Deck Name: The Shakespeare Tarot
Artist: Chris Leech
Deck Structure: The full 78 Cards, including 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana Cards.
Minor Arcana Suits: Cups, Swords, Staffs, Crowns
Dimensions: 3.5″ x 5.75″
Card Stock: n/a
Packaging: Rigid, two piece box
Companion Book: Yes, PDF also available
Strong Images for Strong Messages
This tarot deck uses source art from the Renaissance to celebrate the works and character created by literary legend, William Shakespeare.
Each card of the Major Arcana explore characters featured in Shakespeare’s works or life that had profound influence or had great reach.
What’s fun is that the connections here thoughtfully made and the deck creator writes extensively on the historical significance of the persona for the card they represent.
Leech chooses strong characters from different Shakespeare plays for the Court Cards. Viola from the play Twelfth Night is our Queen of Staffs.
Through the course of the play, we see that Viola is a resourceful character who is bold and courageous. She connects easily with the other characters and always stays true to her own identity. This makes her an excellent choice to represent the Queen of Staffs (Wands).
Challenging your Point-of-View
The Knight of Cups makes reference to Rosalind, which is an interesting choice. Instead of focusing on the “Prince Charming” archetype celebrated by this card, we focus on the point of few of his love interest. A strong, witty woman falling in love with Orlando; it is her emotional connection and trust in him and seeing him through her eyes helps us connect to him.
Creative Flexibility in Representing the Suits
Comparing two different cards from one suit reveals that the representations of the suits are pleasantly not consistent. As compared below, the Four of Staffs has four flutes as long strait objects representing the suit of Staffs.
The Six of Staffs shows 6 columns creating frames of focus in the image.
Warning: Some graphic images
Some cards in the deck show some gory, bloody scenes. The 8 of Swords specifically features Lavinia half-naked, both hands chopped up, and blood running down her raised arms, her mouth and down her breasts. It absolutely explores the physical interpretation of the card (feeling constrained, trapped, not seeing a way out of the situation you are in). The Queen of Cups is also fully nude.