So a question was posed in a FB tarot group yesterday: If you could have any artist create a tarot deck, who would you pick? Hands down Brom. I think Brom’s work (pictured here) from his book Lost Gods would all make an incredible deck. The book itself is extraordinary and you should go get it! That aside, there’s just so much dark beauty and symbolism in his work that would lend itself to a tarot. I can dream. 😉 Check out Tarot Nerds on FB too. It’s a closed group so you’ll have to request to join. I’ve been enjoying myself going through it today.
So to kick off October I thought it would be fun to take a look at those decks that celebrate Halloween. The first one is Kipling West’s Halloween Tarot. The theme of the deck is based off the Rider Waite Smith tarot with just a few changes to keep within the deck’s spooky holiday theme. The artwork is simple but authentically Halloween and fun. This deck was originally published way back in 1997, but is easy to pick up through Amazon. 🙂 I don’t care about superstitions, a black cat won’t steer you wrong for the best holiday of the year!
There’s nothing I like better than artwork that makes use of stark, color specific imagery. The Cruel Thing Tarot is a lovely display of line artwork in bold shades of red, black, and white. This deck was created by Luciano Vecchio in 2009 and the artwork is as striking as it is simple. It’s very dark, very gothic. Sadly, it’s also very hard to find. So far I only see one being sold as a collectable on Amazon. You can see more of the artists work though his DeviantArt page. He seems to be quite the superhero buff.
This little beauty is from my own collection. It was gifted to me several years back now. I hate to admit that it arrived during an extremely hectic time of moving and readjusting, so shortly after I received it, it ended up being packed and lost to me for awhile. I’m probably terribly guilty of not thanking the original sender for it as well. That was the air fairy in me that I had to exorcise myself of. That aside, this is a very lovely hand drawn deck. And Winny’s packaging is simply beautiful right down to the purple ribbon divider in the tarot’s box. This was a very limited edition deck and you can only find it now by google searching and looking for anyone wanting to sell their copy. Mine is not for sale. It is a very happy part of my collection. I haven’t been very successful finding a homepage or additional information for artist Christina Fernandez a.k.a. Winny, but if I do I will surely post it.
Today’s pretty pretty deck is Anne Stokes’ Gothic Tarot. It was published in 2012 by Lo Scarabeo and is readily available through most tarot sellers. I like the deck especially because it swaps out the traditional symbolism for the minor arcana (something I’m a big fan of) and replaces those familiar symbols. The wands are now dragons, skeletons take the boney place of pentacles, vampires can be seen in place of cups, and the swords are angels. Not to mention the artwork is just extremely beautiful fantasy work. I’m adding this one to my tarot deck wish list, which one day I will post. I’m always happy to swap one of mine for one I don’t have! 😉
I’ve had these cards bookmarked for awhile now and I hope to nab them one day when my coin purse is full of coins and not cobwebs. The deck is described as “ntricately drawn, stunningly unique. Arcana Playing cards blend the traditions of standard playing cards with the secrets of the Tarot. Each royal is drawn with an unprecedented amount of detail in a engraved style. Featuring 12 uniquely crafted Royals and Aces, 4 Major Arcana cards (The Fool, The Lovers, Death, and The Tower), and standard pip number cards.” and is available for a very wee price. You can nab one here.
This is a really nice dark and moody deck that I came across by pure chance while doing a google search, which is strange! Me being a fan of collage art, the tarot, and all things dark and mysterious I should have come across this deck before. So thank you random google search algorithm. The deck description states “The deck takes a subtle and psychological approach to the Gothic. It draws much of its atmosphere from the 19th century Gothic writers such as Edgar Allen Poe, Sheridan Le Fanu, Henry James , Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker.” and indeed it does that. It’s simply beautiful. The deck was created by Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony and published in 2007. It’s currently on its third edition and is available for purchase here.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been out looking for pretty pretty decks, but I had a moment today and stumbled upon the Medieval Cat Tarot. Oh this is an adorable deck! The artist is Lawrence Teng and to quote him about the deck: “Medieval Cat Tarot marries rich esoteric symbolism with truly wonderful artistic styling and expression. While there is a definite theme to the illustrations on the cards, this is not merely a collector’s deck. Each card’s meaning is rendered in a heartfelt but simple way so that anyone can appreciate and understand it. One need only seek to identify with the players in the drama acted out on each card. The characters on each card are shown either in the act of, or participating in, behavior and situations which describe the truest meanings of the card as it is understood in a more universal way, based upon the Golden dawn symbolism as interpreted by A.E. Waite.” Quote taken from his U.S. Games Systems page. And that is where you can find the deck if you’d like to pick it up.
Now that it’s April and the weather is beautiful I’ve got flowers on my mind. All kinds and all colors, flowers and more flowers. So today’s beautiful deck selection is the Bach Flower Inspirational Cards. This is a thirty-eight card deck that features very beautiful art nouveau styled floral cards. Each card has a specific flower essence to meditate on. It was created by Antonella Castelli and was published by Lo Scarabeo back in 2010. You can find this deck through Amazon.
I popped over to Kickstarter today to see if there was anything that caught my attention and I found the ArCANIS project. Oh this is a wonderful looking deck. I loved watching the artist drawing the artwork real time in the project video. Deck creator David DePasquale describes his deck as ArCANIS is a tarot deck and 168 page full color companion book that combines a love of animals with simple, modern character design. I just backed the project for a deck and companion book. His project has successfully funded with seventeen days to go. You can find the project and back it here!
The 78 Tarot Project takes 78 artists and pairs them with a card to create a beautiful tarot deck with a kaleidoscope of different styles and themes. The decks are funded through Kickstarter and can be readily purchased through the 78 Tarot Project etsy shop. This deck has a carnival theme and the above cards are just a sample. It was hard to pick just a few to show off the card artwork. Check it out!
Today’s beautiful deck is the Mary-el Tarot. This is a gorgeous deck featuring original oil paintings by artist Marie White. From what I’ve read fans of this deck were able to watch its creation over a ten year period. It was published by Schiffer Books a few years back. Please take a moment to visit the Mary-el Tarot website here. She offers prints from the deck artwork. And you can pick up the deck itself here.
Being a bit of a comic book geek I’m rather surprised I didn’t run across this deck sooner. This is the major arcana devoted to Marvel’s Avengers. It’s cute, whimsical, with just a dollop of the gratuitous considering some of our Avengers’ modesty is only maintained by a perfectly placed cloth. (See Thor and Captain America ;p) So far all I can find out about this deck is that Julia Cross created it and I can’t find a website for her, not even a deviantart page. It is readily seen all over pinterest and tumblr though. It’s very well done, but given that it’s a fan deck I doubt it would be readily available for purchase without some licensing hiccups. I’ve only seen nine cards so far so I’m not sure it’s complete yet.
While on the topic of Le Grand Tarot Belline (from my AHS Coven entry), it would make a good beautiful deck entry. The original Le Grand Tarot Belline is from the nineteenth century and was designed by Jules Charles Ernest Billaudot who went by the name Magus Edmond. He appears to be a pretty notable cartomancer in his day. The deck was published by Magus Belline after he acquired the rights to the cards from Edmond. The version available these days was printed by the Grimaud Company in 1966. Doing a brief search for available decks they’re mostly to be found on Ebay and will set you back a penny or two. The Tarot Garden site has some information as well as a translation for this deck that is worth reading.
I don’t actually know the proper name of this deck. It’s most popularly identified online (in searches) as the IONA Tarot but I’ve recently learned has a different names. This deck was designed and printed by artist Giona Fiochi and, given its printing process, was produced in really small numbers. It’s a hard deck to find. I stumbled upon this forum conversation about it where a collector managed to purchase a deck as well as show photographs of it. After seeing the actual printed cards it not only makes the tarot collector in me squeal, but the graphic designer as well. I’m not going to be a bad aetherweb person and reprint those photos here, so check out that link! It gives quite a bit of information about the deck as well. The full deck is mature in nature due to nudity and themes, but simply beautiful.
The Paulina Tarot is new to my wish list, though cards from the deck have been bouncing around my pinterest for awhile now. This romantic and whimsical deck by artist Paulina Cassidy is based upon the Rider-Waite-Smith deck with some personal artist influences. And as a wonderful touch for deck collectors each deck comes with a hand painted water-color by the artist! You can purchase this deck here and see Paulina’s portfolio here. Check out her other beautiful decks while you’re there. 🙂
These are a few cards from the Druid Animal Oracle. This is actually my gent’s deck and his area of expertise. I don’t have the companion book to learn it on my own at the moment. It’s incredibly beautiful though. There are thirty-three cards in all, each offering a different animal familiar in Druidism and Celtic mythology. The deck was created by Stephanie Carr-Gomm & Philip Carr-Gomm and illustrated by Will Worthington. It is readily available online in all the usual places. 😉
Oh how wonderfully beautiful and strange this animal themed tarot is. This deck was created by Italian artist Mibramig and published in 2013 by Lo Scarabeo. It’s at the top of my tarot deck wish list. I was already in love and then I found it had a Happy Squirrel card! I might have to make an entry for that to explain, but it’s neat. This deck is readily available for purchase online.