of the elements in the stew, it is only one, and where used it is usually translated. Nonetheless, one of the fun things about this deck is that it has the Visconti "look" while including symbolism informed by much later occult speculations. This is a deck where the LWB should be examined carefully; facility with typical postmodern decks will probably be insufficient for accessing all the symbolism here. A most witty and erudite deck.
Melissa Townsend's Tarot (El Teddy Tarot). Melissa Townsend. 1994 The Hub. - These cards were originally drawn on the back of business cards. Very cool deck, with very quick energetic art. The accompanying booklet is very nice as well; meatier than is expected from a LWB, and quite practical in a divinatory sense.
Write to Melissa at MelissaTow*AT*aol.com to get your own copy of the deck, which costs $45 including shipping and handling. (Replace the word *AT* with the @ sign... address is disguised from spambots)
Merlin Tarot. R.J. Stewart and Miranda Gray (artist). 1988 Aquarian Press. - Stewart uses a tree of life which is based on W.G. Gray's version of the qabalistic tree of life (different from GD and Levi both). So if you are a systems junkie, as I am, this deck is wonderful to study. The suit-symbol-only pips on this deck are based on the spheres of this tree, but the keywords end up rather different from GD keywords you may be used to. The version of the book I have gives only a few pages to the entire Minor Arcana. The majors and courts are VERY nice, especially if you are looking for a pre-Christian Britain mythos kind of deck. I got this deck because I read a review at the time that it was the deck that should go with Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon. In actuality, since the Vita Merlini, on which this deck is based, is concerned with Merlin's life rather than Arthur's, the real Mists of Avalon deck would more likely be the Matthews' Arthurian Tarot. Ironically, either way, you are getting Miranda Gray's marvelous art.
Stewart, R.J. The Merlin Tarot: Images, insight and wisdom from the age of Merlin. 1988: Aquarian Press, Wellingborough England. ISBN 0-85030-630-2 (came with deck)
Stewart, R.J. The Way of Merlin: The Prophet, The Goddess and the Land: Techniques of Transformation from the Merlin Tradition. 1991: The Aquarian Press. ISBN 1-85538-113-3
Tarot of a Moon Garden. Karen Marie Sweikhardt. 1993 US Games Systems. - This fanciful deck would appear to be tailored to a young girl, and actually is why it is in my collection. In order to wean myself from overintellectualizing, I needed a deck that I would otherwise tend to categorize as completely twinkie. Though with the constant night sky and vivid colors, this actually has less of a young girl feel than, for instance, Hanson Roberts. It has a real wistful dreamlike feel, appropriate to its use in the middle of the night after everyone has gone to bed. The story behind the deck is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis's science fiction books (Perelandra et al). The foliage that appears on nearly every card tends to obscure symbolic elements and makes it difficult to tell cards apart at a quick glance.
Sweikhardt, Karen Marie. Tarot of a Moon Garden. 1998: US Games Systems. ISBN: 0880799668
Morgan Greer. William Greer under the direction of Lloyd Morgan. 1979 Morgan Press. - Waite-Smith clone, simplified. This is the deck I first learned on. It's my comfort deck.
used to illustrate:
Amaral, Geraldine and Nancy Brady Cunningham. Tarot Celebrations. 1997: Red Wheel/Weiser; ISBN: 1578630142
Donaldson, Terry. Step-By-Step Tarot : A Complete Course in Tarot Readership. 2000: Thorsons Pub; ISBN: 1855384310
Echols, Signe E., Robert Mueller and Sandra A. Thomson. Spiritual Tarot : Seventy-Eight Paths to Personal Development. 1996: Avon Books (Pap Trd); ISBN: 0380782065
Gerulskis-Estes, Susan. The Book of Tarot. 1981: Morgan & Morgan, Inc.; ISBN: 0871001721
Morgan's Tarot. Created by Morgan Robbins Illustrated by Darshan Chorpash Zenith. (c)1970, 1983 US Games Systems. - A hilarious unnumbered black and white hippie deck - "the 70's counterculture tarot" (yet profound as Discordianism can be underneath the wit). With 88 cards, and no suits or card numbers on any of the cards, just odd messages with B&W line drawings. I love this deck, but few would classify it a true tarot.
Mountain Dream Tarot. Bea Nettles. 1975 Self-Published (Republished 2001). - Photographic Black and White, with each suit printed in a different color. Urbana is the twin city to Champaign, where I live. So even if this were not the "grandaddy of all photographic decks", the original of which can be found for astronomical sums, if at all, I would want it for the hometown connection.
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Copyright © 1994-2002 Joan Schraith Cole.
Updated June 27, 2002
Some graphics from Ann-S-Thesia CD, Number 76 variant A