Review of the Luna Sol Tarot by Mike Medaglia

If you believe that the particular tarot deck a reader chooses to work the closest with reflects the character, aura, and essence of the reader, then the Luna Sol Tarot says to me that those who gravitate toward this deck are compassionate, loving, soulful, and forward-thinking, with values rooted in pluralism, inclusiveness, and diversity of both culture and beliefs.

Mike Medaglia is a comics illustrator with a Zen Buddhist background, along with being one of the co-founders of Liminal 11, the publisher of the Luna Sol Tarot. You may recognize his work from his previous contributions the Huffington Post and Elephant Journal. Thankfully for us tarot readers, Medaglia has now directed his attentions to creating a tarot deck and Luna Sol Tarot is a modern spiritual wonder.

Click image for enlarged close-up view of Majors.

With a muted color palette and timeless, ethereal quality to the art, this is a deck for meditation, self-reflection, inner child work, and daily wisdom. With his background in comic book illustration, Medaglia expertly tells a story of a thousand words in each picture, every card in this deck magically unraveling a full narrative arc with a beginning, middle, and end of a story that you’ll pick up on effortlessly. There’s such a beautiful Libran harmony and aesthetic balance to Luna Sol.

I consider Luna Sol Tarot to be a great beginner’s deck. It blends different tarot traditions. The pips are illustrated and every Key rich with story. Key 8 is Justice while Key 11 is Strength in the Marseille and Thoth traditions. (The companion guidebook that comes with the deck notes that Luna Sol is ordered in the tradition of the Tarot de Marseille.) Yet the depictions in the Minors and the card meanings provided in the companion booklet are in line with Rider-Waite-Smith. The reason I say there are essences of the Thoth here is because the abstract conceptual patterns and designs in, say, the robe on the Page of Wands (and several of the court cards for that matter), symbolic nods to a multi-verse reality, and use of geometry like in the Six of Wands illustration or Nine of Cups bear a slight echo to the art style of Lady Frieda Harris. There’s also the choice of suit name, Disks, over Coins and Pentacles.

Suit of Pentacles. Click to enlarge.

As a deck to introduce one who has never interacted with the tarot before, Luna Sol artfully draws forth the beginner reader’s creativity, gently guides that reader to trust intuition, and guards that reader against the unease, anxiety, or aversion that those new to the tarot might tend to feel around the mystique and lore of the cards. I would definitely recommend this deck as a starter tarot pack.

Suit of Wands. Click to enlarge.

The deck art took Medaglia five months to complete, which the artist calls one of his biggest artistic and spiritual achievements. While maintaining a general appeal, there are subtle undertones and liminal messages in line with Buddhist tenets, such as pictorial guidance inspiring one to release our attachment to impermanent states (e.g., see the Five of Cups, Seven of Cups, or Six of Swords illustrations for a few examples from the deck), the Wheel of Dharma depicted on Key X: Wheel of Fortune, and the recurring message of inspiration or guidance resonant with the Buddhist Eightfold Path.

[Psst… sorry, I have no idea how I omitted taking photos of the entire suit of Swords! I think I did, but have somehow misplaced or lost that image file. Apologies!]

Suit of Cups. Click to enlarge.

I’m intrigued by the four-eyed depiction on Key XX: Judgement, which reminds me of the mythical depictions of Cangjie, a legendary figure in Chinese mythology who is credited for inventing writing, or learning the art of writing from the gods and then transmitting the sacred knowledge to the people.

The card back design is non-reversible, where the upright edge is indicated by the illustration of day and the bottom edge is indicated by the illustration of night, with the rims of the sun and moon forming a medallion at the center where you see a symbol reminiscent of the yin and yang, depicting the interconnectedness of the dark and the light. It is the binary born out of the luminous void (the white circle depicted at the center of the card).

Also, no reversal card meanings are given in the companion guidebook, so the Luna Sol Tarot feels keyed toward not reading with reversals.

The companion guidebook, or little white booklet (LWB) that comes with the deck is wonderful. The Majors are given considerably more attention than the Minors, with images of the cards for easy reference, full-page entries of card meanings, and a beautiful quote at the bottom of each page, written in first-person, as if the spirit of the card is speaking to you and delivering its oracular message.

The Minors are organized by the four suit and then in numbered order from Ace to Ten, then for the court cards, ordered Page, Knight, King, and then the last entry, Queen–a subtle twist I really like. Keys in the Minors are given a small paragraph of information, yet so well-written that it expertly conveys the essence of each card.

Several beginner tarot spreads are instructed with easy diagrams to follow along and then the booklet concludes with a lovely end page: “In between black and white is not gray. It is all the colours in the world.”

The Luna Sol Tarot is such a likable deck. You can’t help but to like it for its loving, approachable, and heart-centered neutrality in all aspects. There’s a charm to the artwork, conveying a tempered emotional spectrum that inspires calm, a sense of security and grounding, and a compassionate outlook on the circumstances you’ve brought to the tarot for inquiry. It reads beautifully, effortlessly, and manages to feel at once both au fait with the modern consciousness for inclusive spirituality and yet also transcending space-time, pictorializing a world that is both familiar and an ideality. I really love this deck and is now officially on my shortlist of deck recommendation to tarot beginners.

FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received The Luna Sol Tarot from the publisher for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.

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