This tarot deck is badass. It’s grunge-inspired, urban fantasy, with a John Constantine vibe, and I’m so here for it. The color palette evokes conjured visions set against the shadows of night. Atmospheric, fraught with its air of mystery and dark grit, Urban Incantations Tarot by Lynyrd-Jym Marquez Narciso is like divination with the storyboard stills of a screenplay.
Narciso was inspired by the late 90s and early 2000s punk, rock, and alternative music scene. His art in Urban Incantations Tarot is rendered in digital mixed media. The style is cinematic, tense with drama– a brooding neo-noir.
The interminable nightfall, city lights, with scenes so evocative that you can hear the patter of rain and distant thunder. The way Narciso accentuates with smoke, flames, and droplets gives you the sense of an enlivened world, lambent and permeable.
We begin with Key 0: The Fool, with a hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy overtone. The Magician is a hippie in a field of grass, arms outstretched to reach the infinite expanse of sky, becoming a conduit for the lemniscate of forces he’s conjured. The High Priestess is framed within a keyhole and gesturing to silence, suggesting secrecy.
The Chariot card here depicts a mob boss, confident and charismatic. The Wheel of Fortune card features the spiraling cycling yin and yang forces around the eight-spoke wheel, and embedded within yin and yang are domino symbols to indicate chance. The Justice card features a modern interpretive dancer. Lady Justice herself peers out from behind the dancer, the sword, and scales, to look straight at us.
Oh, and I love how motif wise The Moon card bears a strong relationship to The High Priestess, just as it does metaphysically in the tarot. Judgement features a jazz musician, we see the power of dance in The World, the incandescent light bulb for the Ace of Wands, and in the Two of Wands, a businessman with a skyscraper backdrop. I love the implied associations between the cell phone in his right hand and the “world wide web” globe in his left.
Narciso’s art is also deeply naturalist, showing the human form in realistic states and familiar settings. The deck is RWS-based and thus will be easy to work with for most tarot readers.
Something about the totality of the imagery on Urban Incantations renders it perfect for everyday readings, from career guidance to better understanding the relationship dynamic between personal life purpose and the world around you.
The symbolism captured in the deck enables it to be psychic through synchronicity– symbols you see in the card match the omens you see in real life.
The court cards are done remarkably well in this deck. Something about how Narciso approached the courts makes them super easy to interpret and identify with.
Here, for instance, the Page of Swords is about “growing up” intellectually, and we see a young girl beginning her discovery into the world of learned knowledge. The Knight of Swords is a mental sportsman playing chess. The Queen of Swords is a professor, one who nourishes on an intellectual level through teaching–perhaps one of my favorite interpretations of the Queen of Swords! And the King of Swords is a scientist-doctor.
In Urban Incantations, all Kings represent an occupational field corresponding with the suit’s element. So the King of Cups is an artist. The King of Pentacles is a banker. And earlier the King of Wands was embodied by the politician. By the way, look at how emotional and expressive the figures are in the suit of Cups!
The Happy Squirrel card! How do tarot enthusiasts not get excited when a contemporary deck includes the Happy Squirrel card! Per the guidebook, this card indicates quiddity, or the intangible, inarticulate thing that makes that thing what it is, it is revealing the very essential nature of the thing.
And so this card is validating your compulsion, where your Will seems to lean toward, albeit irrationally. This is Ananke, the Greek divine personification of force, inevitability, and that which necessarily must happen. “What will be will be.” There’s also a a je ne sais quoi quality here.
If you like Prisma Visions Tarot and the tenor of Raven’s Prophecy, you’re going to love this deck. The nods to sorcery and occulture woven into contemporary everyday life that is somehow both present and futuristic, of our world but beyond it, and seemingly tactile yet virtual imparts a tarot reading experience like none other.
Oh, by the way, you can get an add-on bonus of the Urban Incantations Zodiac Oracle included with the Urban Incantations Lenormand. So to complete your Narcisco collection, you can get three decks in one.
The above photo features the Urban Incantations Tarot, the Urban Incantations Lenormand, and this very cool deck from the art studios of Narcisco, the Gravenchase Lenormand. Learn more about the artist here at Paraluman Studio. To purchase Narcisco’s incredible productions here at Spiorad Webshop.
In the tarot world, Narciso, a Philippines-based artist has been gaining a cult following, and it’s no wonder why– there is a je ne sais quoi, Ananke pull drawing you into his art. It’s immersive and compelling, relatable yet magical.
Narciso has been producing indie tarots since the early 2000s, and the body of work he’s produced deftly showcases his range and versatility as an artist. Each and every one adopts its own unique style, and you can see this in his earlier Tarot de Maria Celia, a TdM deck, compared to this RWS-based Urban Incantations. He was also one of the key contributors to the SEAMS (Southeast Asian Myths and Stories) Tarot, which I’ve reviewed here.
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 these decks from the publisher for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion.
6 thoughts on “The Urban Incantations Tarot by Lynyrd-Jym Marquez Narciso”
the Urban Incantations Tarot is not listed on Spiorad . Where can it be purchased? The kickstarter is over.
Hello! This is Ly, the artist of the deck. It is up on Trzes’ website now (as well as some of my other works). It was supposed to go live there yesterday but he begged for a day’s extension to set everything up properly. Thanks for the interest!
This is Ly, the artist of the deck. Thanks so much for the wonderful review and feedback. You are so very articulate with your words. I really love how you described the deck – it’s what I wanted to say but never really got to string the words properly to do so. I do hope you read with it sometimes and that it reads well for you. The feedback I have been getting from people who have used it has been overwhelmingly positive.
I would also just like to give kudos to you for your review style. It uplifts and encourages. You can get critical when you want but the way you do so is both constructive, and totally non-gimmicky (e.g. being “edgy” or nasty to rake in more interest).
Beautiful work of art. Just curios…is the sax player in the Judgement card Forrest Whittaker (inspired)? Thank you.
I still don’t see where to purchase the deck as it’s not on either website.
I ordered it from https://shop.spiorad.net/urban_inc.htm