I missed blogging in July, just too much going on in my life to even focus on anything except what I really had to get done (though I did work on Illumination Tarot behind the scenes). There have been some big changes in my and my husband’s lives, and in addition, July had a number of personal trials. I’m basically exhausted, and currently in a bit of recovery from things. All is okay, I’m just going through some adjustments now.

A few new tarot decks did arrive in the mail the past few weeks…woohoo, new tarot! I’m excited to get to know these decks and review them fully in the coming months.

The Dungeons & Dragons Tarot

selected cards from the Dungeons & Dragons Tarot
Selected cards from the Dungeons & Dragons Tarot Deck
pictured with guidebook and box
card artwork by Fred Gissubel

I guess the one I’m most excited about, or at least most curious about, is the Dungeons & Dragons Tarot, written by Adam Lee and illustrated by Fred Gissubel. I’ve been playing D&D since I was nine or ten (starting around 1979), and I still play when I can. My older brother got me involved after playing at a bookstore just a few blocks from our apartment; the DM at the bookstore said that since I was so young, as well as a girl (gasp), they couldn’t allow me to join the bookstore group so my brother started a group I could be part of that consisted of us, our cousin, and some of my brother’s friends. Our entrance into D&D came just a few years after our mom had died, and I strongly believe that D&D played a role in healing and having a fulfilling childhood despite numerous early traumas. D&D can be empowering, emotionally uplifting, and it can also provide really important social interactions and opportunities for self-expression to kids who are hurting.

So, the tarot deck… It’s officially licensed by Wizards of the Coast, it’s structured with the traditional 78 cards, and it is suggested for independent use as a tarot deck or incorporated into D&D campaigns. Without getting too far into it now, I’ll mention that there are four suits in the Minor Arcana, and each suit is based on one of the character abilities in D&D. These suits are Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. I’m really curious to see how my experience playing D&D influences how I read cards from each suit – for example, if I tend to loosely think of those classes that rely heavily on Intelligence as often being magic users (er, I mean spellcasters, like Wizards), and those that rely heavily on Strength often being in fighting classes, how might that affect my perception of the cards, vs how I would typically read tarot? So, I’m looking forward to checking that out, as well as other points. It looks like the suits might be hard to differentiate on the cards themselves, but I’m not feeling intimidated – I tend to read intuitively, am open to veering from tradition and structure, and am curious to see how the D&D context impacts the tarot in practice. I’m also just psyched to see D&D and tarot combined in a new deck, and looking forward to diving in. In the game I’m currently running, the party will be heading to a huge festival in a new town soon, so perhaps the cards could factor into an encounter… hmmmm…

The Antique Anatomy Tarot

selected cards from the Antique Anatomy Tarot
Selected cards from the Antique Anatomy Tarot
pictured with guidebook and box interior
(I’m highlighting the box interior because I love that it looks just like old family funeral cards)
card artwork by Claire Goodchild

The Antique Anatomy Tarot is one I’d been hearing about for a while; written and illustrated by accomplished artist Claire Goodchild. The deck promises that “oddities and curiosities await you…” and indeed, this is a unique looking, as well as very nicely produced, deck and book set. As someone who enjoys exploring genealogy and falling down rabbit holes of family and local history (and who loves ephemera, old newspaper stories, sepia toned illustration, and many other vintage things in general), I can see this set becoming a favorite. It features vintage anatomical as well as botanical illustrations and is offered with a rather comprehensive looking guidebook. The suits of the Minor Arcana are Elixirs, Rods, Coins, and Blades, and I could note that the numbered cards are pip cards – without fully illustrated scenes. I personally am not displeased by this approach, but I know many do not like working with pip decks. That being said… the pip cards are creatively and quirkily done, and I think, may provide specific and helpful meanings.

Modern Witch Tarot Deck

selected cards from the Modern Witch Tarot Deck
Selected cards from Modern Witch Tarot Deck
pictured with guidebook and box
card artwork by Lisa Sterle

Another deck I’ve been hearing about is the Modern Witch Tarot Deck, by Lisa Sterle. As much as I love traditional and historical tarots, one can’t deny that they are often lacking in meaningful diversity, and they don’t necessarily reflect modern culture in a way that is fully satisfying to many readers. Of course, there have been decks that were created to be more inclusive, and they remain worthy of exploration. But, as times change and people evolve, it’s great to have more choices that align better and feel more accessible to modern readers. The Forward to the deck says, “Here you will find yourself, and those you love, all represented as the complex, powerful beings that you are. Young, middle aged, old; femme, androgynous, masculine; Black, brown, white. You’ll find artists, scholars, and fighters; warnings and celebrations; and most importantly, enlightenment.” That is a big promise, and I am honestly not sure whether everyone would truly see themselves reflected in these cards, but I can say there is more diversity portrayed here than is typical, and the Modern Witch Tarot does look to be a very positive and empowering redesigning of the RWS.

Mystical Medleys: A Vintage Cartoon Tarot

selected cards from Mystical Medleys: a vintage cartoon tarot
Selected cards from Mystical Medleys: A Vintage Cartoon Tarot
pictured with guidebook and box
card artwork by Gary Hall

The fourth and final deck I’m sharing now is one I hadn’t previously heard of, and I’m so far loving it. The Mystical Medleys Tarot is inspired by 1930s iconic cartoons. Recommended for “tarot fans of all varieties, animation and cinema buffs, and lovers of all things vintage!” this deck “brings lighthearted fun and madcap energy to the tarot.” And man, do we need some lighthearted fun and madcap energy these days… Creator Gary Hall, who illustrated the cards and wrote the accompanying guidebook, is an accomplished artist with a background in animation, as well as a passion for vintage rubber hose cartoons of the 1920s and 1930s. He also has a personal interest in tarot and the occult. I enjoy catching those old cartoons when I can, though I admittedly don’t have a deep familiarity with them, so a tarot deck that draws upon them (er, looks and feels just like them – !) is loads of fun and super engaging. And anyone who owns more than a few tarot decks knows that you can get quite meaningful readings from even the most lighthearted of decks. This is a very cool deck with a fantastic energy.

Unique and highly recommended

I would recommend all of these decks as great additions to daily readings and larger collections. They each bring something unique to tarot, and they’re a great example really, of how varied decks can be. Look for my full reviews of each in the coming months, and please let me know if there are other specific decks you’d like to see reviewed. And as always, if you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

To learn more, read user reviews, or purchase any of these decks (thanks for visiting through my links!):

The Dungeons & Dragons Tarot at Amazon

The Antique Anatomy Tarot at Amazon

Modern Witch Tarot Deck at Amazon

Mystical Medleys Tarot at Amazon

I hope you are having a great season, and if you’re in – um, basically anywhere in the US right now – I hope you’re finding ways to stay cool and stay safe. Thanks for reading,

~ Nellie

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