Sure, the artwork is beautiful, but I wasn’t prepared for how fond I’d be of this deck. While it was designed for those who are more rational-based, psychology-oriented readers, this deck also appeals to those open to beginner steps of exploration into their own spirituality.
The Bright Future Tarot is a deck hand-drawn and painted by clairvoyant artist Saskia Lee. “I was inspired to create this deck through a Spirit message from my father,” writes Lee. “And in a world where so much is digital, I wanted to create something unique and easy to connect with. Using acrylics and my dad’s old paint brushes, each card is hand drawn and painted by me, at my studio near London.”
She has achieved exactly that. This post is going to be a review of the keywords edition. The standard version is the one without keywords. You can select your option when you go to purchase here on Lee’s Etsy shop.
Lee notes that her decks are printed and made in the UK by a London-based company that has won awards for their carbon neutral production methods. What’s more, the quality is luxe, at 400 gsm, with a satin-like matte finish.
Key 21: The Universe card is incredible. I love the kundalini awakening reference here, flower of life, and the four constellations. In an earlier photograph you’ll have seen how Key 8 here is Justice, with keywords “karma/legal system” and Key 11 is Strength, “courage/self-control.”
Lee’s illustrations blend classical tarot, pagan, and mystical symbolism with modern-day scenes. So the art will appeal to those who want a deck to feel relevant to the present day. This approach to illustrating the tarot, where there are stronger, clearer lines of direct sympathy, makes sense, given that Lee herself is a clairvoyant and, as she has said, reads tarot by accessing her intuition and “feeling the energy of the cards.”
To strengthen that direct sympathy, should that be your approach to tarot reading, having artwork and imagery that feels relevant to your lived experience matters. And that is what the Bright Future Tarot strives for. There is a familiarity to the modern scenes depicted, the people, their personalities, and their worlds. That Queen of Swords in bold pinstripes strutting down a black and white checkered runway with a sword, paired with that single keyword– Independent– conveys its message to you so effortlessly in a tarot reading.
You can almost see projections and refractions of pop culture in these scenes. You look at the artwork and it evokes a feeling. Then you scan down for the keywords, return to the imagery, and it all comes together, downloaded into your thoughts as a cohesive divinatory message, and yet also serves as a talking point in forms of psychotherapy.
That Ten of Swords– wow. I don’t think I’ve seen such a creative take on the Ten of Swords in a long while. The nuances of how a reader distinguishes the Three of Swords and the Ten of Swords intrigues me, and here, note the keywords for the Three of Swords — Arguments/Anger vs. the keywords for the Ten of Swords– Endings/Grief. The secondary keyword associated with the Eight of Swords really intrigues me, by the way– Buried Trauma.
When it comes to tarot decks with keywords, you’ll often hear seasoned readers talk down on, dismiss, or simply express a dislike for them. Me? I like options. =) I like to have a set of decks without keywords that I can choose to read from and also, in addition, a set of decks with keywords. Tarot decks with keywords aren’t training wheel decks, and heck, even if they were, so what? What’s wrong with using a training wheel deck?
Plus, again, if a keywords deck would be too prescriptive for you, then there’s the Standard Edition of the Bright Future Tarot.
What happens if I don’t agree with certain keywords on the cards? You’ll often hear people talk about not agreeing with attributed keywords. I’ve tried to condition myself out of filtering everything through my own personal, subjective framework of right and wrong, good and bad. Instead, I try to enter the universe of that artist or creator, explore that universe as it is, and harmonize wherever I am with wherever that universe is.
When I approach a divination deck in that way, issues of whether I agree with keywords don’t come up. The deck itself is always the Sage. When I am reading with that particular deck in that moment, I am the Observer.
Lee’s art style is expressive, conveying personality and emotion in a masterful way. Take the Seven of Cups for instance. I can’t see the mermaid’s face, and yet I feel what she’s feeling. I get a strong sense for who she is, even from this simple capture of a moment, and from behind her no less.
You’ll see similar instances like that in other cards, where part or most of the facial features are concealed, and yet a strong, defined sense of personality and emotion is nonetheless conveyed. For example, see the below Five of Cups. “Atmosphere” is the keyword. That also happens to describe Lee’s art– she is a master at evoking atmosphere.
I didn’t anticipate how much I would end up falling in love with this deck. I love how it operates as prompts for Jungian keywords association exercises. When you pull a card, even in a multi-card spread, note the question or issue you intended that card to answer, read the keywords, and observe your own immediate emotional and physical response. I find that when my immediate emotional response is that I don’t like what I pulled, it’s not because that message is wrong; it’s because that message is compelling me to face something I still don’t really want to face.
Lee’s artwork is absolutely incredible and versatile for running psychological projection exercises. They enable an easy connection of psychic sympathy. Meaning yes, these cards are very easy to read with. I love how you look at the scene in the card and can link it to a similar situation going on in your life. You can see the real world as you know it, as you live it, in these scenes.
My current favorite way to use the Bright Future Tarot is single card draws for what I call taking my psychic temperature and pressure, to assess the current state of my qi (life force). It’s kind of like the way a nurse starts a health screen by taking your temperature and blood pressure.
I settle into stillness, shuffle the cards, concentrate on my breathing, and set the intention to take my psychic temperature and pressure. That’s what I say to myself as I continue to shuffle. Then when I feel ready, I pull a card. That card gives me a reading on the current state of my qi, or personal energy. What is it I’m putting out into the world at the moment? That’s how I read that single card draw.
If you adopt a more psychological approach to tarot readings, this would be a great working deck for the modern professional reader. It’s appealing to clients. It’s effortless to read with and effortless for clients to connect to. Something else that’s been growing in popularity as an offshoot of the traditional card reading is integrative spiritual or life coaching, and many such life coaches use tarot or oracle cards. The Bright Future Tarot would be perfect in that setting.
I love that Lee has created a companion workbook that you can get for working with the deck. Even with no prior background in tarot reading, you can work with the keywords on the cards and your own emotional responses to the imagery to inspire reflective and deeper thought into a situation you’re struggling with. With some background in tarot, Lee’s creative, fresh, and modern interpretations of the traditional card meanings will endear you to the Bright Future Tarot.
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.