Thomas of Hermit’s Mirror is the author of Tarot Tableau: The Fool’s Journey and Card Journaling Therapy, which I’ve covered in a Sightsee the Tarot video before here. This is a pocket size tarot deck, at 2.2″ x 3.5″, or just 0.2″ wider than a standard business card that you tuck into your wallet. Thus making Lifeline Tarot a a thoughtful, portable RWS deck with a contemporary minimalist art style. It’s perfect deck for large-spread readings, such as Thomas’s signature reading method, the Tarot Tableau.
The original 1909 illustrations by Pamela Colman Smith on A. E. Waite’s Rider Tarot deck is redrawn as a single, continuous line. Was it Picasso who made one-line drawings famous or is he just one of the famous examples of it? Either way, I’m loving a single line ink sketch tarot deck!
While certainly versatile for any type of tarot reading purpose, I find Lifeline Tarot to be best suited for psychology or therapy-based forms of readings, perhaps because its aesthetics reminds me so much of projective psychoanalytic tools like inkblot or Rorschach tests.
The Key titles, for instance, are in a fill-in-the-blank style, so The Empress card is written as _MPR_SS, and The Chariot card as CH_R__T, etc. That sets the tone for the card reading style Lifeline Tarot encourages: the lines and forms here give you the essential theme and you fill in the rest, you complete the spelling of the word with knowledge you bring to the table.
What I admire about minimalist art styles such as the single-line ink sketch is the level of precision it demands. For this line drawing technique, you’ve really got to know what you’re doing. Your intuition as an artist has to be on point.
Thomas has done a stunning job capturing the essence of Pamela Colman Smith’s original illustrations with a single organic line. This particular technique, where you choose your starting point, and then draw an outline of what you see without ever letting the pen tip leave the paper, is not easy. At all.
One of the deck’s bonus cards (will show later) is Labyrinth, which really sums up the artistic process here: it’s almost like treating the original art you’re inspired by as a labyrinth and charting your path through it to attain important insights.
This is also a great beginner’s or learner’s deck for the RWS. With a permanent black marker, you can write in your own keywords. The outline on each card gives you exactly enough form to reinforce memory recall. You can then apply that tarot reading knowledge you’ve built from working with this deck to other RWS-based decks.
For seasoned tarot readers, this is a fun, travel-size deck to throw into your bag and take on the go. The cardstock is a linen finish with absolutely delicious slip. You can fan the cards out and shuffle them with ease. They don’t stick to each other at all. This is the kind of deck that would be wonderful and versatile to take to a tarot conference.
The illustrations have just enough essential elements for you to identify the RWS card while broadening the deck’s appeal, because it’s no longer limiting in its depictions of race or gender.
You can read more about Thomas, the deck’s creator and artist here. He’s quite the up and coming tarot reader, and lately I’ve been hearing his name everywhere. He’s also got a Lifeline Lenoracle, which looks really cool! You can find him on Instagram @hermitsmirror where he features live chats with different tarot readers, deck creators, and authors from around the world. Worth checking out–as an interviewer, he’s great at bringing out authenticity in every one of the big names he interviews.
The Lifeline Tarot comes with two bonus cards, Labyrinth and Muse. I interpret appearance of the Muse card as my Holy Guardian Angel and when the Labyrinth card appears, I read it as a divine omen that the matter I’m reading about, or the situation I’m currently in has much deeper spiritual implications, and relates to me finding my purpose.
If you enjoy The Black Tarot: Lines of Intuition or the Midnight Reverie Tarot, then Lifeline Tarot is right up your alley. Thomas of Hermit’s Mirror is an influential voice in the tarot community who is definitely one to watch.
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 this deck from its creator for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.