by Catrin Welz-Stein
I have been looking forward to the release of this deck for a while, and it does not disappoint.
This is a surrealist digital art collage deck, and the art of Catrin Welz-Stein will appeal to fans of decks like her Oracle of Mystical Moments (great to read with both, more on that deeper in the review), Liz Houston’s Dreamkeepers tarot, Elisabeth on Earth oracle, Cult of Weimar, the surrealist art of Carrie Ann Baade or MANDEM, etc. If you’re not a fan of digital art collage, this deck is unlikely to sway you. But if this art is your jam, this deck will become a favorite.
The deck is superb quality. The cards are printed on a thick, sturdy card stock with a slightly glossy finish. The cards are standard tarot height, but slightly wider than a standard deck, so they remain easy to shuffle (riffle or overhand), even if you have small hands. (Interestingly, the Oracle of Mystical Moments is slightly more narrow than a standard deck.) The deck is edged in a gorgeous silver. The box is heavy lidded cardboard with silver embossing, and the companion book is perfect bound.
One of the most unique parts of the deck is that the artist wasn’t a tarot expert upon designing the deck and in a way, the artistic choices have a fresh, whimsical, almost childlike feel to them, because the artist discovered the meaning of each card as she created it. The images are based on traditional RWS meanings but in an unconventional way — for example, suits don’t always appear on the cards traditionally, like on the Three of Wands, the “three” is represented as tentacle braids. I think this approach is both unusual and refreshing, but it will not be ideal for tarot purists.
There is some inclusivity of representation, in terms of culture and body types, which also makes this not your average deck. It is unapologetically female-oriented, which I definitely appreciate — in fact, the deck is not your usual 78 cards, but instead an 83-card deck. Why, you ask? Because all the traditional cards represented as male are re-imagined as female — think female King of Cups, etc. (Emperor and all 4 King cards). The owner of the deck can choose to leave out either gender representation or leave them all in, at their discretion.
The book contains one dedicated original spread, for reading with or without the companion oracle deck, or any other deck of your choosing.
As with most decks produced by US Games Systems, the quality of the deck is top-notch, and the price tag is reasonable. Beautiful deck, and I’ve used it nearly every day since it arrived.