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.
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.
Deviant Moon Tarot, US Games 2013