Tarot in Wonderland by Barbara Moore and Eugene Smith

Tarot in Wonderland is a whimsical, playful deck that nudges you to not take yourself or the situation you’re in too seriously, and yet when times have truly gotten rough, it’s going to be there for you to offer insightful advice. It’s that close friend of yours who’s a jokester most of the time and kind of a goof-off but if you’re crying and hurting for real, that friend gets real, too, and is there for you 300%. That’s Tarot in Wonderland.

I had the great honor of attending the launch party for Tarot in Wonderland and heard the legendary Barbara Moore speak about her deck. I shared a couple of photos on Instagram if you want to check it out.

Now let’s talk about the deck. Thank you to Llewellyn for finally upping their packaging production. The magnetic flap, the hard casing, the cut-out nook for your deck, ribbon, and the book that fits perfectly up top is by leaps and bounds better than what Llewellyn deck packaging used to be. See here, for example, for the Mystical Cats Tarot. or here, near the end, when I again gripe about the product packaging for the Llewellyn Tarot.

Barbara dedicated the deck to Hermes, messenger of the gods and the divine trickster. Due to many humorous mishaps along the way, the deck took four years to bring to fruition…probably thanks to Hermes. But it was all worth it in the end because the length of time devoted to this deck means a lot of close attention to detail went into it.

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The Lost Tarot (Majors Only) by Hans Bauer

The Lost Tarot is a self-published Majors only tarot deck brought to us from the brilliant mind of Hans Bauer. The deck art is premised on a fictionalized back story of an English merchant, William Bradford, who purchased from Leonardo da Vinci an optical device (i.e., the very first camera, prior to the invention of the camera as we know it today) that da Vinci had invented, essentially a camera obscura device. The back story of the deck continues: Bradford took a series of photographs with the device and, in 1994, a stack of Bradford’s medieval photographs were found in Nottingham, England. Restoration efforts commenced and now we’ve got an incredible tarot deck for the 21st century based on those medieval photographs taken with Leonarda da Vinci’s optical device.

Weaving the back story for The Lost Tarot. Click on image for link to image source. Deck descriptions and marketing copy put forth the narrative: the “Circa 1517” image seen above is purportedly the original photograph as taken by Bradford with the camera device he purchased from Leonardo da Vinci. To the right, “2017 Recreation,” is the digitally corrected version used for the modern tarot deck. I love it.

The premise is charming, innovative, well thought out, with brilliant world-building as you’d expect from a renowned screenwriter like Hans Bauer of Anaconda (1997) fame (which starred Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, and Owen Wilson, among others) and Titan A.E. (2000).

To execute that premise, Bauer took photographs at various Renaissance faires in Texas and also staged some at his studio, mimicking a photography style as best as he could conceive of it that might have been taken by a prototype camera from 1517, centuries before the actual invention of the camera in 1839. Thus, the photographic art is expressed with a distressed and antique tone. The purpose, the painstaking attention to every detail in the execution of this Majors only tarot deck, and then finally, the cards themselves as a working tarot deck excite me.

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The Game of Thrones Tarot (Oh Yeah….)

The Game of Thrones Tarot. If you watch GoT and you’re a tarot reader, I’d be shocked if you didn’t get this deck. So many of us were salivating while waiting for it after the first preview photos surfaced on the interwebs. Plus, the production quality is spectacular for the price.

Click for enlarged view.

I love that the creators went in the direction of hand-drawn (or at least it has the appearance of hand-drawn) illustrations rather than photography. Had this been a photography deck, I wouldn’t have bought it. I love the correspondences here, meaning which characters are assigned to which keys.

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Peace Oracle by Toni Salerno and Leela Williams

The Peace Oracle by Toni Salerno and Leela Williams is a 45-card oracle deck premised on divinatory guidance to help us achieve both inner and outer peace. It’s about helping you through life’s challenges. When you’re feeling most stuck, the Peace Oracle is intended to guide you through overcoming those obstacles.

The iconic art style of Toni Salerno is vibrant contemporary, neo-impressionistic fantasy. That’s present throughout the Peace Oracle, which I think works perfectly with the modern spiritual point of view expressed in the deck.

Try out an oracle card reading with the deck to see if it resonates with you. Start by defining a challenge you currently face, that you’d like some divinatory guidance on how to overcome. Then select one of the cards above: left, center, or right. The card drawn will reveal a critical key or factor you need to consider to help you overcome your challenge. Now let’s proceed with the deck review.

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Alchemystic Woodcut Tarot by D. W. Prudence

The AlcheMystic Woodcut Tarot: Secret Wisdom of the Ages by D. W. Prudence and published by Red Feather, an imprint of Schiffer Publishing, has just raised the bar for tarot deck creators everywhere. Take note, people. Your new aspiration is to meet the gold standard of an occult tarot deck that AlcheMystic has just set.

The deck seeks to document the efforts of alchemists, magi, and mystics past, and their pursuit of the Great Work. In turn, it’s designed to help the occult practitioners of today in their pursuits. AlcheMystic is going to appeal to ceremonial magicians, those who study Western occultism, and who synthesize different correspondence systems and esoteric principles together when reading tarot (e.g., you are going to examine a card through astrological, Kabbalistic, and Hermetic considerations when you interpret it in a reading). It’s designed for tarot readers who possess an active initiative to dive to the darkest waters of what the tarot can offer. Yet I believe the wealth and layering of symbolism on each card enables it for scrying by intuitive readers as well.

We have to remember the roots that the New Age spirituality movement, including Wicca, grew from: the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn alongside the Catholic Church, and beyond that, Hermetic Qabalah and Rosicrucianism, alongside Magic and the Zohar, and beyond that, Emblemata, Apocrypha, the Sepher Yetzirah, the Book of Enoch, and the Torah. Interwoven throughout most of the centuries that esoteric studies developed is, of course, astrology and alchemy. These are the roots that the AlcheMystic Tarot brings back to our attention, and has done so through an exceptional deck.

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Money Magic Manifestation Cards by Ethony

The Money Magic Manifestation Cards by Ethony is an exquisite deck of 48 affirmations that calibrate your mindset toward attracting abundance, financial security, and professional success into your life. It’s a comforting candy deck that’s also good for your soul. Pocket-size yet powerful, the amazing Ethony personally charges your copy of the deck under the full moon before it gets delivered to you.

If there’s one person I’d trust for money magic and to learn money magic from, it’d be Ethony. Her amazing juju certainly rubs off on each and every one of these decks and to receive one and work with it for your own abundance attraction process is going to be impactful.

The cards come in this beautiful matte keepsake box with a magnetic clasp that opens from the side. I love the prismatic rainbow wash card back. There’s no little white booklet, but the deck does come with a glossy two-page pamphlet that offers some tips for performing your own money magic.

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Money Tarot by Eugene Vinitski

This isn’t so much a formal deck review as it is a “let’s ooh and ahh this Vinitski deck together.” I reviewed his masterpiece deck The Venetian Tarot previously, here. And now I have the incredible opportunity to offer you a first-look into the Money Tarot.

The Money Tarot pulls art from actual bills of currency around the world and superimposes actual money art onto the tarot deck structure. The accompanying little white booklets–and there are two of them–tell you the bill that each tarot card image comes from. Also, loving the reversible card backs.

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The Evolutionary Tarot by Richard Hartnett

Richard Hartnett undertook the creation of an expanded tarot deck system with bold ambition. He sought to stitch history, mythology, and science together through a defined point of view rooted in quantum spirituality. The result: The Evolutionary Tarot, a self-published deck of eighty-four cards. Hartnett’s proposition of quantum spirituality is about brokering peace between diverging paradigms– science and faith, conservatism and evolution– a tarot deck that can harmonize dualism.

While being mentored by a medicine woman named Tu, Hartnett arrived at the realization that the tarot deck structure as-is was missing certain pulse points he had intuited to be in this world of ours. His mentor Tu told him to trust his own intuitions. And from there, he set out to create an expanded tarot deck system.

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Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards

I’m so enthralled by Madame Endora’s Fortune Cards that I’ll be ordering a second copy to keep in its packaging and save as a back-up. The art is beautiful, digitally rendered, highly detailed, and awe-inspiring. I get a subdued Ciro Marchetti vibe from these cards.

Let’s start with the deck structure. I love the thought that has clearly gone into this oracle system. There’s the Royal Court, consisting of eight cards, that represent influential personalities or actual people and dispositions that might be at play in the matter you’re querying about.

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The Venetian Tarot by Eugene Vinitski

The Venetian Tarot by Eugene Vinitski is a self-published tarot deck that is magnificent for a variety of reasons. Art may be subjective, but I would be hard-pressed to find one person who does not acknowledge the exemplary skill level demonstrated here by Vinitski. Furthermore, there’s both an intuitive and psychological understanding of the human condition that truly gives the deck a transformative, transcendent quality. Vinitski has produced a tarot deck that’s at once beautiful and collection-worthy, yet also a great professional reading deck.

Let’s begin with the packaging and card back design. I love the sturdy box style that Vinitski has chosen, its matte finish, and the complementary companion guidebook. The blues and rose golds complement the tone for the card by card Carnevale di Venezia inspired narratives. Also, yes, the cards are gilded and stunning with reversible card back designs.

Vinitski is an artist and illustrator from Moscow who now lives and works in Switzerland. You’ve got to check out his portfolio of art, which you can find here. Before we talk about the deck, let’s talk about the artist. How people take photographs, I think, reveals a lot about them. There’s a sharpness to Vinitski’s photography that suggests a fine-tuned understanding of human psychology, which you see underscored in his paintings as well. Vinitski’s paintings (from his portfolio; we’ll talk about the artist’s point of view for the Venetian Tarot a little later) bear a strong interest in the human figure, depicting human emotion and interactions with a Post-Impressionist aesthetic.

That keen understanding of people and human predilections sets a fascinating stage for the creation of the Venetian Tarot, where the focal point is on Venetian masks, or the masks we wear as devices to conceal our identity, our social status, and to maintain our anonymity when we act in defiance to our normal characters.

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