Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review - The Mystic Faerie Tarot

Around this time of year in late Summer/ early Autumn I find myself drawn to this particular deck more than any other.  It occurred to me last week that i've never reviewed this much loved deck, so here it is.

I bought this deck sometime in 2007 and it really is one of the jewels in my collection and a deck I visit with when i'm in need of finding peace and solitude.  When the world is prickly and stressful, this deck brings a smile and beautiful, gentle, intriguing energy.

The deck is published by Llewellyn, the artist is Linda Ravenscoft (who for me personally, is the queen of faerie/fairy artists) and the author is Barbara Moore.  Copyright of the card, book and box images Linda Ravenscroft.

The deck comes in the standard Llewellyn sized box however this one opens on the side to reveal the cards and book as well as a golden organza bag with satin cord to keep the cards in.  The box is illustrated with the image from the Temperance card.

The deck contains 78 cards and two extra cards with a Faerie Greeting and a Faerie Farewell which can be used to open and close a reading.  The card is thin which will bother some and has a nice silky lamination so the cards feel lovely to handle and shuffle well without being too slippery.  I do wish the card was of a more robust thickness because i'd hate to lose this deck through easy wear and tear.  Because I love it so much,  I keep it for personal use to reduce handling.  Two of the cards have different names The Hierophant is The Priest, The Hanged Man is The Hanged Fae.

The book is A5 sized and has 284 pages.   The cover of the book is illustrated with the image from The Wheel of Fortune card.  The book is an absolute delight to read.  There are chapters on what tarot is, the Major and Minor Arcana, preparing for and conducting a reading, eight spreads and sample readings.  What I love most in the book are the full sized images of each card in black and white accompanied by a story for each card and the message.  The stories themselves are a delight and unfold the meanings of each major arcana card easily with a story unfolding across the cards in each suit of the minor arcana.  There are no reversals in this deck and the style is along the lines of Rider Waite Smith decks.

The colour palette of the deck is colourful but not vibrant and i'd describe them as gemstone tones which lend an atmosphere of gentle magic and the beauty of nature with wonderfully detailed images.

The images are beautiful, and definitely in some instances hold a compelling, sensual or dramatic feel to them.  There is more beneath the surface and that is what is so fascinating to me.  In a spread the images flow easily from one to the other and it is not difficult to find yourself being drawn into an mood of serenity and enchantment during a reading.  Clients find the images of this deck appealing and less worrisome than is the case with other decks.

My favourites in the deck are these cards from the Major Arcana, just look at the colours and striking characters.  Gorgeous.

I enjoy reading with the deck however my one niggle is that unless you have read the accompanying story for each suit of the minor arcana, which in turn leads you to understand each card and makes it easy for the meaning can be recalled on thinking back to the story, some of the cards can be a little confusing because of their initial similarity to others in their suit.  See the Eight and Nine of Swords in the Swords cards below.  It is only with closer attention you see the subtleties that show the difference in meaning.   This is not a problem for someone who is familiar with the meanings of the particular cards in tarot in general.  

Some of the usual elements of an image in the Rider Waite Smith portrayal is missing so this can leave you wondering a bit about what the image is about unless you read the accompanying story.

In closing, I do recommend this deck for Linda Ravenscroft enthusiasts and for readers with some experience, but not convinced it is an easy deck for a beginner to learn the tarot system as a whole, although as is written by the author, this is a friendly introduction to tarot.  This it definitely is and would be wonderful for younger readers as their first deck or those nervous about venturing into their beginning stages of study and work with tarot.

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