Sunday, 12 October 2014

Deck Review - Deviant Moon Tarot


Steampunk. Nightmare Before Christmas. Hieronymus Bosch. Where the Wild Things Are. The clockwork visions of a disturbed Victorian 5-year-old. Deviant Moon Tarot.

I've put off buying this deck for years. It was weird, it was dark, it was unsettling -- it was voted Number One Tarot Deck of All Time a few years in a row by the purple site, which annoyed me. How could it come out ahead of the Rider Waite Smith that it was clearly based on? So I thought, screw it. Who needs more darkness in their lives?

But this year, I couldn't face a month of readings with the Halloween Tarot (Kipling West, US Games). And yet, I always want to use appropriately themed decks in the weeks leading up to Samhain. So I put feelers out to other tarotists for suggestions of a dark deck and Deviant Moon came enough that I bit the bullet and purchased. The borderless edition looked more appealing than the older one, so I got that.

It's a weird deck. It is not the best tarot deck of all time. But it is a good one.

It has a horrid beauty. I don't like the macabre -- I know a lot of occultists do, but I do not. I don't care what anyone says, this deck is macabre. But it is grimness tempered with a hefty dose of innocence. The more I look at the cards, the more it seems like the work of a twisted child -- like the tarot deck that little Wednesday Addams would dream up. As dark a vision as an innocent mind could create. All of the cards have this childlike quality, and some are downright playful:


2 of Cups: Death chats up Midnight at a party. 'Hey, baby!' 
5 of Swords: The victor sticks his tongue out at the defeated.
'Neener neener!' 
9 of Cups: 'Oh boy, a genie!'



5 of Cups: 'La la la! Not listening!!' 
6 of Cups: 'Yay! It's time for a show!' 
9 of Wands: 'Nobody wants to play with me. Nobody likes me. Poor me.' 


As I examined the cards and began to see this innocent, childlike quality of them, they also began to take on a comical aspect. So many of the images are just funny, the sort of thing that would make an odd kid, like Lydia Deetz from Beetlejuice, giggle:


Knight of Pentacles, King of Pentacles, The Chariot: Examples of the odd, squat characters in the deck. If you imagine them in motion, they are even more comical. I can hear the clunking and squeaking of the little wheels. It's just funny.


There are also plenty of cards to embody the 'I'm so deep and dark' Goth teen attitude:


4 of Cups: 'I'm so bored. Screw this place.'
8 of Cups: 'No. Nothing you offer me is worth looking at. I'm out of here.'
3 of Swords: 'No one has ever felt pain like I feel pain!' 

Ha ha ha ha! So actually, in some ways, the deck is quite adolescent. But then, aren't we all?

It's weird, it's dark, but it's also innocent, playful, and willing to hold up a mirror to show us when we are being emotionally immature. It's certainly a deck that feels, to me, right for this time of year, in its mood and style. I like it. I probably wouldn't use it as an every day or 'go-to' deck, but it's certainly a good tarot for reading and it's a worthy addition to any collection.

Recommended.

Deviant Moon Tarot, US Games 2013 

17 comments:

  1. This is a refreshing look at a deck I never thought I would like to own. You've opened my eyes to its charms and quirks. Maybe next year....

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    1. No no no! Order it in time for Halloween! :D

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  2. I seriously LOVE this review. The way you write about Tarot is delicious. :) I have always seen Deviant Moon as a novelty deck. I can't get past that mindset, so I probably won't purchase it. This surprises a lot of people because I am one of those people who digs the dark stuff, but I just kinda find it funny for similar reasons to you, and I'm not entirely certain that 'funny' can translate to 'deep, heart-felt reading' for me. Thanks so much for the info and perspective.

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    1. Not all readings have to be deep and heartfelt. In fact, this deck, to me, seems to send up our 'I'm so deep and dark and heartfelt' tendencies. Seems like it might be a bit of a face-slapper. Get over yourself, the deck might say. It's just all so silly, even the deep dark stuff. :)

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  3. I really enjoyed this review, you *almost* made me decide to buy the deck! I love the dark and macabre and really like the cards you've shown here. I've been umming and ahhing about getting it for the past few months but there are a few cards in this deck that I find a little too nightmare-inducing (even for me!) and for that reason I resist buying it.

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    1. Which cards are triggers for you? I'm curious. Some of them are bit out there for me, too.

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    2. From the cards I've seen it's The Star with her wormy head (reminds me of Muse's Plug In Baby video which I can't comfortably watch!), the massive bug in the Knight of Wands, and I have a great dislike of huge gaping mouths with too many teeth so the three of Cups and Strength kick off that eww feeling. Looking at them again I realise they're not really *that* bad so if I can get over it I may be able to buy this deck as I really like the other cards!

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    3. It's not as horrible as it first appears, but it is really weird. (I keep using that word. I hope it means what I think it means.)

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  4. I have this deliciously ugly deck too, and love it! Like you, I don't use it all that regularly but it has it's fans in my family who love readings from it. Great review.

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  5. the characters seemed so melancholy to me I sold it on. The images just made me weep.
    Of course I was living in a black depression at the time... that could have been part of it...

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    1. That's why I avoided for so long. Too freaky and depressing!

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  6. His new deck is this deck with round boobs rather than turkish house slippers boobs.

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    1. LOL! No need to buy that one, then. I relate more to Turkish slippers than beach balls.

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  7. Hilarious review! If I didn't have it already, you'd have sold me on it :D

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  8. Whoa... perspective switch! :D

    I have always looked at the images of this deck and had an instant "no" response. You made me look at it completely differently - I'm seeing it like an 'emo-brat' deck now, which makes it so much less dark and so much more humorous. Thank you for such a great review!

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