Throughout my girlhood I was a huge, huge fan of Sailor Moon. In a past posting, I shared how I named my violin Darien/Tuxedo Mask. Darien during practice, Tuxedo Mask during performances. And one day a friend mentioned that there exists a thing called the Sailor Moon Tarot. Predictably, I bought it within minutes of learning of its existence.
Although I’ve had this deck for years, I never got around to doing a write-up about it. Finally here it is: the Sailor Moon Crystal Tarot, Major Arcana.
The card backs are… well… because it’s a Sailor Moon tarot deck, it’s forgiven.
Is that Toei Animation sticker geniune or fake? Argh. The only way for me to verify for sure (maybe? allegedly.) is to peel that sticker off and examine its adhesive backing to see if it bears the official watermark. But I don’t want to do that because this is a collector’s deck for me. I really don’t want to tamper with it more than I have to.
EDIT: Apparently, it’s not a fake. Toei Animation did officially license a Sailor Moon Crystal 25th Anniversary Celebration limited edition run of tarot cards, Majors only, published out of Taiwan. That’s why all the text on here is in Traditional Chinese, rather than Simplified Chinese. Ahhh.
This deck is Golden Dawn astrology-based, sorta… -ish… The manga and its cartoon adaptation, if I may say so, has always been weirdly occult. Like if you see it, you see it, and you won’t ever be able to unsee it.
So here, for instance, in modern astrology The Fool card is often associated with Uranus. So Sailor Uranus is featured on Key 0: The Fool card. By the way, about Sailor Uranus, if you aren’t a Sailor Moon fan. In her civilian disguise, she wears masculine presenting clothes. And in her initial storylines, there are dialogue exchanges to the tune of, “What a handsome boy,” etc. Later on in the narrative, it’s revealed that Sailor Uranus is transgender. By the way, the lore around Sailor Uranus was set way back in the 1990s. So none of this is a recent thing.
Continuing on, Key 1: The Magician corresponds with Mercury. Here, The Magician is represented by Sailor Mercury. Sailor Moon is, well, the Moon, and so she’s The High Priestess. Key 3: The Empress corresponds with Venus, and there you see Sailor Venus. And on it goes.
Sailor Neptune, who is Sailor Uranus’s lover, is featured on The Hierophant card. Sailor Neptune’s talisman is a mirror that always reveals the truth. She has psychic abilities, powers to control the oceans, and in her civilian disguise is a violinist. The correspondence to The Hierophant card, Taurus, and/or the earthly energies in the tarot Key 5 is an interesting one.
Sailor Jupiter appears on both the Strength card and the Wheel of Fortune. Astrologically, the Key 10: Wheel of Fortune, corresponding with Jupiter, makes sense. I think for the Strength card, the creator is going for personality associations. She’s best known for her inner strength that serves as a spiritual compass for the group.
For zodiac cards, rather than go with planetary rulership inspirations, it looks like the creator is going with classic astrological interpretations crossing over into the tarot. So, for example, Sailor Venus is on The Lovers card, going on the love and romance contemporary interpretation for Key 6.
I’ve always been partial to Sailor Mars from the cartoon show. This is probably because she’d be the easiest of the sailor scouts for me to cosplay as.
She is of course featured in The Tower card (per GD astrology correspondences, that’s linked to Mars), but she’s also on The Chariot card. Hmm. Interesting choice. In the manga, Sailor Mars is the serious one. She’s driven, high-achieving, self-motivated, disciplined, and a character contrast to Sailor Moon. Which is interesting on The Chariot card, where those qualities are encoded into Key 7, and yet astrologically, this is Cancer, whose rulership is the Moon.
In the English-language cartoon adaptation, Sailor Mars is hot-tempered, always getting mad at Sailor Moon for not taking serious matters more seriously, and if I recall correctly, there was also a plot line at some point involving a love triangle between Sailor Mars, Sailor Moon, and Tuxedo Mask. (Tuxedo Mask here as The Emperor, associated with the zodiac sign Aries, ruled by Mars…. Like whut. I told you, once you see the connections, you can’t unsee it.)
Key 13: The Death (I love that by the way; rather than just the key title “Death,” it’s “The Death”) card features Sailor Saturn, Angel of Silence. No really, that’s the sailor scout’s title– Angel of Silence. The Death card corresponds with the fixed sign Scorpio, which corresponds to one of the four pillars, To Keep Silence.
In addition to silence, Sailor Saturn’s powers are associated with The Void, with destruction and ruin, death of course (hence Key 13: The Death card feature), and reincarnation. As a sailor scout, via her magical staff, she has the power to destroy planets and reset planetary orbits.
By the way, you see the two plaque things on the left and right sides of every card? They not only feature the planetary glyph pairs for the sailor scouts that are related, but also feature each sailor scout’s magical talismans. So for example, both Keys 13 and 14 feature the planetary glyphs for Saturn and Pluto, with Sailor Saturn on The Death card and Sailor Pluto on Temperance. And in the cards featuring either Sailor Uranus or Sailor Neptune, both planetary glyphs appear in the talismanic plaques, since the two are a couple.
Sailor Pluto, for those who know Sailor Moon lore, has, in my opinion, some of the cooler powers and attributes. She’s associated with the underworld and darkness, but as one of the sailor scouts who fights evil, she’s good. She’s also the guardian at the Door of Time and Space, and controls both space and time. The red garnet on her magical scepter thingie is a reference to underworld pomegranates.
The Devil card is Sailor Moon’s nemesis, Queen Nehelenia. Then Sailor Mars appears again, now on The Tower card, for Mars.
You know how the Sacred Seven in traditional astrology are the seven Olympic spirits, and in Gnostic cosmology, are angelic beings with special powers? Well. Yeah. That’s the sailor scouts! Though instead of seven you’ve got the nine for our solar system. Here for Key 17: The Star card, the whole cast of scouts is pictured in a group shot. I love it.
Sailor Mini Moon, future daughter of Sailor Moon and Tuxedo Mask, who travels back in time through the Door of Time and Space via Sailor Pluto, is Key 19: The Sun. She has a savior-messiah-esque role (though at one point becomes the Wicked Lady, but I digress).
Sailor Pluto is appears again on Key 20: The Judgement card. In Biblical lore, the messiah returns on Judgment Day. Sailor Pluto is the one who gives Sailor Mini Moon a key for traveling back in time. Oh, yeah, Sailor Pluto, with powers over space and time travel, does so via keys.
And finally, Sailor Saturn also reappears for Key 21: The World card (corresponding astrologically to Saturn).
The 22 Majors only deck comes with a bifold pamphlet that gives you the astrological correspondences and tarot keywords. By the way, there is a copyright notice at the very bottom attributed to Naoko Takeuchi, who is the manga artist behind Sailor Moon.
Personally, I don’t do tarot readings with this deck and actually have yet to do a single reading with these cards. Doh. But I mean. I didn’t buy it for the purpose of readings. I bought it because Sailor Moon.
As for production values, it’s a matte finish over what’s got to be at least 350 gsm cardstock (that’s the same gsm I went with for producing the SKT decks), or maybe even higher, as it seems to feel sturdier than the SKT/350 gsm. Might just be the core or something that’s giving it that extra tactile perception of sturdiness.
The card size is 3.0″ x 7.0″. Compare that to standard tarot production size (i.e., 2.75″ x 4.75″, or 70 mm x 120 mm). They’ve got the feel and craftsmanship of some of those Italian art studio quality artisanal productions of historic Marseille decks.
The design and thought behind this deck is surprisingly impressive. I say “surprisingly” because its target market would have been perfectly happy with a fun and pretty art deck. Going that extra step with the tarot and astrology correspondences is just amazing.