The Tarot of the Sidhe (Schiffer, 2010) is my favourite faery deck, bar none. The artwork is primal rather than pretty, and all the more powerful for it. As for the companion booklet, it is small but beautiful. It gives verses for every Minor card, as well as artist’s notes and deeper meanings for the Majors.
The suits have been renamed Warrior (Wands), Dancer (Cups), Dreamer (Swords) and Maker (Pentacles). The numbering has also been altered. The Aces have become The Warrior, the Dancer and so forth. The cards are titled Dancer Six, Maker Nine, etcetera.
Some of the Majors have also been renamed, and Strength is XI, while Justice is VIII. In terms of their meaning, the cards are still linked to traditional RWS concepts, but sometimes with a different, pagan slant. For instance, the Devil becomes Pan. And while negative interpretations around materialism and addictions are still possible, more life-affirming meanings are also available. The Sidhe woman gives herself over to passion, reveling in the physicality, making this a sacred act of devotion to a primal energy.
As for the Courts, they are Princess, Prince, Queen and King. They also have subtitles, each offering a ‘Gift’. So, the Maker Princess (Page of Pentacles) is the Gift of Creativity. We see this quite clearly in her full belly and the green of her hair. I love how she is shown in a crystalline cave, looking out across green meadows. She is incubating and attuning her creativity before it emerges into the world, yet emerge it most certainly will!
The Aces are the epitome of their suit, and also clearly show the elemental energy they are connected with. So The Maker is subtitled Earth. This playful being is a mere seedling next to the huge trees towering in the background, yet what a lot of potential there is here. From the Maker’s head, a forest of green branches spring. And between the Maker’s hands, held in a channelling mudra, glows the energy of a star!
Like the Courts, all the Minors have a catchphrase, and these are descriptive and poetic. For instance, Dancer Five (5 of Cups) is captioned ‘Where Loss Resides’, Dreamer Eight (8 of Swords) is ‘Web of Mirrors’ and Warrior Eight (8 of Wands) is ‘Dragonflight’.
Here, the Dreamer Four (4 of Swords) is quite simply ‘Restoration’. As with the more traditional card, there is a sense of taking a time out, from which we will emerge renewed and energised. Rather than this happening in a church, though, this Sidhe raises their arms, drawing in the blessings of the sun as they rise above clouds of confusion. Their meditation or prayer raises them above the peaks of the material world, truly uplifted.
While in no way a RWS clone, the common underpinnings make this deck fairly easy to start reading with straight out of the box. And time spent getting to know it will be richly rewarded. An added bonus is the meditation potential of these cards. Emily Carding incorporated the Great Glyph of the Sidhe into each card of the Majors. This symbol is a perfect portal for entering into the world of the Sidhe, encouraging a deep, personal experience of the cards.