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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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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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 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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The Spiritsong Tarot by Paulina Cassidy is, at its essence, a spirit animal divination deck. The energies of each card in the standard 78 tarot deck is expressed by a selected animal spirit. I love the play on that term, too–spiritus animalis, the concept of weightless entities within us that operate our mind, that explain the currents of thought; the Keynesian economic theory of emotional and instinctual proclivities driving our decision-making behavior; and of course, that of animal spirit guides and the shamanic medicines each have to offer us if we invoke their powers.
In crafting the deck, each card is intended to be a portal to a higher world, one connected to a particular animal spirit or animal mentor that is then called upon through the divination to offer you divine guidance. In other words, each tarot card represents a particular Shamanic medicine.
Spiritsong Tarot is a great novice deck, as it has keywords at the bottom and I found the renaming of the suits easy and intuitive to follow. By the way, bonus points for the panda bear on the Ace of Crystals. How can I say anything negative about this deck after that? Now my only critique is there wasn’t a red panda (one of my favorite animals, evar).
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Are you subscribed to The Cartomancer? If you’re a tarot or oracle card reader, then you’ve got to check out this independent magazine. The quality of the print copy is just luxurious–definite collectible items.
Volume 3, Issue 3 is now out. You can order just the single copy or get a subscription for the year. Support your fellow tarot community, independent artists, deck creators (lots of stunning deck art in these pages), and further your own tarot education with The Cartomancer.
In the latest issue posted above, I wrote a deck review for The Asian American Tarot. You may be surprised and amused by my opinion. In a moment of irony, I can’t predict whether you’ll have expected as much from my review of the deck or whether it’ll be unexpected.
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This gift-giving season, get the Wizard’s Pets Tarot to teach a tot tarot or heck, gift it to a grown-up tarot reader. The deck came about when Pamela Steels’ granddaughter asked her to create a tarot deck for her. The Wizard’s Pets Tarot became just that deck, a Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck that’s bite-sized for smaller hands, bright and colorful to captivate attention, and all around an incredible teaching tool.
In fact, forget the kids. I’m keeping this deck for myself. It handles beautifully, shuffles beautifully, and I’ll talk about how much I appreciate the cardstock later. The vibrancy of the deck’s color palette lends well to keeping me awake and focused. There’s a lot of energy in this deck, much of it characterized as youthful, yet there’s something here for the grown-up tarot reader, too. If you’re currently working with your inner child or trying to tap in to that inner child, the Wizard’s Pets Tarot would be perfect for that.
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Kokeshi dolls are wood-crafted Japanese dolls that look not unlike the High Priestess kokeshi featured above on the box cover of the Kokeshi Tarot by Arlain. The Kokeshi Tarot stylizes traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot iconography into kokeshi dolls and the results are too cute to handle.
We’ve got reversible, symmetrical card backs, which are going to be relevant when we consider reversals and even–gasp!–reading with sideways cards. More on that later. Let’s talk about the Kokeshi Tarot.
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The Art Oracles: Creative and Life Inspiration features 50 artists with corresponding oracular messages inspired by each artist’s point of view. The deck was created by Katya Tylevich and Mikkel Sommer Christensen and published by Laurence King Publishing. This is easily one of my favorite oracle decks and one I am always recommending to friends who aren’t that into tarot or the metaphysical but still one to give cartomancy a whirl. The Art Oracles is a user-friendly deck that anyone, no matter what proficiency level with card reading, can work with.
Totally random– Vincent Van Gogh was my stalker card. Different shuffling methods, toying around the with the deck, whether intending to do a oracle reading or arbitrarily pulling a card to look at it, this card kept coming up for me.
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The Bad Bitches Tarot by Ethony has my kid sister’s name all over it. Okay, it doesn’t literally, and she’s not exactly a “kid” anymore, but if I were to profile who would fall in love with the Bad Bitches Tarot, it would be the yuppie upper east side Manhattan dwelling Millennial fashionista third-wave feminist who thinks it would be really chic to have a tarot deck out on her coffee table.
I showed the deck to my sister by video chat and she just gasped. “Omigod it’s gorgeous. But I don’t know how to read the tarot.” To demonstrate how she could totally use this deck for herself, I pulled a card for her–the Six of Wands–then read the card’s meaning out of the accompanying Guidebook. The meaning, straight out of the book, fit perfectly with her situation.
We then pulled another card, the Seven of Swords. Again, I read that card’s meaning to her straight from the book. The sis major LOL-ed at how blunt the message was. Ethony’s Bad Bitches Tarot Guidebook has attitude, style, and a modern, punchy tone. Sis totally approves.
“So I can just read that tarot deck for myself? Pull a card like you just did and then read about it from the little Guidebook?” (It’s embarrassing to me as a tarot author how minimal my sisters know about the tarot…)
“Yes.” I said. (Or you could read the card meaning from that giant book your sister wrote but whatevs.)
“I love it,” she beams. And really, you can’t help but to love this deck. It’s a goddess deck for the digital Millennial age. It photographs beautifully for Instagram shots, with rose gold gilded edges and a semi-matte finish that’s got just the perfect relaxing ASMR shuffling sound when you riffle the cards.
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