Celestial Stick People Tarot

I ran across this deck on The Gamecrafter, and it looked so unusual, well, of course I had to have it! There weren’t many photos online there, but enough to intrigue me. (Aeclectic.net has more, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me to check there before ordering.) I ordered it May 18, and it finally arrived June 4, so don’t be in a rush if you decide you want it.

Apparently it’s been available for over two years, but I’d never heard of it before. A great pity, as it’s really charming. It’s a minimalist deck, and although it departs from standard Waite-Smith design, it’s clearly based on it, and it’s truly evocative. If you’re familiar with Waite-Smith you should have no trouble reading with this deck. The Major Arcana are unnumbered, so you’re free to put Strength and Justice where you choose (Depending on the deck and the tradition/school of belief of the creator, these two could be either 8 or 11.)

MinorsThe suits, as you can see, are Brushes, Hearts, Quills, and Diamonds. The courts are Mentor (King), Paragon (Queen), Zealot (Knight), and Dreamer (Page).

The deck comes in a tuck box, with instructions on three folded sheets of paper (double-sided). The paper is very heavy, but I still plan to scan them in, and put the originals in document protector sleeves. You can only fold paper so many times before it tears.

instructions Temperance and JusticeMagician and Hermit

I had a hard time scanning in the Temperance and Justice cards. No matter what I tried I got those wavy lines in them for some reason. But the backgrounds are very smooth, you won’t see that. I really love the Temperance card, something very Zen about it with the figure floating serenely in the air above the waves. The Hermit peeking out from his sanctuary with his lantern is another favorite. The deck is safe for public readings. No scary images that might freak out anyone not already acquainted with Tarot.

The cards are small, playing card size, so easy to handle and shuffle. The box they come in is very wide to accommodate the folded sheets, but I think I want to make a special bag to carry the cards in.

The artist is Brian Crick, who takes a pragmatic approach to the cards. On the first sheet, his introduction reads:

Tarot is a self-help too. A way of organizing your thoughts and finding solutions to your personal or professional problems. If that sounds mundane, it kind of is.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing magical in this deck of cards, and you don’t need a deeply spiritual side to understand them. These cards can’t tell the future or tell you what to do. Rather, they’re intended to help you figure these things out for yourself.

That’s a beautiful thing. That’s what fascinates me about Tarot. What you’re looking at, when you’re looking at a Tarot cards [sic] is something totally meaningless and random. Like the static between stations on the radio, or the hum of a waterfall.

And yet, we can make something meaningful out of this.

I maintain a similar attitude, in that the cards tend to reinforce what you already know, but need someone else (or something else) to confirm. I do disagree that they can’t predict the future. I’ve seen it happen too many times to doubt it. I’ll agree that the cards can’t say “You’ll meet your future spouse at 12:15 on Thursday at your favorite bistro and she’ll be wearing a purple jacket.” Basically the Tarot is like a blueprint for a house you’re building. You can still add that walk-in closet, and move the fireplace to the other wall. It’s not finished yet, you can make changes. You make the changes. The cards do not cause anything to happen. But I have gotten very unequivocal answers to questions. That aside, it’s a lovely little deck, and great for those who dislike images that are cluttered or overloaded with symbols.

As Roald Dahl said, “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

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