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Thursday, 31 October 2013

Tarot Love at Samhain

Samhain Blog Hop Previous -  Tarot Trends
Samhain Blog Hop Next  - TABI 

'People all over the world! Join hands! Join the love train...love train!'  

Oh, sorry. I was just singing to myself there. You've just chugged into the station on the Tarot Love Train from Christiane's blog at Tarot Trends, most likely. We have a brief layover here at Rowan Tarot before your journey proceeds to the TABI blog. Why not grab a cup of coffee and let's chat a bit before your connection?

For the Samhain Tarot Blog Hop, I was all set to do a Rachel Pollack-style wisdom reading, 'What is love?' But today, I don't feel like being deep. Today I just want to share with you some tarot decks that I love. So let me indulge myself by showing you cards I love, from decks I love. They're in no particular order, because how can you rank things you love?

Tarot of the Sidhe, Emily Carding
I love Tarot of the Sidhe for its bold colours, the beautiful vision realised by an untrained artist, and for its depiction of faerie folk or elementals. I find that the sidhe seem far more serious and 'real' to me than other faerie decks. This one is very, very special to me, because, to my mind, Emily Carding has made a meaningful connection to aspects of reality that the rest of us might only experience out of the corner of the eye or just under the surface of a dream. The deck is like a portal into the subconscious, and realms unseen. I adore the deck, but I find I really love these three cards: Maker Queen (or Queen of Pentacles) in the form of a tree with a beautiful flowering afro (are people allowed to say afro anymore??), her sexual nature and fertility highlighted by a lotus-like blossom, endless supplies of life-giving waters flowing from her palms. She's amazing. Then Dancer Nine (9 of Cups) has a lovely use of smeary twilight rainbow colours, with the Dancer reaching for her dreams as they float about her in golden bubbles. And the Warrior King (King of Wands) may be a tiny figure on the horizon, but his blazing image in the sky shows what he really thinks of himself. :) This particular deck is even more special to me because it was a gift from my friend Chloe at Inner Whispers, who even trimmed it for me! 

Touchstone Tarot, Kat Black
I am so glad I got a copy of the Touchstone Tarot before it became hard to find. I got it in a simple trade on a tarot enthusiast website. I think (but don't quote me on this) I traded the Housewives Tarot for it. Result! I adore this deck and I could sit and look at it for hours. I trimmed the deck of its top and side borders, which created a very thick wooden frame for each card. I can see why it was done, because each card is a portrait, but I think the images look much better without them. Even though each card is a close-up portrait, I find them quite effortless to read. Kat Black did an excellent job with these; I find them so very expressive, and lots of tarot symbols are available within each. I love the Knight of Swords' sidelong 'come and have a go if you think you're hard enough' stare. The lady in the Nine of Coins looks very self-satisfied indeed, with her straight posture and chin tucked demurely toward her chest. She fixes us with a look that says 'I know exactly who I am and things could not get any better.' Finally, the Page of Coins is a favourite because the man in the card looks exactly like my husband. It amuses me every time I look at it.

Toth Tarot, Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris
I suppose one my accomplishments of 2013 was making friends with the notorious Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley. I committed myself to a One Deck Wonder with it and went from being repelled by it to being intrigued by it to loving it. It could easily become a one and only deck for me, if I were of the disposition to choose just one deck. There is enough here to keep a person busy for a lifetime; perhaps several lifetimes. It's hard to choose favourite images, so I just flicked through the deck and chose some of the more striking cards for me. I've got Death, which I like for the colouring and the curvy lines, the amazing fiery oranges of the 3 of Wands, and the only remotely 'romantic' card in the deck, the Knight of Coins. During my One Deck Wonder, I bought several editions of Thoth. I started with the purple box Thoth, which I'd bought in 2011 for the TABI conference. Then I bought the green box Thoth, the larger size. Then I managed to acquire the beautiful 1986 AGM blue box Thoth with its highly saturated coloration. I decided to trim the green box Thoth of all borders and titles, and that is the one you see pictured here. I also read two biographies of Aleister Crowley, Lon Milo's DuQuette's Chicken Kabbalah and Understanding Aleister Crowley's Thoth Tarot. It was a great experience. I recommend to anyone that you choose a deck that you don't like and commit to using it for a month or three or six or twelve!

Anna K Tarot, Anna Klaffinger
I used the first edition Anna K Tarot almost exclusively for about a year. You should see that deck. It is so worn out looking. The edges have gone soft like velvet, and the borders are worn to a white fuzziness. It is so supple I can riffle and bridge those chunky little cards like buttah. I bought the second edition and though it was bigger, I could not riffle and bridge them--way too thick, and also, funnily enough, the deck felt foreign to me in my hands after touching my first edition for so long. I sold it to someone who gifted to a very happy friend in a faraway land where Anna K Tarots are few and far between. Then US Games published this wonderful mass market version, and so I tucked away my beloved first edition to keep in retirement like some sort of champion thoroughbred, and I use this MM deck now. I highly recommend it to all tarot enthusiasts. It should be in everyone's collection. The three cards I've chosen are favourites for their interpretation of card meaning. The Ten of Swords shows what we all tend to tell clients -- the worst is behind you now. It won't get any worse than this, and you will move on. The Eight of Swords depicts beautifully what I see as the message of that card -- you only see yourself as trapped. You are not trapped, and can walk away anytime you want. And finally, the glorious Lovers card, with its elderly couple, still together and still committed to one another fully, their love symbolized by both the roses in full flower and the faithful old companion resting at their feet. 

The Crystal Tarot, Elisabetta Trevisan
I have always loved the artwork in the Crystal Tarot by Elisabetta Trevisan, but hesitated to buy the deck because a couple of the elemental attributions are switched around -- plus it was one of those multi-lingual titled LoScarabeo decks. I don't know why, but I am not attracted to the long skinny shape of LS decks, and I find all the words at top and bottom a real pain, detracting from the image of the card. But, at the London UK Tarot Conference 2012, I gave in to temptation and bought the deck. Then I never used it. I would get it out and look at the pictures, but I never read with it. But the other day, I had an order for a reading and I impulsively decided to use the deck. It was still out on Sunday morning, and I sat and looked at it and looked at it and realised that I could whack the tops and bottoms off the cards and have a chunky little humdinger of a deck. And so I did just that, while my hubby sat and watched the DVD of King Arthur that he bought at a charity shop for 99p. (We know how to live). The cards I picked are particularly beautiful, with flowing colours and fabrics. (In fact, this deck reminds me in some ways of the absolutely fantastic Tarot Illuminati, which could easily have been included here, but you have to draw the line somewhere, and five seemed like a suitably spiritual number.) 

Thanks for letting me take you on a brief tour of some of my favourite decks. Enjoy the rest of your Samhain Love Train! Choo choo!

Samhain Blog Hop Previous  -  Tarot Trends
Samhain Blog Hop Next  - TABI 


  1. The Thoth's one of my favourites too...after not liking it at all when I first saw it. Sounds like we followed similar paths to loving it!

  2. The Thoth Tarot is a personal favourite of mine, too. I love the Art Deco movement, and it just plays to that for me, and is also not as removed from the TdM structure as people think. I’m not sure Crowley would class me as understanding it, though! Great post.

  3. Funny, the Eight of Swords from the Anna K is the card that persuaded me to get the deck. I see it saying not that we have left the worst behind, but that the ties that bind us are only a matter of perception.
    I'm still not convinced by the Thoth, but agree you've chosen some gorgeous cards there :) Glad you still love the Sidhe, I do, too!

  4. These are gorgeous cards that you've chosen, Carla! That Tarot Illuminati is on my list to procure...once my money stores are a little healthier again lol!

    Ali x

  5. Interesting on the Thoth... Mine sat unused for years... I warmed to it quite nicely after a friend who reads mainly with it read for me and shared some of the deck love... :)

  6. The Anna K is the only deck we share and I am utterly in love with it. I have a pull and push relationship with the Thoth tarot, Probable we'll end up courting each other.

  7. I enjoyed this show and tell with some of your decks very much - I am also a fan of trimming when the border is too distracting and distancing.

  8. I only have the Sidhe from that selection - it is a very bold and powerful deck - but I enjoyed seeing your selections :)

  9. Oh man, that is hilarious that your husband looks so much like the Page of Coins…and yet it's strangely fortuitous! ;-) Anna K is one I will probably eventually purchase. I do think the depiction of 8 Swords is very clever! Thanks for sharing your loves!

  10. Very nice decks and interesting descriptions. Thanks!. Muchas Estrellas!!!!

  11. ohh..never seen the touchstone tarot before. Its really beautiful. Thanks for sharing these decks.

  12. Love the Tarot of the Sidhe! It's one of my all time favourites and I use it, and use it, and use it. It's an extremely direct deck for talking with and to the fae (those fae don't beat about the bush). Interestingly my guiding card for my faery work and spiritual work this year is the Maker Queen :)

  13. Thanks for showcasing the Anna K - It looks like a fantastic deck and I may have to add it to my wish-list for Yuketide ;) <3