And what the book does offer is fascinating. For instance, those pages I scanned give two or three key elements for each Major, the symbols on the card corners. They add an interesting dimension. For instance, the High Priestess is Woman and The Divine, while the Hierophant is Man and the Divine. The Hanged Man is Birth, The World, and Change, and Judgement is The Heavens, Birth and Cyclical.
This idea of repeating symbols that combine in different ways is also used in the 12 spreads the book offers, which works very well to my mind. These are based on astrology and myth: the Dragon, the Little Bear, Cassiopeia, Pegasus, the Swan, Orion, the Ship and so on. Each gives a description of when to use the spread. For example, the Ship is “For those sailing towards the unknown of a great adventure. For the Captains Courageous who cannot remain in port.” As for the positions, these include Your Fears, You, Past and Present Obstacles, Inner and External Help, Intuition and Your Potential. All told, these spreads are a lot of fun, and I think they will work well.
As for the cards, the images are done in a zentangle style, with a certain elegance and playfulness to them. I am not overwhelmed by the card stock – it is somewhat thicker than regular playing cards, yet manages to feel a little flimsy. Still, they shuffle well, and the reversible grey back is attractive.
The Fool is easily recognisable as he walks along in his long-toed shoes with a dog tripping him up. The sun and the flower add balance to the image, and the birds in the sky speak of freedom. His knapsack carries colourful bundles – what might be in there? The lines are clear – smooth curves, sharp corners – and a Picasso-esque style to the faces.
We see more of that in the Queen of Wands, who holds her wand daintily and rests a hand on a hip, as though in challenge. We can’t see her eyes at all – she may not be the clearest of people, but she’s got attitude and a lot of sass 🙂 Lots of red in her dress, and a large red stone in her wand indicate her element, the fire of her nature. And she is also able to build through her actions: witness her hat…
The Aces are generally held out by a hand with a zentangle sleeve, and match the suit emblems in the rest of the cards of that suit. The Ace of Cups is a slight deviation from this, with no hand holding it and a little city on top of it. However, the card I pulled to represent the Aces is the Ace of Wands, which fits the general pattern to a tee. I like the addition of the little dragon winding around the staff of the wand, the butterfly fluttering around it, and leaves floating about instead of the traditional yods of the RWS.
And aren’t the dragons on the Disks cards cute! They bite their tails and swing around, and come in these small or large versions. As you can see, the cards aren’t all fully reversible, though many are. I like the fact that these non-illustrated pips still give some cues for reading. Here in the Nine of Disks (Pentacles) for instance, I see that building things up little by little, with patience, brings a big harvest!
Altogether, this is a very nicely put together kit and a lovely deck, so long as you are happy to read with non-illustrated pips. The cards are decidedly funky, with a lot of character, and the book is a fun addendum, with great spreads.