by Joan Marie, Rabbits Moon Tarot
Of all the decks in my collection, I have never been quite as besotted with a deck as I am with the Cult of Weimar deck by Joan Marie of Rabbits Moon Tarot. As an undergrad, I studied German Literature, Film, and Culture, with Weimar German film being my most-loved class during my studies. I stumbled across this deck before it was re-printed, and was ecstatic when the creator announced the second printing. This deck was worth the wait.
On to the review!
The deck comes in a lovely, heavy 2-part lidded box, with a Bertold Brecht quote on the inner side of the lid. The guide is perfect bound, and around 115 pages, not including the extensive and detailed bibliography. The card stock is deliciously thick with a satiny finish. The edges are gilded in a decadent, absinthe green. They have a weighty, lush hand-feel and are delightful to shuffle. The card backs are a rich, velvety green-and-black Bauhaus/deco-style design that have the look of stepping into a hedonic nightclub. The font used on the cards mirrors the aesthetic of the font used in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.
Digital art collage is the absolute perfect match to the Weimar aesthetic and even hearken back to Dada artists’ love of photo montage. The choices of figures and images to include in this deck are inspired and demonstrate a deep love (and knowledge) of German Weimar culture. You’ll find some of the images one might expect, as well as a wealth of rare, historic photographs of Anita Berber. These cards would feel at home in Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories. They’re ready to party all night long because everything is falling apart. They are desperately joyful in an era where there was more despair than joy to be found and each card is lovingly created to show that dichotomy.
The guidebook is right and contextualizes every card and the images used in each composition. One need not be familiar with the Weimar Republic to work with this deck (though it’s kinda a niche interest.) There’s nothing that would prevent it from being a deck for all levels of experience, but due to its very specific historical/cultural aspect, is probably more likely to appeal to advanced readers, art deck collectors, and academic, scholastic, or historian readers. The card meanings are more narrative than keyword-based, and you are introduced to the figure, their significance, a brief anecdote, and a connection to the card depicted.
This deck is not for everybody. It is very specific, but it has a visually appealing aesthetic that could be a great introduction for people who don’t know much about Weimar German culture. I could see this appealing to folks who like Cabaret, Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories, or the series Babylon Berlin. Collectors who like historic decks and art decks will find much to appreciate here, but likewise, I could also see this card appealing to modern dancers and photographers, as many of the cards feature German innovators like Anita Berber, Studio Yva, and Tanz Academy.
All in all, this deck is a pleasure to read with, and is a fine addition for the right collection.
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