Favorite New Tarot Decks Acqired in 2008

Reposted to this blog in 2010, and edited slightly for typos in 2012.  I’ve been collecting for over 40 years, but most of what I really know personally about the artists who make decks, the publishers, and other collectors is a fairly recent thing.  I collect because I love the art, and the idea of artists taking on this behemoth of a task, processing it through their own filters and styles and media — and just for the variety that reveals so much of the spirit of each artist.
My collection is like a miniature museum — and each deck is like a peek inside the soul and mind of an artist….
1.  Ciro Marchetti’s Legacy Tarot, Storybook, 2’x2′ Giclee print on canvas.   Really beautiful re-visionings of the people represented in traditional decks.  It is very easy to get past all the “cross my palm with silver” nonsense when laying out these cards.  So many decks seem to use imagery that leans toward the forboding (which is then compounded by the overly dramatic, Professor Trelawney-style of interpretation where everything is a warning or a bad omen.  All 3 of Marchetti’s decks (Gilded,


and now Legacy)

are “at cause” decks.  They place the querent in the position of learning what he/she needs to know, needs to do, and needs to prepare — as opposed to so many readers/decks that emphasize what all bad is coming your way because you have this presenting problem or attitude.  Traditionally — tarot decks — and those who read them — have leaned toward “at effect”-ness.

As in:  “This bad thing is coming your way — be forewarned.”  Or, “You are failing in this way and this other way.  The world will treat you accordingly.”

Which is all well and good, but doesn’t exactly pave the way for choice, making better decisions, and taking responsibility for one’s own destiny.

2.  For vibrant and creative art alone, the prize goes to the Deviant Moon Tarot.

The artwork looks like a cross between Salvidore Dali, Tim Burton, Wallace & Grommit, and Maurice Sendak.  And — the cards are a rich cross between traditional symbolism and new thoughts on card symbolism.

3.  Small pub or self published deck — 2 top favorites.  First is the Nimue Tarot from the UK.  It was published in 2002, but I just got my copy.

Second of my favorite self/small published decks is the Greylight Tarot by Chris Butler, also of the UK.  CB has also done a self titled deck, as well as the new QUANTUM TAROT, published by Llewellyn this year. — the Greylight is done all in B, W and lush, wonderful shades of grey.

CB says he got the idea for the writing on the cards from a deck he saw being used once where the reader had written all sorts of things — in different colors, sizes, and obviously at different times in the life of the deck.   The various “notes to self” on these cards are wonderful.

4. Finally, my favorite non-English deck — Eastern European. I assume that once the Soviet Union was no more, the gypsy traditions came out of the woodwork. Unfortunately, the money is still tight, so art supplies must be fairly hard to come by. This is a deck done completely with that scratch-board stuff — scratching away the black crayon/wax to let color beneath show through.

Really beautiful — and without contact with the west for all those decades, the symbolism has developed on a completely different track from traditional symbolism of any stripe. A real gem of a deck.

Both Ciro Marchetti and Chris Butler work completely inside their computers — and turn out such amazingly strong and personal decks.  They are my 2 real finds of the year.  Marchetti says the Legacy is his last deck —  we’ll see.  Amerigo Folchi has said that about 3 times now — and he keeps coming back and making new and outstanding decks….


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