There aren’t too many Tarot decks out lately that have caught my eye. Some that are wildly popular or that someone else raves about get only a ‘meh’ from me. As we know, there is no accounting for taste. But today, I added three forthcoming Tarot decks to my Wish List on Amazon. I’m not sure I will love them all, but they were sufficiently interesting to me to rate more than a cursory glance. All three are set to release on May 8, 2012, all from Lo Scarabeo who seem to have heard my grumbling about the multiple languages on the borders (in some cases, at least). And here are the candidates:
First up is the The Steampunk Tarot, book by Barbara Moore, illustrations by Aly Fell.
This is not the first Steampunk themed deck I’ve seen, but this one does appear to be more overtly steampunk-y. From the few images I’ve seen the dominant color is of course brown. I gotta say, I’m liking that Magician. You can read more about it and see some of the cards at Barbara Moore’s Steampunk Tarot blog.
And at last, the Alchemy 1977 England Tarot Deck deck will release the same day.
The only place I’d seen it available prior to now was through an EBay seller located in Brazil. I’m glad I waited. If you don’t want to wait for that one, it appears to be available already as Alchemy of England Tarot by Fournier. Fulfillment by Amazon, but from a third party (so you can still get the supersaver shipping). That’s a little odd that it’s already available from someone else. Works for me! Swords are swords, Wands are black roses, Pentacles are pentacles/coins, and Cups are cups. Here’s a YouTube video that shows all the cards in the deck:
And third is the Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot Deck:
This is the same artist who illustrated the Necronomicon Tarot. Like so many of LS’s decks, it has the multiple languages in the borders, but they’re not as obtrusive as some others. It looks like I’ll be pretty well able to ignore them. They seem to blend better, rather than looking like an afterthought that was tacked on late in the design. Like the The Gothic Tarot by Joseph Vargo, the images appear to have been culled from pre-existing art by Stokes. You can see her Web site here. Minors are pips, and the suits are represented by Vampires (Cups), Angels (Swords), Skeletons (Pentacles), Dragons (Wands). That aspect reminds me of the Favole Tarot where the suits are replaced by butterflies, masks, crosses and roses (although the Favole has no definitive suit correlations).
Will they work as reading decks? Hard to say just yet. The Steampunk Tarot looks, at a quick glance, to be the most closely aligned with Waite-Smith imagery so that should read pretty well. If you can read pips, the others should read pretty well, although possibly not the best choices for an absolute beginning reader.
UPDATE: January 4 – It seems the Alchemy 1977 Tarot deck is also illustrated by Anne Stokes, which I did not realize (nothing obvious in the photos of the box and there are so few listings for it, it was impossible to tell). And the seller I ordered the deck from, Trident Cards (although they also seem to be using the name Casa Antigua LLC), appears to have the Anne Stokes Gothic already available, also from Fournier. Not sure why LS is involved in either deck but it does help explain the different styles from LS’s usual habit of tacking on the titles in six languages with an obnoxious border.
UPDATE: March 31, 2012 – Barbara Moore’s WordPress blog with images from the deck has been deleted. I don’t know when or why. The link above has been to changed to her Practical Tarot site.