Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot

Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot is one of the better gothic decks out there. I have the Fournier edition, although from what I can tell the one being distributed by Lo Scarabeo now is identical. Stokes is a wonderful artist, and unlike other goth decks, the images on this one work pretty well. A couple of the other goth-themed decks I own used pre-existing art that was shoe-horned into Tarot with mixed results (Favole and Vargo Gothic, for instance. Vargo’s deck did make some alterations to the original designs, but I don’t think that was the case with the Favole). These seem either more suited to Tarot or were possibly done specifically for the deck, I don’t know which. One that does puzzle me, though, is the Tower card. The little booklet that came with it doesn’t really shed any light on the card in this position:

Through necessity she daily spins her web, to bring order from the chaos. The old ways become the new and so will it continue to be so, safe in her silken thread.

Fool - Tower - Moon

Kind of reaching, if you ask me, but I can sort of see it. The Tower usually indicates some kind of major upheaval, something unforeseen and potentially devastating. I like the hatchling dragon as the Fool, though, and the Moon card is very good. Dreams, illusions, reflected light. The Chariot is another puzzler for me: a single dragon clinging to a pinnacle, breathing out a stream of fire. At least the interpretations seem to have been written specifically for the deck, minimal as they are.

Ancient and wise, a powerful and authoritative beast, a conqueror of spirits. It’s [sic] strengths of discipline, determination and assertiveness are self-evident. Its fiery breath will vanquish all indecision.

Justice is 8 and Strength is 11 in this deck. The minors are pips, with a central image and increasing numbers of whatever the suit uses as the symbol, rather than the suit namesake: Cups have increasing numbers of bats overlaid on the single image of a cup; Pentacles uses skulls, Swords uses feathers over a single sword, and Wands uses dragons. The King of Wands is a fierce red dragon. You can see a couple more cards here in the publisher’s promotional photo. As I mentioned in that post, Stokes also illustrated the Alchemy England 1977 tarot which I have, although I don’t think I’ve done a post on that one yet.

Ace Swords - QCups - 7Pents

But goth it is. The cards are smaller than many decks at roughly 2 3/8” x 4 3/8” (62mm x 113mm) so if you like smaller decks you’d be comfortable with this one. Lots of skulls and skeletons and vampires and dragons. The booklet is multilingual, giving interpretations in each of the languages shown on the cards (Spanish, English, German, French) plus Portuguese. I would have expected Italian.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like this one, after seeing other goth decks that had seemingly random images (I love the Favole deck, but some of the art just doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the card it was chosen to illustrate). The more I look through this one, though, the more I’m liking it. Reading with this deck to follow soon.

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