As with last week’s deck, the McCullough Steampunk Tarot is borderless and poker sized. The cardstock is fairly nice, and I really like the backs – a kind of golden base with cogs and wheels in a rich warm brown.
The cards are once again clearly RWS-inspired. However, they are not quite as clear as the McCullough Tarot. For instance, the Cups suit is mainly under the sea, so that’s pretty obvious, and the Swords cards generally have Swords on them. The Wands and Pentacles cards are not always so immediately obvious, a fact worsened by the darkness of the images. The Wands are all tools of some sort, but these vary from spanners to wooden spoons to cranes. And the Pentacles all have cogs on them, but these are often the joints of robots, a little confusing to see and count.
The traditional side of the cards is clearly apparent in the Justice card here. A female figure with a blindfold stands in a dress of pure white in front of a city in flames. She has six robotic arms, and holds a gavel, a feather, a large and shiny sword, a set of scales, a hangman’s noose, and a sixth item that I’m unsure about.
The Courts are also both traditional and nicely symbolic, making them fairly easy to read. The Pages are all female (which I rather like), with the Knights being male (well, the Knight of Cups shows a weird merhorse, but I think the Knight is the guy who made him). The Page of Swords looks full of immature confidence as she stands atop a rooftop, brandishing her sword. She wears a fun military outfit, with a green jacket, white leggings, black boots, and maroon cuffs. An interesting perspective, from the roof, giving her an overview of things, without perhaps the maturity to recognise what she is seeing…
As for the Aces, these show their suit objects well. In the Ace of Wands we see a long-handled spanner or wrench (I’ll admit I’m not particularly knowledgeable about tools) on a workbench. It is surrounded by blue plans, a spilled oil canister, some screws and other tools. This nicely gets across the idea of having the energy and tools to take action and get things done.
From the Minors I drew the Ten of Wands. It’s an interesting version with a young chap (an apprentice, perhaps) carrying a large, wooden box with nine tools in it. The tenth, the same kind of tool as in the Ace, is falling out. While the box looks unwieldy to carry, it also looks pretty secure, and I wonder how the spanner (or wrench – no, I googled it, and it’s definitely a spanner) got dislodged. Certainly, the lad looks upset about it. While the card still suggests being overburdened and taking on too much, there is a sense of unwillingness or fear at the thought of lightening that load.
Altogether, this is another very interesting tarot from this team. It’s a shame the images are a little dark, though this works better for the soot-infested steampunk world than it did for last week’s deck. I’ve enjoyed my week with this deck, and can imagine using it more.