|Name :||Everyday Witch Tarot|
|Author :||Elisabeth Alba, Deborah Blake|
|Publisher :||Llewellyn Publications|
|Tradition :||Tarot Rider-Waite-Smith|
|Packaging :||Rigid Case / 15 x 21 x 6 cm / 5.9 x 8.2 x 2.3 in|
|Deck :||78 cards / Satin, glossy / 12 cm / 4.7 in x 7 cm / 2.7 in|
|Handbook :||Book of 218 pages in color|
|Reverse side :||Yes, the backs of the cards are reversible.|
|Switch of 8/11 :||Yes|
|Universe :||Magic / Wicca / Druid / Shaman|
|Use :||Personal development|
The deck of cards is delivered in a rigid cardboard box of the correct thickness. The box closes with a magnet that makes it very easy to open and fabric ribbons allow the material to be removed from its housing.
The cards are housed in another box inside the case. I appreciate that the cards have their own rigid cardboard box, this allows you to take only the game with you. It is also worth mentioning that the bottom of both boxes is decorated with a picture, I appreciated this detail.
The cards are of normal thickness for a "mass-market" product. With 12 centimeters in height, the cards are rather large, it can be difficult for a person with small hands to shuffle the deck horizontally, in such a case, shuffling the cards vertically will be necessary.
Note that the book is in color, a fact rare enough to be underlined. The price of the set is a more expensive than competing tarot cards (32 euros) but given the quality and design of the material, we would like all the tarot cards on the market to be like this.
The English box has the same magnetic closing system. The inside of the box is decorated with a yellow star background. The first real difference is that the english version does not provide a little box for the cards.
The second real difference between the French and English versions is that the back of the French cards can be reserved. This is not the case in the English cards as shown in the photo opposite. It also seems that the cards in the English version are thinner than the French ones.
The game is created by Deborah Blake and designed by Elisabeth Alba.
Deborah Blake is the author of numerous books on modern witchcraft. She has written several series of books such as "Baba Yaga", "Rider" or "Veiled Magic", mixing romance and fantasy. She is also co-creator of several card games, including "Everyday Witch Tarot" (the tarot of this review), "Everyday Witchcraft", "A Year and a Day of Everyday Witchcraft" and "The Little Book of Cat Magic". She works as a tarologist and energy healer, and in a non-profit artist co-operative store.
For more information on Deborah Blake, visit her website at http://www.deborahblakeauthor.com
Elisabeth Alba is an illustrator who has drawn the covers of several novels and coloring books. She has illustrated the "Everyday Witch Tarot" and the "Everyday Witch Oracle" by the same author Deborah Blake.
For more information on Elisabeth Alba, visit her website http://https://www.albaillustration.com/
The tone of the book is willingly light and humorous, it seems addressed to a young audience, its reading is therefore pleasant and easy.
In Chapter 1, Moura presents his advice for drawing the cards. Concerning the suits, the author decided to keep the suits of the Rider-Waite-Smith with Pentacles, Wands, Swords and Cups. Her interpretation of the 4 elements associated with Earth, Fire, Air and Water fits well with the canons of astrology. On the other hand, his interpretation of the numbers from 1 to 10 differs from the usual meaning of numerology, but this fact is very common among RWS-based tarot creators.
In the second chapter, which is actually a Frequently Asked Questions section, the author answers most of the questions that beginners have, typically: "What is a significator?", "What is a clarifier?", "What are reversals?", "What if the draw makes no sense?", "Do I have to be medium to read tarot?". Answers to these questions are welcome and make the book accessible to beginners.
Finally, the author describes 3 spells (actually 3 rituals). The first spell allows to consecrate our tarot deck. The second spell purifies the used cards, and the last one is a spell to make a good draw (an exercise of concentration and focus). These 3 spells fit perfectly with the tone and atmosphere of the book, I totally adhere to the approach of the author who tries to demystify these magical practices.
Chapter 3 of the book concerns the presentation of the cards. The big surprise is the presence of the image of each card in large size and color. We really appreciate not having to take the cards out and have them on hand to read their meaning. The caption of the image and the subtitle of the page are key phrases, often timely and well found, effectively summarizing the meaning of the card.
The meaning text takes one page only, even for the Major Arcana, which is short. On the other hand, the text is clear and broken down into 3 paragraphs. The first paragraph describes the image of the card. The second paragraph gives the general meaning of the card. And the third paragraph entitled "Things to consider" offers advice in terms of personal development. The texts on the Minor Arcana follow the same logic but are reduced to only 2 paragraphs.
The reading of its chapters shows that the tarot is really designed for coaching or personal development purposes. The predictive aspect (reading the future) of divinatory practice is clearly overlooked here.
Note a characteristic of this game, at least one cat is present on each card, sometimes even several cats. Those who surround themselves with these dear pets on a daily basis will certainly appreciate the choice of the authors.
Chapter 4, only 5 pages long, offers 3 classic drawings. First, the one-card draw is discussed. Then, the author discusses the 3-card draw. Finally Blake takes more time to describe and explain the "Celtic Cross" draw. There are no examples provided for any of the three drawings, a pity.
I like the lion licking the hand of the witch. This affectionate gesture tells well the kind of appeasement that we must put on our impulses and our inner violence. I also like that with the other hand, the witch unleashes a whirlwind as if she were unleashing the elements of Nature, in fact here the elements of her own nature: her will, her combativeness, in short her Force. It is obvious that the witch masters her magic, or in other words her Force. The elaboration of this card is successful.
Often tarot creators evoke "perfect" justice by showing the pans perfectly balanced. In some historical Marseille tarot cards, the pans tilt to one side, revealing that human justice is arbitrary and very often personal interests are at stake in what we reap from our actions. Here, the author has nevertheless underlined the imperfection of JUSTICE in two points. First, she has staged the conflict of having to do justice and assume the consequences of our actions by putting two cats, one black, one white, obviously at war on each side of the pans. Then she blindfolded the character of THE JUSTICE, making her half-blind. Thus we understand that justice can be partial. But with her eye still open, THE JUSTICE sees everything, including the book of the law on her lap. The balanced pans say that justice reigns and that we always reap what we sow. In this, I find this card to be one of the most successful cards in the deck.
I find this representation of Death relatively accurate. DEATH generally represents the need for transformation allowing detachment from past situations, events and relationships. In the traditional Tarot de Marseille, the Death Scythe shows this act of detachment from the past. This demonstration is less evident in the RWS with the Death on Horseback. Here, the author has judiciously added a frayed string that blocks the passage of the character. With sword in hand, we understand that he must finish breaking the link. This explicit symbolism is sufficient as such, I appreciate that the author has added two doors behind the character, the first open to the light and the second closed to the darkness. The presence of these two doors clearly shows the choice to be made, perhaps even the absence of choice, because only one path (only one possible choice) leads to the light.
I like the idea of the black cat looking at its reflection in the water, a reflection that is in fact a threatening black panther. This image tells us that we can be troubled by inner forces, invisible beneath the surface, while on the surface everything is fine for us. The author tells us that the Moon invites us to introspection, to harmonize our inner balance, to show our true (hidden) face in the light of the world, here in the light of the moon. This is why a witch flying on her broom appears in the celestial circle of the moon. This approach is convincing.
In its entirety the Minor Arcana is based on the representations and meanings of the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, adapting the illustrations to the world of witchcraft. Most of the time, the images are even more explicit and understandable than the RWS images. For example, the 2 of Swords shows us a witch practicing knife throwing on a target with a blindfold over her eyes. This image seems more telling than the classic representation of a woman sitting blindfolded, brandishing two swords in the air. The action of the witch here is rather evocative.
Quite terrible images run through the Minor Arcana of the RWS. The author has taken care to make them less harsh and more accessible, especially to a young audience. Thus the 10 of Swords, where usually we see a man lying on the ground, his body pierced by a dozen swords, takes up the same scene. But here there is no bloodshed, the victim witch is still alive and even tries to grab her magic wand while her attacker is fleeing. A raven and a flying feather indicates that sometimes in life, feathers are left behind but one survives anyway. The card is easy to interpret and will be less frightening for the younger ones (I guess).
The 16 court cards are generally quite successful. Indeed, the author has gone far beyond the classic representation of RWS, where we are satisfied with a page standing, a rider on a horse, a seated king and queen, each with his sign in hand. In this tarot, we naturally find the classic characters, but each of them is staged through an emblematic action that characterizes the meaning of the card. For example, the Knight of Cups, perched on his flying broom, holds a chalice at arm's length from which heart-shaped soap bubbles are flying. Meanwhile, the character is unaware of the danger lurking, a shark is swimming under his feet. We understand that we are facing a character who is willing and even passionate but also dreamy or careless.
THE CHARIOT turns into a sidecar motorcycle driven by a young witch. She is at a crossroads where she has to choose between two directions. The staging is interesting but it reminds too much in my opinion of the choice that is supposed to have been made on the previous card L'AMOUREUX/THE LOVERS. Usually, THE CHARIOT does not represent a choice, but the consequences of a choice. That is to say, to now have to go all the way, whatever the cost, and not to question what was decided before having collected the first results (represented by the next card supposed to be 8 - JUSTICE in the Tarot de Marseille).
In this card, the emphasis is on the notion of solitude, as it depicts a young witch sitting in front of a wood fire in the middle of the forest during night. I agree with this point of view, but it seems to me that it is incomplete, because traditionally THE HERMIT speaks of walking a path (thanks to his pilgrim's staff). It is about introspection and obtaining an inner truth. Certainly this young witch seems to be sitting well in a meditative position, but I miss the action of THE HERMIT walking upright.
This HANGED MAN is handcuffed with chains locked by a padlock. Certainly, this sorcerer has a key in hand with a shiny shape, a key that requires a concrete existence in order for the young man to be free. What I don't like here is the passive appearance of the sorcerer, who seems weary, without energy, with his eyes closed. In the traditional Tarot de Marseille approach, THE HANGED MAN has his hands behind his back, so we don't know if he is really handcuffed. Moreover, he is often very expressive, he pulls out his tongue for example. The tradition shows A HANGED MAN who has made the choice of his situation, who assumes the consequences. He has voluntarily made the choice to stop in order to look at the world differently, to adopt another point of view (with his head upside down) and to leave only when he is ready. In short, in my vision, THE HANGED MAN is anything but a prisoner. And this card gives me doubt.
In this version of LA MAISON-DIEU/THE TOWER, the young witch is standing in front of a collapsed tower. Although this card does speak of an explosion, a rupture, a landslide, the witch stands on her feet firmly anchored to the ground. We even guess that she herself caused the collapse. In the traditional vision, two characters fall from the top of the tower. That the tower explodes does not come from their will, but from an external element (a lightning bolt comes down from the sky) and above, all they have their heads upside down, meaning that their deepest convictions are being questioned. This card usually emphasizes the need to abandon values that have become obsolete or outdated. In this tarot, the witch seems too sure of herself to have given up anything.
I find that this card looks too much like LE MAT/THE FOOL card. Indeed, in THE JUDGMENT we see a character playing music and moving forward, with a cat leaping behind him. It looks like the archetype of LE MAT/THE FOOL which is a character also going forward with good humor and lightness, an animal leaping beside him. THE JUDGMENT usually announces an event, a change of situation, hence the angel's trumpet which has the same role as the ringing bells of a church. Here, in this tarot, the trumpet is transformed into a musical flute from which a melody comes out. The symbolism is different. What happens to the announcement of renewal? Certainly in the text, the author speaks well of rebirth and renewal. But concerning the flute, she proposes the interpretation: "Do you follow your own music or that of another? You must listen to your inner wisdom and not judge yourself too harshly". Here, the flute thus refers to "the judgment of oneself". But I still don't understand the association with the revival of which she speaks.
The material is of very good quality, it is undeniable. However, I would like to point out that as many mass-market tarot cards, the deck is made in China. This probably explains why we have such a material at this price.
The authors produce a tarot with a light, positive atmosphere, attractive in its form. Even children can use such this tarot. In fact, it is perhaps the best deck that can be offered to a teenager who wants to learn how to read tarot.
The symbolic bases of this tarot are solid. The authors rely on the RWS tradition and I appreciate that they are renewing the visuals of the numeral cards and court cards. The scenes of life are easily understandable and the reading can be relatively intuitive even for the Major Arcana. This is probably one of the best RWS tarot cards that exists.
This deck is certainly one of the best that a beginner reader can acquire. It is simple but not simplistic.
However, the experienced practitioner may prefer a symbolic approach :
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