Sunday, April 20, 2014

Tarot of the Wyrd in Review

Tarot of the Wyrd
Tarot of the Wyrd

Reviewing the Tarot of the Wyrd

By Viv Dulac

I discovered Celestae’s Tarot of the Wyrd quite accidentally, while skulking around Game Crafters. I know, I know. They dump all divination decks together in the Tarot section, and their cardstock is unimpressive – especially for the money – but they have become a haven for some very interesting deck creators, especially of Lenormands. So I saw the name and liked it; clicked on the link, looked at the few cards shown (seven in total) and it was instant infatuation. Then I spent about two weeks wondering if I had made a mistake by ordering it sight unseen – well, except for those few cards.

I did some research while I waited for it to arrive (well, they would say I Googled it nowadays) and turned up basically nothing. A mention here and there, in exactly one blog - Ragged Poet. Later I would learn that it had been out for years, but had somehow managed to fly under my radar. And then the mail arrived one day, and there it was, in its little tuck box. As I went through the cards, my reservations evaporated. And, as days went by, the infatuation became love. The Tarot of the Wyrd is a standard 78-card deck. Following Celestae’s intention of creating a “world of Teacups and Gothic Victoriana,” the suits are playfully reimagined, with walking canes and umbrellas as Staves, teacups for Cups; Swords and Pentacles are rechristened as Cutlery and Watches. The pips are fully illustrated.

The borders are mercifully black, with a tattered inner frame of grey for the major arcana, fiery red for Wands, yellow for Cutlery, aquamarine for Cups, and emerald for Watches. The images are a collage of mostly vintage daguerreotypes, in different gradations of black and white, sepia and colorization. And what images! They are sometimes melancholy, even dark, and sometimes almost childish in their mischievousness; but they are always lovely, and deep.

The author expresses his/her intention of creating “a deck which was both beautiful and symbolically correct,” and it follows RWS meanings and symbols closely enough (without being a mere clone) that this could be an attractive option for beginners. Accordingly, Strength is 8, Justice 11. The keywords provided will not be everyone’s cup of tea – they rarely are – but work well enough within the RWS tradition that they add to its possible appeal to Tarot novices. It does not come with a full-fledged LWB, only a leaflet than can also be downloaded for free, at: Tarot of the Wyrd guide.

My only gripe is that the names of some of the majors are changed for no convincing reason. I like that the Fool becomes Initiation, and the Empress and Emperor, Mother and Father; the Hermit, interestingly enough, is transformed into Shaman; but the Magician is renamed as High Priest, and the Hierophant, Hermit, which is simply confusing, especially since the meanings of those cards remain intact.

Tarot of the Wyrd is most definitely a worthy addition to any collection, for newbies and pros alike. It surprises me that it has not gained the recognition and popularity it rightfully deserves.

The Dark Grimoire Tarot

The copyright to images from the Tarot of the Wyrd deck belongs to the holder, Celestae.

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