by Bethan Hamilton
This deck is a gorgeous, minimalist yet still ornate interpretation of the traditional imagery of the Rider Waite Smith deck, produced independently by the creator on Kickstarter.
The cards come in a very luxuriously weighty two-piece lidded box. The box is made of Catalina paper wrapped around grey board, giving it a very soft, textured feel in the hand. I love that for this project, the creator used a local production company, and chose to print the deck on a mix of certified sustainably sourced and managed pulp products, which reduces the need for bleaching and other chemical processes used on recycled papers — it’s a deck that takes to heart the ethos of “Do no harm.” The cards themselves are sturdy, yet lightweight in the hand. You don’t see too many decks with rounded corners, and that gives this deck a signature feel when shuffling.
The artwork is nothing short of magnificent. Each image is lovingly rendered in detail, yet confined within the triangle frame that unites the cards and centralizes each image on a field of white, making the greyscale of the pencil images intense and nuanced. The creator clearly put a lot of thought, attention, and meditative energy on each image, focusing on the element of the card’s traditional meaning that resonates loudest for the world we exist in today. I love that the deck is inclusive and represents more diversity than many standard decks out there, and with a world of colorful, splashy decks out there, the understated greys of this deck feel both classy and classic.
The guidebook is easy to use, well thought out, and well-organized, making this deck ideal for readers at any level of experience, and in fact would make an excellent first deck for a novice to learn from. The guidebook contains a small image of each card, keywords for the card, a quick guide to the symbolism in the image, and then a brief explanation of the card and how to interpret it. It contains 5 suggested spreads to use, all of which are easy to understand and welcome readers of every level of experience. There are no interpretations for card reversals, so whether or not to use them with this deck is completely up to the reader.
The story behind the deck’s creation is as compelling as the cards are. The creator started working with tarot in response to having developed “eco-anxiety,” and the cards are certainly filled with images and ideas that establish a connection to earth energy. With the world in a state of flux, these cards came into being as a means of going inward, and working through the weight of it all through meditation and self-reflection.
This is a deck that I’m thrilled made its goal, and I hope to see more from this tarot creator in the future.
Purchase or learn more: http://www.bethanhamilton.co.uk/