Tarot Card Reviews and Musings: The Shadowscape Tarot
Tarot cards, and all image-based divination and reflection cards, are a wonderful thing. I've been obsessed with them since I was a kid, when my mom bought me my first Rider-Waite deck, the most well known and and influential of the Victorian era tarot decks.
These 78 cards - 22 major arcana and usually symbolizing larger, more general events and concepts, and the minor arcana, with more day-to-day applications and meanings - lay out a path of the human experience that can be applied to a variety of wonderful uses.
I personally use them for reflection and to consider what's going around me both in life and in my head, but they do feel quite magical in their ability to make me consider things from a different angle than I had before.
That's the deep, thoughtful part of my Tarot relationship - the other bit is how utterly obsessed with the art I am, and just want all the pretty pictures. For a thoroughly reasonable price you can have 78+ beautifully crafted pictures which interpret and remix the concepts and images in wonderful and vivid ways.
This need to collect beauty is my flimsy excuse for the couple of dozen decks I own, and how I have many more I hope to obtain. It doesn't help there are several released each month I'd love to get my grubby little hands on. Sometimes they turn into favorite decks, sometimes I just consider them a bunch of pretty pictures on cardboard rectangles, but I've very rarely regretted buying any.
I want to start with my favorite deck, the incomperable Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law.
The majority of my fave decks are art decks. I connect best with decks that are illustrated, with figures, ideally people, that are up-front and center. On the other hand, I can get frustrated with decks that are all beauty and no depth, and am drawn into sets with rich symbolism or a great deal of atmosphere. Color is good, and details are better.
Shadowscapes thus has has everything I want, visually, from a deck - wonderful, evocative art, vivid colors, and tons of small details that pop out and make the deck great for repeat readings and on deepening familiarity. Pui-Mun Law is a master at using deeper colors that pop against the softer tones of much of her backgrounds, and thus these images are rich and tasty, chock full of hues.
I'm going to end on one of my favorite cards, although it's so hard to choose with this deck!
She's an artist, a creature of fire, desire, and creation, and she draws all to her warmth. Let's contrast her with the traditional Rider-Waite version of the Page of Wands:
He's a young man in a desert, alone but inspired and contemplative (as the pages tend to be), and yet I find him rather static, pondering his creativity in a wasteland.
In contrast, the Shadowscapes page is alive and musical, drawing creatures - including the usually active foxes, who prance merrily through the wands suite - to stop and consider art with her.
I find this vigor in all of the cards of this deck, and can't recommend it highly enough. (I also have it as an app, for reading on the go) (Want to oogle beauty? Check out the artist's amazing page!)
If you're into Tarot cards, what are your favorite decks and why? Tell me everything!