Sometimes people complain about ‘cute animal decks’, or any kind of themed deck. However, themed does not necessarily equal superficial or unreadable. For example, the Tarot of the Magical Forest (Lo Scarabeo, 2008) has plenty of depth, symbolism and interest, and is very readable.
On the down side, it is one of Lo Scarabeo’s old-style multilingual titles decks, which bothers some people. And the weird googly eyes of these animals dressed as people may put others off. For myself, I find it humorous and sweet, and as the reading on Monday showed, it works perfectly well for serious readings, too.
The Fool jumped out as the Major for this overview. A pig in a bright, red cloak stands at the top of a rocky precipice. At its heels is a little dog on wheels. The pig’s snout seems almost to touch the sun, and there appears to be nowhere for it to go from here but to launch out into the unknown carrying nothing but a little bundle on a stick, tied up in a yellow scarf.
This speaks eloquently of spontaneity, of starting out on a new adventure and being open to the joy of the unknown. I like the little pull along dog, without a string. This is, after all, our own conscience or rational self that keeps us company and tries to warn us of potential dangers. Yet, you mustn’t let worries stop you from trying new things, from approaching life with a beginner’s mind.
All of the Majors hold animals drawn in this big-eyed style. However, there is a great variety of different animals shown, as opposed to the Minors where each suit features a particular creature.
The Courts are interesting, too. Simpler than RWS images, perhaps, but not without symbolism. The Knights are all on some kind of steed. In the case of this Knight of Wands, the frog seems to ride a large lizard, echoing the salamanders found on the clothing of the RWS Knight. The landscape and posture also suggest warmth and dynamism, so this card definitely works.
The Aces are very simple and traditional. The only thing that really distinguishes them is that in each the ‘hand’ holding the suit object is that of the type of animal that represents each suit. This is a quirky aspect of the deck, with frogs for Wands, rabbits for Cups, cats for Swords and foxes for Pentacles. Make of that what you will…
In the Five of Swords, therefore, we see a big-headed googly-eyed cat in boots and a beret (?). The landscape is interesting: a stone walkway along the side of the ocean. The character at the front holds three swords, with another two at their feet. In the distance, we see two hunched, cloaked figures trudging away, defeated. Very traditional, maybe, though the ‘victor’ doesn’t look particularly happy. In fact, you could even interpret it as someone left to tidy up after others…
I threw in a couple of images from the suits of Cups and Pentacles, so you could see the rabbits and foxes. Once again, traditional but with added touches that could change the interpretation, if you want to let your intuition fly. I notice that the figures in the Three of Cups all wear white robes, which could suggest more a ‘ritual’ than a dance of friendship and celebration. Though of course many rituals are done with friends, and to celebrate something. Still, the emphasis feels different, to me. As for the Six of Pentacles, I find it interesting that we cannot see the faces (or eyes) of the two supplicant figures. I think it makes it feel more like we are the figure showing generosity than those on the receiving end…
Altogether, I really enjoy this deck and find it a very reliable working deck, too. One to consider if reading for anyone with delicate sensibilities, perhaps, or for children, or simply the young at heart 😀