The Sirian Starseed Tarot: Deck Review

The Sirian Starseed Tarot Review

Patricia Cori and Alysa Bartha
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Review by: Misha

     For the first time I am at a lose as to where to begin in my review of this magnificent deck. The quality of the cards and the heavy and sturdy box they are packaged in outdoes any other deck I have ever gotten. North Atlantic Books spared no expense when they published this deck; the box certainly will not get damaged and the cards will last. That was my first reaction when I received this deck and I could not wait to have a look at each individual card.

      My second reaction was how large the cards are and wondering if I will be able to shuffle them. I also realized how much space will be needed if doing anything more then a three card reading; one will need plenty of space when using this deck. The cards measure the size of an average photograph (4X6), which is a lot larger then the average tarot deck. Possibly this was done on purpose since The Sirian Starseed Tarot is in fact a photographic collage deck. As I go through each card one by one I realize that space is not going to deter me at all from using this very powerful deck.
     Tarot is more then just memorizing card meanings, it is also about tuning into our higher self and using our intuition. If you are wanting to learn intuitive reading or already do intuitive readings you can’t go wrong with The Sirian Starseed Tarot. Once you have this deck in your hands it will not take long to understand why I am describing this as powerful. I am an intuitive reader and this deck opened that part of me up so quickly that I did experience a bit of a “head rush” for lack of a better description. One needs to be prepared to turn their “psychic switch” on even when only going through the cards individually as I was. I was not at all expecting my psychic switch to turn on, let alone full force since I was not using them for a reading at the time.

     When you put Patricia Cori, a new age author who channels interdimensional beings from the Sirius Star System together with metaphysical and intuitive artist Alysa Bartha you get an amazing and powerful tarot deck. The Sirian Starseed Tarot is a 78 card deck and comes with an 87 page book that explains what a starseed is and how to interpret these exquisite and unusual cards. The cards are referred to as keys rather then just simply cards, which fits with everything else regarding The Sirian Starseed Tarot.

     From the moment you open the box and see the first key (card) titled Starseed you know this is not going to follow the traditional images at all. A meteor falling out of the sky to Earth is a far cry from a Fool and his dog at the edge of a cliff. This by the way is the image that appears on the lid of the box as well as the cover of the book. The other name changes made to the Major Arcana are as follows: Indigo (Magician), Higher Self (High Priestess), Abundance (Empress), Reason (Emperor), Guidance (Hierophant), Reflection (The Hermit), Transition (Death), Alchemy (Temperance), The Shadow (The Devil), Luna (The Moon), Solar Deity (The Sun), Karma (Judgement), Ascension (The World) There are other majors that have had small changes made to their names and those are: The Great Wheel (Wheel of Fortune), Divine Justice (Justice), and Hanging Man instead of The Hanged Man.

     The Majors are not the only differences; the suits have been renamed Crystals instead of Pentacles, Chalices are Cups, Orbs instead of Swords and Flames instead of Wands. One may get Crystals and Orbs confused at first until realizing since crystals are found in the Earth they represent pentacles. The book explains that the purpose of the suit of Crystals is to go beyond the traditional materialistic thinking and raise the bar to a higher perspective of “manifesting spirit into form”. The suit of orbs represents the air element and with Sirian Starseed, Patricia explains that Orbs represent our thought process and how we relate it to others. Our mind can create it’s own challenges with what we think, and “each orb holds an aspect or perception that is the product of one’s own thought process (page 57).”
     The traditional names of the court cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King; in the Sirian Starseed Tarot they are Seeker, Adept, Sage and Master. They are called The People Keys and as the book explains “the People cards depict levels of spiritual maturity”(page 75). Master of Flames is the last key and the one that stood out of all the 16 people keys. It is a Native American leaning against a stone wall with the rising sun behind him with his many years of wisdom depicted on his face. The face of a very wise, old soul looks out at you.



 The people keys have no individual meaning given in the book; you are take the brief description of each Spiritual level and combine it with each suit’s meaning and apply them both when doing a reading.

     There is one page devoted to reversals and how they are to be used with this deck; no reverse meanings are supplied with each card description. Following that, Patricia Cori includes The Sirian Starseed Spread along with a diagram for the layout of the cards. The spread is followed by “About the Creators Of The Deck” where you can read a brief profile on both Patricia Cori and Alysa Bartha.
     The fact that these cards have two boarders may not be immediately noticed since for most of the cards it blends in with the image. Yes that’s right I said two boarders. The prominent one is the white outer boarder; however there is another one between that and the image. This boarder is of stars in the evening sky and for most of the cards blends well. It becomes noticeable the most in lots of minors where the images are on Earth rather then in space. I believe it was done to emphasis the connection we have to Universe and our own Higher Power as well as to help develop intuitive reading. The name of the card is also written across the bottom of the inner boarder. Is it a distraction having the boarders; or does it add to the magic of this deck? Only you can be the judge of that as it is an individual preference.

The Gilded Tarot Deck Review

                                     The Gilded Tarot Deck Review by Misha 

     Ciro Marchetti is known for his own style of deck creations that are unique to him. I have to admit that his past decks have been too “dark” in a lot of their images for me to use when doing face to face readings. Upon receiving this deck I had the thought of having to limit this one as well for over the phone readings only; boy was I wrong.

     You have to be careful when opening this box or you will end up tearing it or at the very least attempt to open it the wrong way as I first did. It is packaged in what appears to be a standard box, so I was attempting to lift open the top of it, to no avail. It took me a few attempts in my anxiousness to realize that it in fact had to be flat and the lid lifted.

     The colors are bright and vibrant and done in such a way as to draw you into each card. The Magician is the first card that did pull me in. The eyes of The Magician are as if he is looking out of the card and through you to your very soul. The High Priestess is different then what is normally seen because she is not seated between the two pillars. In the Gilded Tarot, The High Priestess appears to be a ballerina that is easily floating above the water in her graceful dance. There are two pillars behind her along with the evening sky and big crescent moon. The Hierophant is stepping out of a stained glass window that gives the appearance of being in the universe with a planet depicted in the background sky.

     For the minor arcana I have to say that the cups stood out the most to me. I am not sure why that is, perhaps because the cups seem to be the happiest and cheerful suit of the four minor arcana suits. In the cups even the sadder, less pleasant cards are almost uplifting.

     Pentacles are usually portrayed as round and in this deck when I view them shields is what came to mind. Ciro has chosen for the pentacles to be in the shape of pentagons with a smaller pentagon in the center of the main one.

     On the top center of each card is a colored oval that is framed in gold. For the Major Arcana they are colored black and the Roman Numeral for each is written in the center. I have to say that the colors chosen for some of the minor suits has me mystified. Wands I am sure is suppose to be red, but is more of a bright fuchsia. With the colors being so prominent I would have expected a bright fiery red. The suit of cups has be scratching my head because the color used is orange. Cups being the water element one thinks of the color blue, at least I do. Blue is actually found on the suit of swords. The color of the sky since swords is the air element, at least I think anyway. Pentacles is also obvious as that suit is green.

     The deck comes with two extra cards that shows a spread on each one. The Celtic Cross Spread using 11 cards is on one and a 5 card Daily Spread is on the other. The little white book is done simply with to the point meanings both upright and reverse for each card. The back of the lwb is shown the past, present, future spread as well as The Daily Spread found on the one extra card.

     This follows the tradition of Rider Waite with the exception of The Hanged Man being renamed The Hanging Man. This change in the name fits the card as he is not motionlessly hanging upside down. In this deck you find you upside down and in motion therefore the name change does fit. The Gilded Tarot will brighten up any reading with it’s vibrant colors and can be read by any level reader.

The Gilded Tarot

By: Ciro Marchetti

Published by: Llewelyn

Dreaming Way Tarot Deck Review

Dreaming Way Tarot Deck Review by Misha

       The newest deck from U.S. Games is Dreaming Way Tarot by Rome Choi. My initial impression was that this was an Irish theme deck from The Fool dressed in mostly green and the pastel green background of the box. I found myself surprisingly drawn to it, even though green is the color I most dislike. The design on the back of the cards does nothing for me however. The back is not the pretty pastel but instead is a dark green with a bit of odd design to it. The deck itself follows the Rider Waite tradition and has a young feel to it. I see this deck being a deck to use for the young clients and used by lots of younger readers.

     Going through this deck I felt a sense of confusion, are the images suppose to be dreams? Are the images sleepwalking? What exactly is this deck about? Let’s get out the Little White Book and get some answers. The only answers that the lwb held was that Rome’s belief of the Majors is that reversals are not opposite of uprights. With this deck the majors in reverse are different degrees of the upright meanings.

      I found myself wondering with some of the cards if the characters portrayed were in fact sleepwalking; such as Strength, Hermit, Death, 2 of pentacles, page of wands, 8 of cups, and page of swords are just some examples. The facial expressions and the overall feel of a lot of the cards left me wondering if they are in a trance.

      There were other cards that have left me completely confused as to what they are trying to portray. Facial expression and feel of the cards do not match up what the lwb has to say. The Lovers and the Four of Wands made me wonder a lot of things and for me it was not matching up with what the lwb has to say. The Star is an example of what appears to me as a state of confusion by the woman dumping her pitchers. It’s as if she is just doing this action without any understanding of what is going on. The Ten of Cups shows to me a family at the end of the day exhausted and worn out, as opposed to being happy, peaceful and joyful as are some of the keywords from the lwb. Seeing The Page of Cups had the words to the song “I’m a little teacup” pop into my head; with her teapot tied to her head. I can’t even imagine why the cup is being filled from a tilted teapot tied to her head. Aren’t the flying fish portrayed enough of a distraction?

      Going through this deck multiple times left me wondering if the creator just couldn’t quite decide on fairytale, dreamy, Irish or impish and so incorporated a little of all of it in this whimsical deck. I will have to work with this one and really see how it does with readings before determining if I will be using it or not. If there was some sort of explanation to things supplied in the lwb I feel this deck would be better understood as to why things are portrayed the way they are. Possibly the point of this deck is for each of us to get our own opinion of what is going on. It is titled Dreaming Way Tarot and dreams are always up for personal interpretation.

 Dreaming Way Tarot

By Rome Choi

Published by U.S. Games

Witches Tarot Deck Review by Misha

Witches Tarot Review

By Misha


     From the size of the envelope that arrived from Llewellyn , I was sure it was a newly released book. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Witches Tarot and the illustration immediately had me in a hurry to open it up and see this deck. I was so anxious to get it open that I dropped it on the ground and since it landed standing up, the bottom of the box and it’s corners are now squished.

      It contains a 312 page book which is why it’s in a large box. The cards themselves are packaged in plastic only. This means if it turns out to be a deck I want to use regularly I have to now purchase a tarot bag to put them in. You simply can’t travel to do readings with lose cards or with a box this large, it doesn’t work. I am not sure other then to save money why the deck was not packaged in its own smaller box or come with a bag.

      As I start to go through the cards one by one I know this will be a deck that will get a lot of use. You know the expression “Never judge a book by it’s cover”; this is a case of never judge a tarot deck by it’s name. With the name Witches Tarot you would probably expect this to be for Wiccans/pagans and witches with lots of obvious symbolism that the majority of clients, especially Christian clients would be uncomfortable seeing preventing a lot of usage. You wouldn’t be more wrong and the average person would not have any idea that this was a witches deck especially since it will be put in a bag nobody will have to know, they won’t see it’s name. I see no reason why anyone would be offended by this deck at all or any of it’s illustrations.

     Going through the deck I start to realize that instantly my eyes are automatically being drawn to a specific thing/area in the illustrations. In a lot of the cards I notice that clothing seems to be more colorful and that is where my eyes go with the initial glance. A few examples of this from the majors are The High Priestess, the Empress, The Emperor (except it’s the 2 children and not the Emperor himself), The High Priest, there are plenty of others especially with the court cards.

     Did I say The High Priest in the above examples? Yes I did and that was not a typo; Ellen Dugan has changed the names of some of the majors. Those changes are as follows: High Priest (Hierophant), The Wheel of The Year ( Wheel of Fortune), The Shadow Side (The Devil), Judgement (Karma). The newly named cards all made sense to me except for The Wheel of The Year, which I had to look up in the companion book. The explanation made sense and I would have gotten it on my own if I took the extra time to think about it. If one knows basic Wiccan beliefs the changes to the names makes full sense. If someone knows nothing about Wiccan beliefs I don’t think it would even enter their mind that a witch deck is being used. The illustration on the box that got me so excited is The Moon card.

      The Lovers card was the first one that got my attention first, with the lovers in shilhouette with an angel in the sky faded and her hand reaching out to the couple. The only card that stands out as being Pagan is The World card with the Green Man portrayed in it. The Moon caught my eye already from the box. Eight of Cups was another one because of it’s soothing relaxing nighttime scene at the edge of a beach. There is a dolphin that has popped out of the water as if to say hi to the young lady on the sand.

     The 5 of swords was one that I paused because at a quick glance it could be mistaken for the 3 of swords. The points of the 5 swords are gathered right at a dragonfly’s head and flying around the swords are 5 glowing fairies. The book explains that one is having feelings of embarrassment and what one feels humiliated about is just an illusion.

        This deck follows the traditional Rider Waite and is a great deck for beginners to learn and everyone that enjoys the Rider Waite style. The design on the back of the cards also matches my theme for the most part. It also allows for reversals as they are the same regardless of how they are turned. I thought that this deck would be one of my halloween decks; I couldn’t be more wrong. It is a deck I will enjoy using year round.

Witches Tarot

Ellen Dugan

Illustrated by Mark Evans

Published by Llewellyn

You can see a visual of the book and deck and also hear Isaac Grant’s video review here

Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Review By Misha

Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Review By Misha

By: Lisa Hunt

Published by U.S. Games

ISBN 10: 1-57281-661-9

Release Date: April 26, 2012


     The deck that so many, including myself had been waiting for was released while I was in New York attending the Reader’s Studio held by Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone. I fought the urge to not rush over and add this deck to my growing pile of purchases. I kept feeling that I needed to remain patient; I’m glad I did. A week or so later when I arrived home from dinner there was a package at my door from U.S. Games. Could it be Ghosts and Spirits Tarot for me to review? It seemed to take forever to get the packing tape undone; then finally it was opened and to my delight it was in fact Lisa Hunt’s newest deck. Ghosts and Spirits Tarot arrived and my patience paid off; not only did I have this review deck; a few hours later Lisa announced a limited edition set she was selling which of course I had to have.

     Anyone familiar with Lisa’s artwork knows the amount of detail that is immediately seen and all the additional hidden details; all done in a blended and flowing natural way. Knowing this makes you want to just go immediately to the cards in anxious excitement to see what she has created this time. What she has somehow managed to do with Ghosts and Spirits Tarot is outdo herself with this amazing deck. For the most part I would consider this a “darker” deck; however Lisa Hunt has the most astonishing way of making even the darkest of the cards not be horrifying.

     This deck is different in so many ways; one of them being the little white book which is 61 pages. At first appearance it looks like it will be just like every other lwb, consisting of the cards and their meanings, but it’s not and you need to refer to it with this deck. Lisa has gone above and beyond by including the individual spirit/ghost that is depicted in each card and has given brief background for each one. She has a way of writing about them that gives the important information needed while at the same time keeping it simple. This book is an exception to my rule of putting the the lwb aside. You will want to read it with this deck because in lies deeper meaning and understanding for each card and it’s Ghost or Spirit.

     The first card is of course The Fool; Lisa’s wooded detail depicted in it had me think of the book “Where The Wild Things Are”. Since I have an attraction to fairies and angels it is no wonder that The Empress was the first of the majors that I paused at in my rush to see them all. The Empress is an angel who is standing in front of a little girl who has her back to us. The pastel colors used have a very soothing and peaceful feel. You immediately get a “you are protected” feeling coming off The Empress, which as explained in the lwb, The Empress is in fact the Guardian Spirit. The Lovers was the next major that made me pause, with it’s different than the norm portrayal. The Lovers is depicted as a “darker” card, not as a lighter, happier relationship that we tend to see in other decks. In this image you see a black cloaked figure that made me think, ” this is the grim reaper riding on a horse with a female behind him holding onto him.” This was the first card that made me have a look at the lwb and see what it had to say. The Lovers depicts the tragedy of love through it’s spirit name that it is based on, Specter Bridegroom, “Joyful reunions dissolve into tragedy as the real identity of the lover-turned-ghost is discovered”, is a sentence taken from the lwb. This is just one example of the different view depicted in the cards of Ghosts and Spirits Tarot.

     The differences of this deck do not stop at the images. Two of the Major Arcana names have been changed. The Hierophant is The High Priest, and The Devil is titled Chains; Strength remains 8 and Justice 11 like the Rider Waite. The suits are also the traditional wands, swords, cups and pentacles.

     Court Cards tend to be the hardest cards for beginners to learn, because of the simple fact they are sitting or standing still; except for the Knights which are traditionally riding a horse. Lisa gives the Court Cards life and they are not doing the traditional standing or sitting on thrones. In fact the King of Swords is the only one that is on a horse and the Page of Swords is not even the spirit of a person. The Page of Swords appears to be a wolf or coyote; when you look it up in the lwb it is in fact Black Dogs. Another example of why you do not want to toss aside and ignore the little white book with this deck.

     There is also one last and final additional card, making this deck 79 cards. Lisa states in the lwb that this bonus card is “for questions that require deeper reflection.” She mentions it in the Introduction and leaves it for each person to reflect deeper for themselves whenever it comes out in a reading.

     This deck is for anyone to use whether they are beginners or are experienced readers. I can’t emphasis enough that you’ll want to use the little white book to familiarize yourself with the Ghosts and Spirits; not only who they are but what personal story they each tell. I can’t wait to use this deck and it came just in time for my upcoming nine day fund raising event.

Tarot Favole Review

Tarot Favole Deck Review by Misha

By Victoria Frances
Published by Fournier 2007

ASIN: B00149UI3K

           When I opened the unexpected package and saw the new tarot deck I had just received I thought this was going to be added to my favorite’s list. The packaging itself is nothing more then a standard tarot deck box; nothing special there. The one flap has started to tear already after only opening it three times.  It was the image and design on it that attracted me instantly. The Victorian look instantly had me loving this deck even though it was also gothic with blood portrayed on the red headed female vampire.

           I seem to follow a routine whenever I have a new deck and am first going through it. I rush through each card fairly quickly seeing which cards grab my attention and make me pause for good or bad reasons. With Tarot Favole however, I seemed to get my attention grabbed instantly and I had no desire to hurry through. I love black and white; that color combination to me is rich and elegant looking; so The Magician, which is only the second card, caught my eye and made me pause. Yes, it’s black and white, a nighttime scene at a pond and she is dressed in a white gown; a very magical night portrayal indeed and in my favorite color combination.

     The next thing that had my attention and attraction for this deck was the delightful, gorgeous combination of Victorian and Goth. Besides black and white, I love anything Victorian and that is why the next card that took my breath away was The Empress; when you see it you will know why. Unbeknown to me, I had not even gotten to my most favorite major of this exquisite deck; The Hermit.

       The one that troubled me the most is The Hanged Man and immediately I would have associated with it as The Death card. Upon closer examination, rather than a hasty rush through you see why in fact it is The Hanged Man. It’s a woman dressed in black lying on her back with her eyes closed. There is a cord around the wrist of her outstretched arm looking as if it snapped or broke from the branch above. She is in crucifixion position, the biggest self sacrifice, at least for Christians. 

       I finish with the majors and my breath caught and my heart sunk, the minors have no depictions, it’s just the suits portrayed. After seeing all the gorgeous majors and then to see the plainness of only having the suits showing for the minors was a big disappointment. My clients and myself like to have more than this and unfortunately I probably will not be using this deck all that often.

       The suits have been changed to crosses, masks, flowers and butterflies which is a nice variation from the norm. It is easy to immediately determine that the crosses are in place of swords because of how they are depicted. The wands are obviously the sticks of the masquerade masks. Are the butterfly’s cups and the flowers pentacles or is it the reverse? Ok time to go to the little white book for the answers. The LWB is not helpful at all because not only does it not say in some sort of introduction; the suits and their individual explanations are listed as wands, swords, cups and pentacles. I am also wondering why flowers was given as a suit title and not roses for the simple fact that black roses is used and no other variety of flower.

           If you are someone that reads reversals, you also are unable to determine with the 2’s if they are upright or reversed. This is because the Roman numeral of 2 is the same in both positions and the suits are also portrayed symmetrically. This is definitely not recommended for a beginner or novice as there are too many things left to the imagination with this deck.



Crystal Visions Tarot Deck Review

Crystal Visions Tarot
By: Jennifer Galasso
Published by: U.S. Games

Out of the decks that were sent to me Crystal Visions Tarot was the first one that I went for.The fact that I collect fairies and unicorns had nothing to do with that decision. There are neither of those depicted on the box. The pleasant purple and blues of the box is what caught my attention and made this deck stand out before the others. Seeing the word crystal in the title also made me anxious to see the cards. I could not have been more wrong thinking that crystals was going to the theme. The back of the cards are shades of purples and pinks with a crystal ball in the center of a flowered border with a challis at the top and bottom. Crystal balls are also in some of the cards. Stevie Nick’s CD Crystal Visions was released when Jennifer was starting this deck, which was the inspiration for the title, which was explained in the little white book.

This deck follows the traditional Rider Waite decks in all aspects which makes it a great deck for any level reader as well as a wonderful very first deck. There is one extra card called The Unknown Card which shows a female holding out a cloudy crystal ball. The meaning of this card is obvious through the symbolism depicted without even having to check the book.

Jennifer is a fantasy artist and the colors used enhances the fantasy that is in each card. There are a variety of fantasy beings used throughout including fairies, angels and dragons. Death himself is depicted with angel wings and a ray of light shining down from above.
For the minor arcana, Jennifer allows the scenes to be the focus rather then the suits. The suit of cups is the best example of their subtlety . For the seven of cups I had to actually look closely to find all seven cups since they are blended so well. The horns of eight unicorns is used for the 8 of wands as just another example. Symbolism as we know is what tarot is about and Jennifer has done a wonderful job with that.

This is a deck that is suitable for children, although I think girls would find it more appealing then boys. If you are looking for your first deck or your 100th , are a novice or pro, like the traditional Rider Waite or just love fantasy you can’t go wrong having this deck as your own. For me this goes on my favorite list and I cannot wait to use it.

Brotherhood of Light Egypt Tarot

Brotherhood of Light Egypt Tarot  deck Review

Written by Misha

Designed by Vicki Brewer

Published by U.S. Games

ISBN: 1-57281-656-2

     U.S. Games has redesigned this deck in full color. The original deck was published in 1936 in black and white.  Even though this deck has the standard 78 cards it is far from being a traditional deck. This deck is definitely not for beginners, does not follow the traditional Rider Waite and has its own meanings and interpretations. It was designed as a companion to the book The Sacred Tarot by C. C. Zain.  The little white book that comes with this deck only gives a short interpretation and explanation of the cards. If one wants to fully learn this deck buying the book is a necessity.  The deck incorporates everything into each of the 78 cards from Kabala, astrology, alchemy, magic, numerology, even Free Masonry. There are also things that are not included in the LWB, which are the correlations between each major arcanum and its associated herb, gem, mineral, Hebrew, Egyptian, and Roman glyph, as well as the correct numerological and astrological associations.

     The four suits used for the minors are scepters, swords, coins and cups and have no scenes depicted on them. So if imagery is wanted that won’t be found with this deck. They are grouped together by number rather than suit. The court cards do have Egyptian illustrations on them and are called Horsemen, Youth, Queen and King.

     Once the time is taken to learn the deck and get familiar with all that it includes I can see it being a nice change to do readings with. As I said this is not a deck for beginners to learn tarot with. I am writing this review keeping in mind that I do not have the companion book and therefore am unable to determine how hard or easy it would be to learn the deck. I think redoing this deck as a kit with the full book included would have made this a better option for every level reader.

Shadowscapes Tarot Deck Review

Shadowscapes Tarot Review

Written by : Misha (Tarot By Misha)

Will be published in May’s TCBA’s monthly newsletter

I had a surprise on my front steps yesterday morning when I went out to get the mail. It was a delivery from Llewellyn which contained their spring release tarot deck Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pu-Mun Law. The cards are done by Stephanie and the 264 page book that comes with it was written by her along with Barbara Moore. “The Mystic Dreamer Tarot” which was done by Barbara is one of my favorite decks so I was really anxious to have my hands on “Shadowscapes Tarot” and I was not at all disappointed.

It is springtime and Easter was not that long ago which could be why the pastel colors used immediately reminded me of dyed Easter Eggs. I hadn’t even opened the box yet to view the cards and was already drawn into the magical world that Stephanie created. I anxiously opened it up to admire the cards and was not at all disappointed, they are gorgeous. Stephanie spent six years creating this mythological, legend and folklore inspired deck and no wonder it took so long. They are done from watercolor and the backgrounds are what made me think of Easter Eggs.

The first thing that I do when I get a new deck is to go straight to the cards and just go through them to get a feel for them and see which ones really draws my attention. Then when I have a quiet time to sit down and really focus on them I go through them slowly, one at a time and really have a good look at each one. The book is always the last thing that I open as I like to get my own immediate impression of the deck and then later read the book and get the creators perspective.

The images bring you right into the mystical world that Stephanie created; the background and the “being in the skies” look is what draws you in. Although trees and/or mountain cliffs are depicted in the majority of the cards, those that aren’t still bring you to another dimension in the skies. The deck is based on the Rider Waite deck with some unique depictions which had me pause and reflect on certain cards.

The Hierophant is portrayed as a tree and I had to really reflect on that as upon first seeing it without “looking” at it, it had me scratching my head. Then it “clicked” and I was really impressed with that connection of The Hierophant as a tree. The Hermit is usually shown in his cave or somewhere similar to seek his answers and that is not the case with this deck. In Shadowscapes Tarot, The Hermit holding his lantern is on top of a high cliff that reaches the skies. A pheonix bird in flames in the branch of a tree high in the sky is in place of the Grim Reaper which is commonly seen with the Death card.

The Three of Swords was one card that stood out because of the painful reaction it gave to me. Seeing something as delicate, innocent and pure like a swan being pierced by the swords touched me in a way that no other Three of Swords ever has. Pentacles is the Earth element and as I go through the cards one by one and get to the last two cards they also stand out to me. The Queen and King of Pentacles are again very uniquely done. Are they the tree or are they emerging out of the tree? I will let you decide and find out when you read Stephanie’s write up on it in the Companion book included with the deck.

The book does not just tell Stephanie’s story of the cards and Barbara’s writing of the tarot meanings, it has an introduction written by Barbara Moore covers tarot basics to reversals and reading the cards. The end of the book gives spreads to do with positioning.

The quality of the box this was packaged in is lacking and disappointing. If someone is going to use this deck as one of their regulars to read with then they will definitely want to store the cards elsewhere. The box is not at all resilient for constant use because of its thinness. In the few days it has taken me to write this review in completion the corner of mine has already torn. Not to mention the fact that once the cards are unwrapped out of the plastic they slide down the sides of the inside “stuffing” so you have to make sure you have all 78 cards or have a tarot bag to put them in if keeping them stored in the box.

I would not recommend this deck for someone who is a brand new beginner and just learning the tarot. Someone that already has a basic knowledge of the card’s meaning or has more experience would not have a problem with them however. There is no worries when using this deck for in person reads of having to worry if children are around as there is no nudity or “scary” looking images. The release date is scheduled to be in a few weeks, in May 2010.

Shadowscapes Tarot

Created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Text written by : Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore

Publisher: Llwellyn

Release Date: May 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1579-7

A Deck Review: The Fairy Tale Tarot

Author & Artist: Lisa Hunt
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide
ISBN: 978-0-7387-866-9
Release Date: September 2009

I was pretty anxious to have this deck coming to me for many reason. It intrigued my attention immediately because of its name. I find myself very often telling my clients “life isn’t a fairy tale.’ I even state that I will not give fairy tale readings, only the truth without sugarcoating. So I was very curious to see for myself how this deck was done and the cards and Fairy Tales portrayed. I was also wondering how these would be used for giving readings without having the client believe the “Happily Ever After” that fairy tales end with.

The first thing you notice when you open this, is the size of the book that comes with it since it is on the top. When you think of fairy tales you remember the classics from childhood such as Cinderella, Snow White, The Three Pigs and Red Riding Hood. There are so many others that I had not even heard of let alone know the tale. The book is well written; the tale depicted on each card is summarized. This is a big help for those unfamiliar tales we do not know or have never heard of. Lisa Hunt also then explains the symbols and meanings of not just the tarot meanings but she incorporates the fairy tale visual that she chose and explains the significance of it in a way that brings even more understanding of not just the cards but the tales themselves.

The first thing you notice with the cards themselves is that there is no border on them, so the images give the feeling of being there rather then a cut off photo look. This makes the cards even more attractive and appealing as a border would of taken away from the images.

The next thing that is noticed is the Fool card is titled Innocence and it is a fairy tale I recognized immediately Little Red Riding Hood. What an appropriate tale and title to use for this card about innocence. While going through the Major Aracana’s Lisa changed the names on many of them and I have to say they are appropriately renamed. There is however, one change that I found which may confuse a beginner; and that is Card XI which has been renamed Justice. Someone who is familiar with the traditional names Justice is card VIII and therefore seeing the name may cause one to confuse it with the original Justice card. Makes me wonder why a different name was not chosen for it.

The major arcana that really captured my attention was The Hermit. This card is commonly depicted as someone in a dark place, usually a cave, to reflect and take time alone. The Fairy Tale Tarot uses a bright, happy depiction from The Wood Fairy with the little girl Betushka dancing outside with The Wood Fairy. Not being familiar with this story I read the summary supplied in the companion book and was then able to understand the imagery that was used. The Hermit is shown in a more positive light and let’s one see that self reflection is a positive thing that we need to do from time to time.

The next thing I was anxious to see was how the minor arcana cards would look with the cups, wands, swords and pentacles added into the scenes. I have to say this was well done and they are discreetly shown so the scenes are still the focus point. When they are used, one has to look closely to find them as they are that well blended into the scenes.

When I got to the Eight of Cups I paused for a moment because it looks like The Tower card. It is a dark storm around a castle with lightening in the sky and 8 cups falling down into stormy waves. The tale depicted is The Fisherman and His Wife, another one that is unfamiliar to me and needed to be read. I am very grateful that the summaries of the fairy tales are included in the book.

This deck is very well done and thought out. It is indeed one to have in your collection whether you are a Tarot or Fairy Tale lover. For those not familiar with the fairy tales the book is very useful in fully understanding the entire meanings Lisa is portraying in the cards. Reading the cards without the book can be done, however getting familiar with the actual tales just expands on the readings and meanings.

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