Favorite New Tarot Decks Purchased in ’09

Good Golly, Miss Molly!  (to see more or bigger images of these, visit Tarot Garden online — that’s where all but 2 of these decks came from, and they have good images….)  This is a the year I did a lot of catching  up — I found many decks I’d been wanting for many years — and many decks I’d only seen in Steuart Kaplan’s massive tarot reference books.

Ahhhhhh.  something good did come of the year after all

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1. Lunatic T – portfolio edition (full page size on cardstock)  The regular deck is sometimes referred to by collectors as the “big breast” deck — since all the women are unusually busty.  But overall this is a really beautifully done deck, and useable (except possibly for
adolescent boys.)

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2.  The Abracadabra Trumps.  I’ve never bought many “trumps only” 22 card decks, but this buy includes 5 exceptional sets.  This is the purely for fun “cute” deck — all the little red-nosed guys appear to have over-indulged.

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3.  The Bacchus Tarot.  A full 78 card deck from Spain.  Remember Robin Williams’ and Nathan Lane’s dishes in “The Birdcage”?  Like that.  Zeus and all his buddies are here in beautiful crimson cards — mostly blood, wine, and blushing flesh.

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4.  Il Tarrochi dei Colori.  78cards from Italy.  You can’t tell from the tiny image, but most of the inks are metalic, shiny, and make a surprisingly beautiful deck.

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5.  Il Corto de Merlino Trumps.  another of the 22 card trump decks.  The style is airy, light-handed, and soft — and lush.

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6. Tarocchi del Respiro.  Another of the 22 card trump decks.  These are collage images — and some of them are waaaay out there in the dream/nightmare landscape.  One reviewer called them disturbing — but I haven’t been disturbed…. They seem pretty creative  — and exceptionally original componants are a relief from so many of the collage decks.

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7. The Engel Trumps.  This is one of the treasures.  It’s the oldest of these new acquisitions, and one of the most beautiful.  The images are well saturated — appearing to be done in rich pastels, or possibly oil pastels.  They almost appear to have a sculpted surface because the light and shadow are handled so well.

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8. Russian Fairy Tale Tarot.  This is a full 78 card deck in a beautiful presentation box with a beautiful book — and it’s all in Russian.  I’m going to have to go to Tech and see if I can find a Russian grad student to help me translate at least some of the book, because instead of being divided into trumps and 4 suits, there are the 22 trumps numbered I – XXII, and then remaining cards numbered from 23 to 78 — with no suits, no court cards and no aces.  But there are clearly runs of cards where the images are illustrations from famous Russian and eastern European fairy tales, including Cinderella!.

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9. A 22 card trump deck by Lynyrd Narcisco called the Tarot of the Lepodoptrian People.  That would be butterflies.  Narcisco is fast becoming a driving creative force among tarot artists — this is (I think) his 8th deck — with each deck (either 22 or 78 cards) taking on a completely different artistic style from all his other decks.  This one features full gloss cardstock (think glossy postcards) and wildly over-saturated color.

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10. Another 22 card trump deck by Lynyrd Narcisco — the newest — called Whispers in the House of Dusk Tarot.  Exceptionally beautiful.  The color palette is limited to greyed and cool colors, and black.

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11. The Luciferian Tarot.  This one is just a curiosity piece.  The art is midling at best, and the images are trite bits of goth (and there are some really beautiful goth decks out there) but the intention behind the deck is pure $$$ dollar signs $$$.  Every image is there to try and hook those looking to be bad, to shock their parents or an older generation of fundementalist Christians, and to give the appearance of something scary.  In fact, the images are pretty tame compared to decks like Giger’s and a few of the really scary German decks.  The only connection to Lucifer I could find might be the deal with the devil made by the capitalists who created this money-generating project to take allowance money away from 14 year old boys.

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12. The Tarot of Magic Herbs.  No, not that magic herb.  Okay, maybe.  A very modern style deck of 78, with a nice composition that is different from any other deck I’ve seen.  Unusual, creative — not so much beautiful, as interesting.

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13. This is a 22 card trump deck, also Lynyrd Narcisco.  Didn’t I tell you?  Yet another style.  This one is line and wash — with a nod toward anime and Japanese sensibilities.  Long and narrow format, with a bit of a dreamy quality.

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14. Namur Tarot.  Brazilian trumps deck.  A world away from either the Eastern influence of Narcisco, or the Eastern European influence of Russia and Poland.  The style is playful, witty, and rich in details  A nice change of pace.

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15. Amerigo Folchi’s Millennium Deck, 78 cards, Italian.  I already have 6 Folchi decks, and this time I’m adding one of those I’ve been looking for a while.  Yes, that is Ghandi with wings, standing in the water.  All the trumps, courts, and aces are international figures of the last millennium.  From Joan d’Arc to Nelson Mandella to the Beatles.  Done in Folchi’s high-end hand and wit.  One of the ones I’m most pleased to finally get a copy of for the shelf.

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16. Amerigo Folchi’s Colori dei Toscana Trumps deck.  As far as I know, this is Folchi’s only trumps deck, created in 1991.  There are wrist watches on every card.  (he seems to latch onto objects and slip them into every card in a deck…)  Signed, numbered etc, like all Folchi’s decks from Italcards.

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17. The Skins Deck.  Trumps only.  22 cards, signed and numbered from an edition of 200 copies.  Another of those I’m pleased to have found.  Dark, rich earth colors on black, in pastels, chalk, and charcoal.  The cards are not squared — giving them a more organic feel — much like the images.  Stunning artworks.

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18. Melissa Townsend’s Tarot.  78 cards.  What some might call “primitive” — very childlike drawing style with large areas of solid color.  But very charming.  No agenda.  No moodiness.  No trying to hard to make art.  Very few human figures here – probably because of the naive artistic hand — but still a lot of emotion here.  Well done.

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19. Tarot Terapia Slowem. Another in a long line of Polish and eastern European decks.  78 cards.  Another example of what Russia should have learned.  No matter how long you hold down a people — their art is still there and they still tell their traditions and stories.  We knew all those Romany and gypsies were somewhere — and here they are.

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20. The Paulina Tarot.  78 cards.  This is actually the newest deck (just released) by US Games Systems.  Very etherial line and wash — brings to mind Sunday afternoon painters and highly decorative art that would work equally well on greeting cards or coasters.  But nice illustrations.  and a different direction from some of the heavy US Games decks of late.  A definite candidate for 13 year old girls.  Very pink.

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21. The Edyta Gadek Tarot.  78 cards, from Poland.  In Polish only.  Self named for the artist, these have a style that brings to mind childrens’ book illustrations.  Bright, colorful — highly animated images — again with that slightly “separate” feel of an artist not from the Western art tradition.

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22. This is the Spanish Euskalherria Tarot — or, the Basque Country Tarot.  The style has a definite post modern feel, in spite of the content of the images (which are a wide mix of urban to folk.)  One of my longtime favorite decks because of its low key style — which is unusual for Fournier decks — and the innocent style of the figures.

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23. The Management Tarot.  78 cards.  Germany.  I still have not found anything managerial about this deck — except possibly its German lineage.  The style is, as you see, very light and cartoonish.  Mostly vignettes of a playful sort — with a limited palette.  Still, the images are soft and non-threatening and so quite useable.

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24. Okay.  I put all these here just because they’re cute.  It’s the Lo Scarabeo Witchy Tarot, but they might as well be called the Busty Barbie Doll in a Thong Tarot.  Bright, highly saturated colors and Barbie-style witches give a sort of Disney-princess quality to the whole thing.  Like USGames’ Halloween deck, this one is just pure, silly, fun.  Probably a good deck for 13 and 14-year-old girls (or boys, I guess.)

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25. Pearls of Wisdom Tarot. 78 cards.  This is the deck that came missing the King of Cups.  It has 2 Knghts of Cups.    Beautiful and highly detailed deck with lots of “where’s Waldo” hidden treasures.  I got it add to the “useable” shelf —  But not without that king….  So, I now have 2 copies (or 1 copy, with replacement cards….) Maybe someday I’ll meet the person who got 2 King and no Knight of Cups.

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One thought on “Favorite New Tarot Decks Purchased in ’09

  1. Pingback: Favorite New Tarot Decks Purchased in 2010 « Welcome to the Seven House

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