Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz: A Tarot Deck for Everyone

The Simplicity Tarot by Emilie Muniz is this perfect RWS-based deck that checks all the boxes that people keep saying they want in a tarot deck, but don’t seem to notice that Simplicity Tarot exists. It flies quietly, humbly under the radar, and I have no idea why. Muniz’s deck features all the hallmarks for what our community keeps saying we want in a tarot deck, and yet this deck isn’t trending. Why is that?

Here is this deck with imagery that feels classic, timeless, not overly modern, with refinement and elegance, beautiful on any reading table spread, and has the diverse representation so many of us readers today want in a deck.

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Dracxiodos Tarot by Greg Traw

Greg Traw’s Dracxiodos Tarot is a psychedelic experience in a box, and if ever there was a chaos magician’s deck, this would be it. What’s more, Dracxiodos Tarot presents that chaos magician as, first and foremost, the Artist. The only Major Arcanum card to be titled, in fact, is the Artist card, assigned to Key V, classically the Hierophant.

The deck is independently produced and can be purchased directly from the artist here.

Reinforcing that theme of magician/alchemist as artist, the card back design features in the foreground an illustrator’s stylus pen and a paintbrush. Up top, in between the book pages featuring heiroglyphs is a razor blade pen, which I presume was Traw’s instrument of choice in the hand-cut collage works that this deck is comprised of.

By the way, the cards are huge! Above to the right is a deck at standard tarot size, 2.75″ x 4.75″. The Dracxiodos Tarot is 4″ x 8″. It’s a sturdy deck, too, 350 gsm white core cardstock with a matte finish.

The limited edition deck comes in a two-piece keepsake box and has been finished with this really incredible silver holographic edging that reminds me of labradorite.

Card Back Design, first version of Key 0, and First Septenary

Above in the bottom row, second card from the left with the pale green background, is Key V, renamed to The Artist. Every aspect of how this deck has been produced is in itself expressive of where contemporary art is today, and who the contemporary artist is. You’re going to see a global, culturally diverse influence. The point of view and visions are dynamic. Parts of Traw’s work are self-referential. These images are at once full of realism and surrealism.

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The Wise Woman’s Tarot by Flash Silvermoon, Illustrated by Barbara Vogel

Wise Woman’s Tarot is the magnum opus of the late Flash Silvermoon, a well-loved figure in the Goddess movement, Dianic Wiccan, and Priestess of Isis. Vibrant and multicultural, Wise Woman’s Tarot will be well-loved by anyone who embraces the Goddess.

I’m reviewing a 2002 First Edition printing of the deck, which comes with a spiral-bound companion guidebook. While a great beginner and introductory orientation into the world of tarot, the guidebook presents tarot through a specific lens.

Major Arcana, Key 0 & First Septenary

For example, in the section “The Heritage of the Tarot,” in talking about the origins of the tarot, there are references to Atlantis-Lemuria. The Wise Woman’s Tarot deck is “a Pandora’s Box of women’s mysteries,” notes the Introduction, inspired by the deck creator’s spirit guides, who urged her to make this deck.

The deck was completed on August 31, 1999 at 12:00 pm in Florida. I love that the author included that information– you know it’s for astrology reasons, and all of the astrological content in the guidebook confirms the creator’s intent to integrate astrology into this deck.

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Tarocchi di Mantegna (1465) Instructional Engravings

My current tarot obsession is the 50-card Tarocchi di Mantegna (or Mantegna Tarot) from 15th century Italy. These are 50 instructional cards subdivided into five “suits” or groupings:

  1. The Human Condition,
  2. The Muses & Apollo,
  3. The Classical Liberal Arts,
  4. The Cardinal Virtues, and
  5. The Heavenly Spheres.

From 1 to 5 we see the ascent of the human soul. Grouping 1 represents the social hierarchy from the Wretched (Impoverished), Servant, and Artisan to Magistrate, King, and Pope. This is the Earthly realm.

The Nine Muses led by Apollo in Grouping 2 corresponds with the Aristotelian element Fire. The Classical Liberal Arts are the intellections that arise from the element Air. The Cardinal Virtues correspond with Water. And finally, Grouping 5, the Heavenly Spheres, corresponds with Spirit.

Below I’ve arranged the cards in sequential order by their card numbers, and by the five groupings, with 10 cards in each set.

You can click on any of these image files for an enlarged view of the cards.

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Tarot of Chateau Avenieres by Eugene Vinitski and Elsa Khapatnukovski

The Tarot of Chateau Avenieres is a faithful reproduction of the tarot art found on the walls of a chapel at the Chateau Des Avenieres in France. Eugene Vinitski and Elsa Khapatnukovski have produced an absolutely breathtaking deck for those who would like to collect a token of history.

If you appreciate good food and tarot mysticism, then when in southeastern France, visit the Chateau Des Avenieres near the commune of Cruseilles. From the Chateau you get a view of Mont Blanc and then, should you wish to visit Switzerland, it’s just a car ride away.

Source: chateau-des-avenieres.com

The Chateau was built some time between 1907 and 1913 by Mary Wallace Schillito, who commissioned a Hindu designer for the chapel, which was built around 1917. Mary Greer has blog post that shares more about the Chateau’s history, here.

Schillito was deeply fascinated in the esoteric arts and frequently visited the Parisian salons along with Papus and Oswald Wirth. She married a Hindu occultist, Assan Farid Dina.

View inside the tarot chapel

This was also the site where Oswald Wirth completed Le Tarot, des lmagiers du Moyen Age, or better known today as Tarot of the Magicians. In the above snapshot from inside the chapel, left to right you’ll see The Magician card, Death, Justice, and The Fool.

As Greer writes in her Foreword to the 2012 Weiser reprint of Tarot of the Magicians, “The chapel makes it clear by the way its images ascend into the vaulted ceiling, that Wirth’s own deck, rather than being a psychological or fortune-telling one, was created as a moral and initiatory Tarot that describes the apotheosis of human kind.”

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Playful Heart Tarot by Kitten Chops

The Playful Heart Tarot is the sweet and gentle medicine we need right now. Reminiscent of children’s book illustrations, Kitten Chops or Zaara has created a therapeutic tarot deck for all ages.

The cards are printed on 340 gsm black core cardstock with a micro linen finish. That means they shuffle beautifully. There’s enough yield in the cardstock for any type of shuffler, but the micro linen gives your deck resilience.

I’ve found Playful Heart Tarot to be a surprisingly powerful and effective deck in inner child exploration, specifically to help calm anxiety or anger, to rekindle happiness and overturn emotional apathy, and to quiet that self-criticism or self-sabotage.

The deck comes in a rainbow foil tuck box and I love that it’s produced in Taiwan.

The package comes to you sealed with a sticker stamp: “All things wonderful are readily available.” I just love all the attention to detail and extra touches Kitten Chops as thought of when putting this deck together.

A 78-card deck, the Playful Heart Tarot also includes 4 bonus cards, which the free downloadable guidebook explains. You can scroll through the guidebook, provided below, to get a sense of the aesthetics and point of view of the deck.

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America Eclipsed Tarot by Laurent Lewis Colvin and Morpheus Ravenna Anima

The America Eclipsed Tarot by Laurent Lewis Colvin and illustrated by Morpheus Ravenna Anima marks the confluence of esoteric tarot and progressive politics. Birthed in one of my favorite places of all time, Berkeley, this tarot deck alchemizes the energies of social justice to read prophetically about social justice.

Colvin merges Jungian psychology, tarot, astrology, and progressive political values into a truly subversive deck intended to challenge the status quo. The deck art expresses the most pressing social justice issues facing our country in the 21st century.

To start, take a look at Key 19 and Key 20. The Sun card expresses solar energy and how through solar power we can achieve glory and success. Key 20, which in traditional tarot iconography depicts the Rapture, here we still see Archangel Gabriel with the flaming hair, but here we see a banner with a Bernie bird and instead of the traditional coffins, we see voting booths. The ribbon around the angel’s neck is Latin for “Choosing the lesser of two evils still puts the Keys to the kingdom in the devil’s hands.”

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Lions Gateway Tarot by Jessica Leigh Henry

The Lions Gateway Tarot by Jessica Leigh Henry caught my attention pretty much right away. I felt so inexplicably drawn to the art. The line drawings are wood-burned via pyrography and then colored in with oil paints.

Above to the left you’ll see the First Edition version and to the right, the Second Edition. The one out on my reading table and in everyday use is the Second Edition.

There’s an Old World European feel to these cards. Richly colored and elegant, this is a beautiful and also easy-to-read with tarot deck for professional reading settings. If you’re the hired tarot reader at a book fair, writers conference, or an art gallery opening exhibition, this is the deck I’d bring to read with.

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Ciro Marchetti’s Encore Tarot (& New Media Art vs. Old Visual Arts)

If there is one Ciro Marchetti deck to have, it’s the Encore Tarot. This is the deck that fully showcases Marchetti’s talent as an artist, the consistent clarity of his vision, and evinces the magnificence of tarot art, taking what had been possible traditionally to new modern heights.

When future tarot scholars look back at our era, the one deck artist’s name I am very sure will come up time and time again is Ciro Marchetti. His style is so distinct, so unique that it has indelibly trademarked itself in the collective consciousness. I can spot a Marchetti deck by the artwork before knowing he was the creator, just as I (and all of us) can spot a Marchetti wannabe.

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Marchetti’s talent, though admittedly, in my own past I’ve been known to be ambivalent about digital art decks or, more specifically, new media art. But then that’s been a long-raging cold war in the arts community anyway– new media art vs. the old visual arts (or “fine arts”).

Marchetti is the new media artist who changed my mind. New media art is defined as art created by using digital technology, forms of digital art and computer-generated graphics. Old visual fine arts would be drawing by hand, painting, sculpture, in essence what is “hand-crafted.” However, these definitions can get a bit dysfunctional, especially when you get into hand-drawing with a stylus digital pen on a computer pad vs. hand-drawing with a pencil on sketch paper.

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The Mystical Dream Tarot by Janet Piedilato

The Mystical Dream Tarot published by Eddison Books is an unconventional tarot deck that blends shamanic journeying with transpersonal psychology. The deck creator, Janet Piedilato, is a transpersonal psychologist, healthcare consultant, and ordained minister, with doctorate degrees in Biology and Psychology.

Right up front in the Introduction of the guidebook, Piedilato lets us know that this deck will not be following “traditional tarot, where the meanings are merely set for us to memorize and then to place in patchwork interacting spreads.”

Rather, the Mystical Dream Tarot features “dream images” used to “dig more deeply into the personal consciousness, helping each of us find answers which are within our own unique psyche. . . . [Mystical Dream Tarot] does not demand we memorize and follow dogmatically a formalized path chosen for us.”

So here I might respectfully raise the counter that all decks can do just that. I don’t think certain tarot decks demand that you memorize card meanings while others “dig more deeply into the personal consciousness.”

You the tarot reader make the decision on how you want to read the deck. Because I could very well take this Mystical Dream Tarot, pull cards, and then look up each card meaning in the guidebook, one by one, and interpret a spread of cards strictly and narrowly through the printed text. And I could very well take the RWS deck, throw out every RWS card meanings book ever published, and just read it in an improvisational style, digging into my personal consciousness.

The images in this deck are all sourced from Piedilato’s dreams, which she then transcribed through the structure of the tarot deck. However, I’m not entirely sure whether Piedilato herself then created the art based on her dreams or whether Tom Duxbury was the artist commissioned to bring her dream visions to life. Either way, the artwork is beautiful. I love the style of art. It is in perfect harmony with the deck’s premise and point of view.

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