A non-tarot friend sent me the Wandering Star Tarot by Cat Pierce, the mass market version published by Hay House. This is a contemporary arts deck with keywords, and not just one or two per card, but strings of keywords cleverly integrated into each illustration.
What I find the most impressive about the art is the graphic design. Everything works with everything else in terms of design elements– the colors, the way symmetry and tension work together in the compositions, and Pierce’s linework all come together in harmony.
There are 80 cards– the traditional 78 plus a Yes “The Mother Star” card (an absolutely stunning illustration, by the way– I would love to see merch, like journals, notebooks, coffee mugs, etc.w ith this print) and a No “The Creator” card. You’ll see both in the top left corner above. Oh, that Hermit card is absolutely love. So many of these illustrations are incredible. That Key X might very well be one of my favorite Wheel of Fortune cards.
I think of this style as a modern millennial reinterpretation of 1970s hippie aesthetics that totally works, with understated and subtle incorporation of pop art or neo-pop elements.
The cardstock is thick, sturdy, and papery, with an off-white yellowed tint that gives it an aged look, which I love. As you shuffle the cards, there’s that calming ASMR swish, and laying the cards out into a spread gives off a vintage vibe.
I’m also getting a little bit of a Lolita princess girl kawaii fashion aesthetic. There are elements here that remind me of The Starchild Tarot meets Dame Darcy’s art style that will be right up your alley if you’re a fan of The Modern Witch Tarot. Wandering Star Tarot is unlike any of those decks mentioned, and yet somehow in the same family of spiritual energy.
The companion guidebook, which fits inside the box with the cards, is written in second person and speaks directly to you. This deck is perfect for total tarot beginners. Pull cards, ruminate over the keywords, and look up the card meaning in the guidebook. The messages are clear, in plainspeak, and on point. Closing out each card entry is a quotable quote to inspire.
The product description of Pierce’s Wandering Star Tarot as “a compass for seekers and dreams” is spot on. The balance of both beautiful evocative illustrations and text will pave a clear path for your intuition to run. This deck is absolutely true to its word– an inner compass for the spiritual sojourner.
Something else incredible happens when you work with this deck– you hear music. I love how the artwork and the divinatory experience this deck yields you causes your clair-senses to cross-wire in the most wonderful of ways. Upbeat, optimistic, and reassuring are the words that come to mind. There’s a quick tempo to the vibrations- an allegro moderato if I had to be precise.
For those wondering whether this deck nice-washes the tarot, no. It doesn’t. These cards validate the ups and downs of every human emotion, and yet inspires you to believe in yourself, to have faith, and to live for the best of all possible worlds.
The quote for the Nine of Swords comes from Paulo Coelho– “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” The interpretation for the Ten of Swords in the guidebook reads a bit, to me at least, like the Death card. That’s a connection I can totally get behind!
I didn’t take photos of the box because the deck box and I kinda got into a battle. That thing would not open omg. It was like someone glued the top and bottom lids together. I ended up taking a serrated knife to the edges to slice through glue that had somehow sealed the two lids together, which then scraped off the box design.
Someone definitely went overboard with the glue for my copy of the deck because you can smell the glue from three feet away.
The top and bottom lids are too tight a fit, and every time I attempt to open the box to work with the cards, I have to fight with the box just to get it open. I found that the only way to open it is to shake the box vigorously a couple feet above your desktop and eventually you can shake the box apart, though the cards then fall everywhere. Sigh.
Also, just an FYI– if you read Amazon reviews of the Hay House version, there are some gripes about the cards and/or the box design peeling, quality control issues, etc., and in the copy I received, yeah, there was some of that going on. Kinda makes me wish I had hopped on the indie Kickstarter version before it was gone.
However, none of that struggle takes away from the beauty of these cards! And to be fair, it’s very likely just my fluke copy of the deck. As a deck creator, I totally get it– it happens.
I passed every card through sandalwood incense, then placed the deck in a large box along with a dish of myrrh resin incense so that the smoke of the myrrh would get infused into the cards. That totally got rid of the glue smell! So that’s just a little tip to remember if you ever get a deck straight from the factory that is still holding on to chemical-y factory smells.
These cards manage to transport you to a timeless placeless space– the wandering star indeed! A delicate, delightful deck that brings together 1970s era Goddess Movement ethos with the voice of a modern witch that speaks to today’s generations, Cat Pierce’s Wandering Star Tarot is equally great as someone’s first introduction to the tarot and as a seasoned reader’s personal reading deck.