by MJ Cullinane
This deck is very much like other decks by this particular creator — that said, if you like one of their decks, you will likely appreciate most of their decks. If you don’t like their work, then this deck is unlikely to change your mind.
Unlike some of their other decks (specifically, The Crow Tarots and Grimalkin), this deck has a great range of animal life depicted in the cards.
It’s also worth noting that the M.E.O.W. card spread from the Grimalkin Tarot is used identically in this guidebook, which the author notes, as it’s their favorite spread. I would have liked to have seen a unique spread created for this deck, but that’s the author’s call and not mine, so there you are. Likewise, the guide for Yes/No/Maybe one-card pulls is included in this deck, as are the Major Arcana questions, which are identical in both books. Again, for the questions and the spreads, would have appreciated seeing something created specifically for this deck, but it did not detract from my enjoyment enough to dock any stars from my review, it’s just a note that if you have multiple decks from this creator, you will encounter some duplicated content, and that’s okay — after all, it’s their work.
On to the cards! Like other decks from this creator, they’re just slightly wider than a regular tarot deck, with standard deck height, so small-handed people won’t have trouble shuffling. The card stock isn’t overly thick, but it doesn’t feel flimsy either. The cards have a glossy finish and come in a sturdy cardboard lidded box for shelf-friendly safe storage. I’m pretty sure this creator uses Shuffled Ink for printing fulfillment, so the card stock is pretty uniform from deck to deck, in my experience.
The cards are lovely digital paintings, and have the same style as The Crow Tarot and Grimalkin — meaning that if you like that style, you’ll probably like this deck too, and if you’re not a fan of digital painting decks, this one is unlikely to change your opinion.
Guidebook is written a little differently than other decks by this creator (I only have Grimalkin to compare), with this deck having a more narrative approach to card meanings with animal keywords at the end. I am reviewing the eBook for the deck, so I don’t know if the print book contains the elemental breakdown that Grimalkin does, but the eBook doesn’t have this and just ends kind of abruptly with the last card. The eBook isn’t paginated, but viewing it digitally it’s about 100 pages, which seems about right. Each card gets a page of contextual information. The guide doesn’t provide reversal interpretations, so you might consider just reading this deck’s reversals as messages to pay closer attention to.
Final note: I think that this might be this tarot creator’s preference and/or a printing costs issue, but the guidebook doesn’t contain images accompanying card meanings, so if your enjoyment of a deck requires card image accompaniment, keep that in mind. I cannot say if this is true of the same creator’s Crow Tarot, but neither Grimalkin nor Guardians of the Night include card images in the guide.
Perhaps it’s because this is the first pressing of Guardians of the Night, but there are a few more typos and grammatical errors in this guidebook than in the Grimalkin, which is on its 2nd pressing. This doesn’t bother me too much, but it might matter to other readers, so be aware that the 2nd pressing guidebook might be a little more tidied up.
Parting note: most MJ Cullinane decks and guides are priced at $34 and under, making them some of the most reasonably-priced independently produced tarot decks out there. They’re easy to use for new and experienced readers, and I really enjoy their friendly, welcoming energy.
To purchase or learn more, visit: https://www.mjcullinane.com/