In this series, I present and review 3 up-and-coming or newly released tarot decks. Through the ease of access to crowdfunding campaigns, many artist are able to share with the world their unique skills and talents. These are their expressions through Tarot, and we celebrate with them their deck releases!
The Raziel Tarot by Rachel Pollack and Robert Place
This deck beautifully integrates Jewish biblical characters as the archtypes in the Major Arcana. While the Authors aspire to create an 80 card deck, the Major Arcana is the first part to be released as a deluxe edition, and I eagerly await to see the rest.
The deck combines Jewish esoteric themes and imagery with Tarot systems and traditions a that any student of the Rider-Waite would recognize. They added two cards at the end, with XXII Tree of Knowledge and XXIII Tree of Life with straightforward interpretations fitting in nicely with the rest of the deck.
The deck explores exile, separation and reunion, with vibrant and rich colors.
An angel named Raziel (secret of God) gave a book of secrets that tells of the past and the future to Adam and Eve, which was passed down in the centuries. The story is depicted in card VI The Lovers as the angel presents the book to the couple in the Garden of Eden.
The breastplate centered in the X – Wheel of Fortune is a divination tool, and the four angels of the wind circle around it. The breastplate has 12 different colored stones, each stone representing one of the 12 tribes of Israel.
XVI The Tower, instead of depicting a solitary tall tower being ravaged by water, fire and lightning, is replaced by the event of the destruction of the Temple. Understanding the significance of the Temple, the implications of it burning down, and what happens after fits perfectly with the destructive chaotic nature of the divnatory meaning of the Tower.
I really appreciate the feeling of movement in this deck. Readers that use movement in their readings will appriate the energy created by fire, wind and air in this deck. The authors discuss the deck at length, and discuss different biblical characters they hope to incorporate while creating the deck.
The goal on Indiegogo has recently been archived, but you can still get you hands on the deluxe edition.
The Stretch Tarot – J.E. Stretch
This is a self-published, mixed-media tarot deck. The details jump off of the “page”. The collage style adds layers and depth, and the vintage images give an interesting sense of nostalgia.
Stretch plays with color and texture in the borders of the card to reflect the elemental associations on the pip cards. Each card has one keyword at the top center. Instead of it referencing what the card means, it serves as a great starting point for contemplation and meditative exercises. My only concern is that the keyword may not apply to the reverse meanings of the cards, and this might confuse a reader who isn’t
While each card offers so much contrast, I really appreciate how each element has it’s own opportunity to be isolated and absorbed on it’s own.
The cards with the details similar to those of the Queen of Wands, are particularly special. One could almost touch the surface and feel the ridges and contours of all the delicate features of the wands, the buttons etc. Many cards are black & white, and then use color to highlight or inspire certain reactions and feelings (example, the Page of Wands above).
The artist has expressed interest in creating more decks in the future, and I look forward to seeing what Stretch comes up with!
Heart & Hands Tarot Deck – Liz Blackbird
This black and white deck, but it is certainly not boring. All of the cards are fully illustrated with intricate line drawings, embracing the traditional figures and symbolism of the Rider-Waite tarot deck. My favorite part? The modern touches, like replacing the Page with a more obviously female Princess title.
Blackbird elegantly uses straight lines, curves and white space to build and release energy in her illustrations. Borders are not limitations, and musings are allowed their own space. The movement created with the ship coming out of the frame in the 3 of Wands is a great example of this. The impression this card gives of movement and action contrasts with the way the same technique is used in the Ace of Wands to show almost a chaotic, creative realm.
The artist recently successfully ended her crowdfunding campaigns but there aren’t many resources online for this deck. I expect this to change shortly!
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