by Minerva Siegel and Abigail Larson
This is a really great, officially licensed tarot deck, excellent to have as a functional deck for creepy tarot readers, or as an art deck for fans of the Nightmare Before Christmas. The art is by Abigail Larson, with the guidebook written by Minerva Siegel.
The art is just gorgeous, easily and instantly recognizable as TNBC, but distinctly the artist’s own style as well. I appreciate that the artist didn’t “force” the art — some cards are presented as “pip” cards without any figures in the rendering, for cards where it might have been a stretch to create a scene.
The suits are Potions (Cups), Presents (Pentacles), Needles (Swords), Candles (Wands). The guidebook is around 125 pages, with a section in the beginning that welcomes novices and explains how to use the cards, and there’s a section at the back dedicated to caring for your cards and setting up to read, as well as a few themed spreads.
The card meanings are detailed and whimsical, but often touch on the dark — just like the energy of the film, so it feels very natural for longtime fans to take the deck into their hands for the first time. I bonded with it immediately and look forward to it being one of my dedicated October reading decks next month, and throughout the holiday season, though I could definitely see this being an everyday deck, too.
The card explanations follow the standard RWS system, but have their own interpretation that customizes traditional keywords and makes it very connected to the themes of the film. Guidebook includes just as thorough an explanation of reversed cards as it provides for upright. All the characters you expect to be here are represented, as well as many side characters that you immediately recognize and appreciate being included.
The packaging of the deck is very high quality, with a heavy lidded box, inset card holder, with purple ribbon for easy in/out of the cards. The card stock is thick enough to feel sturdy in your hands, but not so thick that they’re difficult to shuffle, creating a very satisfying crack on the first riffle.
A final note: in the back of the guide, there’s a note from the publisher that for every tree used in the making of the deck and book, the publisher (Insight Editions) in conjunction with the organization Roots of Peace, is planting 2 fruit or nut trees in Afghanistan, providing the locals with support and skills to help sustain them. I love that they do this and wish more publishers would consider integrating an ethical practice like this to their publishing. All in all, a great deck to add to your collection!