Tarot of the Hidden Realm

OK YES. I treated myself to a new Tarot deck. I had a couple small things to get from Amazon (new SD cards for my camera, and a small gift for someone) which didn’t amount to much, so to get the free shipping now that they’ve raised the minimum to $35… well, what could I do? I might as well get something for the money as give it to them for shipping charges. I’m sure that’s what they were banking on.

I wasn’t at all sure about this one when I first ran across it online. The artwork was very pretty, but I don’t care for photographic decks, or ones where the faces are too real and recognizable, and this one consisted of portraits from what I could tell. I find them distracting. I thought I read somewhere once that many decks are purposely created with blank or very generic faces for that reason. Also decks that are just portraits with no real symbology in the artwork on the cards I find hard to read with. I need those visual cues, especially with a new unfamiliar deck with a different mythology underpinning it-for instance, Egyptian themed decks, and pretty much anything not Rider-Waite derived.

But the Tarot of the Hidden Realm is hitting all the right notes with me. Last night when I broke it open and started looking through the cards, there was an instant sense of understanding, recognition even, and the cards seemed to speak clearly to me (whether or not this was attributable to the two glasses of wine I’d had I can’t say. Note to self: recreate conditions and attempt again in scientific fashion). The artwork is very fine, and fae enough to not let the defined features distract. The colors are muted, nothing garish or bright, which is the opposite of what I’m typically drawn to. I always think I know what I want, and am often surprised by finding myself preferring something unexpected. The book is by Barbara Moore, the art is by Julia Jeffrey who seems to be a skilled portrait artist. So let’s cut to the chase and take a look at some of the cards.

XV. Shadowdance


Oh my my. The Horned One as seductive as I’ve ever seen him. I’m in love. He’s the Oak King who rules half the year, from Beltane to Yule. (I’m going on what I see, I haven’t read the book yet). He’s surrounded by oak leaves. Behind him in the sunny summer glade we see a couple, the girl (wood nymph?) lost in an ecstatic dance, and a faun (he looks like he has fur rather than pants on) in front of her who seems to be left out and is trying to get her attention.

Well, I just read what little the book has to say. It doesn’t say much, frankly. He could be the representation of Herne, Pan, Cernunnos. This is not a negative card in the way the traditional Devil card is. Paganism accepts the body and physical pleasure, with no concept of sin. Perhaps when he turns up it’s a sign that you’re working against your nature, and need to stop beating yourself up for being who and what you are. Anyway, that’s what I’m going with.

Here are a few others. The minors are not as clear as I could have hoped in some cases, and the book is some help with them. The Six of Cups, for instance, is about revisiting memories without letting them overwhelm you, especially the painful ones.

High Priestess Faery Stallion Star
Six of Cups Eight of Wands

I love that apart from the title border at the bottom they’re borderless. All in all, they’re glorious, and I’ve never felt the Fae so close. I expect I’ll be spending some time with this one.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Monica says:

    Thanks for your review. While the artwork has merit, it’s not quite to my style so I’ll shelve this one aside, but nonetheless I enjoy reading reviews of decks that are not from the publisher. I know how tempting it is to get a new tarot deck, I’ll try and be good this year – still holding on for the Alice deck from Baba Studio. The last one I got was the mini Bohemian Gothic from them, which is stunning as expected.

  2. D. D. Syrdal says:

    Ah well, to each her own 🙂 I know, I’m trying to hold out for the Alice deck too. I was bad last year and got the bundle of regular size and mini 3rd edition Bohemian Gothic, so :::gack::: that cost a pretty penny.

    I keep thinking about the Illuminati deck, but a couple of the cards look a little weird, like the heads don’t quite sit right on the bodies… I think it would prevent me ever reading with it. If you look at the 10 of Cups, the little boy’s head seems to be falling off his neck. It’s kind of creepy.

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