Magickware\’s Pagan Book Reviews

October 9, 2006

Tarot Art Nouveau Deluxe

Filed under: Book Reviews,tarot decks — magickware @ 1:52 pm

LS Tarot Art Nouveau Deluxe by Antonello Castelli Tarot Deck – 78 cards, instruction booklet and embroidered velvet bag, Llewellyn Worldwide

I love this deck. I hate this deck.

Let me explain. I love this deck because the artwork is absolutely breathtaking. Highly detailed color plates grace the face side of each card. True to the Art Nouveau style, there are patterns of swirls, flowing garments and luxurious hair. The artist used a palette of jewel tones and pastels throughout the deck. Flowers and leaves adorn many of the cards in an abundance of nature images that also include animals as well as geometric shapes. The title of each card is written at the top in four different languages, one of which is English. There is also a card title on the bottom of each in another language. The back of each card is done in a tasteful lilac colored monotone that can be viewed in either direction. All the art is highly detailed and intricate. I could look at each individual card for an extended period of time to soak in all the nuances.

I hate this deck because the artwork is absolutely breathtaking. When I tried to use this deck for a simple reading I discovered that it was extremely difficult to tell the suits apart from each other. The Major Arcana is so similar to the minor ones that they also are easily confused during a reading. Minor Arcana cards two through ten have a column of a symbol for that suit on each card, but the columns look as if they were an afterthought because they are not integrated into the art in the same style as each card. The Knave, Knight Queen and King cards do have the symbol of their suit integrated into the art but the symbol isn’t always consistent throughout the suit making the reader spend time deciphering the card itself before being able to concentrate on the meaning behind the card’s reading.

The instructional booklet did have a nice brief history lesson on the appearance of Art Nouveau as an art form. The meanings of the cards are simple and brief. Reverse meanings are not included. Of the 63-page booklet only 14 pages were in English. The meanings given are those typical to many other decks. There is a sample layout on the first page of the booklet, but it was not one I was familiar with, so I didn’t attempt to use it.

If you are looking at this deck as a first foray into tarot use, look elsewhere. However, if you are a collector of the beautiful and unusual in tarot decks, this one makes a worthy addition to an established collection.


Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards

Filed under: Book Reviews,tarot decks — magickware @

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards
By Doreen Virtue, Ph.D., H Life Styles (Hay House, Inc.) 44-card deck with 123-page guidebookTwelve artists contribute to the artwork displaying Goddess from many different pantheons, including the Christian mythos. The over-sized cards contain the name of the Goddess and her title/meaning above a unique artistic portrayal. Under each painting is a short quote from the Goddess to the reader. Even the quotes from the Goddesses considered “dark” like Pele are bright and upbeat. The deck has the “everything is right and good with the world”, New Age outlook.

The cards’ artwork is inconsistent throughout the deck, mainly because of the differing techniques among the varied artists, but that may add to its freshness or charm.
I was startled to find Mary, Mary Magdalene and Guinevere among the cards, but perhaps that is because of my non-Christian upbringing. I understand that some Pagans do worship the Christian women icons as forms of Goddess. I was also amused at the omission of Persephone and Hekate, but I suppose there are so many Goddesses that including more of everyone’s personal favorites would have been impossible.

The booklet is of a better quality than most guides included within a deck. It will stand up to the usage of regular readings without falling apart like a stapled pamphlet one usually finds with a tarot deck. Both the booklet and the cards come in a nice two-piece box that is also sturdy in its construction.

Inside the booklet is a table of contents making it easy to find the cards in your layout. Also provided are instruction on consecrating and using the deck, readings and variation on readings. The booklet includes “general meanings” on each card. The reader is encouraged to honor their intuition, something that is necessary to make sense out of any divination practice.

In all, the deck is friendly and the meaning and usage accessible to even a beginner. I would not recommend this deck for general use but it is nice to have as a secondary tool when using tarot in your daily meditations.

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