We have a lot of decks to review, so I’m going to keep them short and sweet and will be sure to link them to the creator. Also, for more reviews, check out my friend Amanda Bell’s website Indie Deck Review. She’s got some great decks up and a bunch of my buddies are writing for her! You can find that here.
The Linestrider Tarot - Version 2 - Siolo Thompson
I have the first edition of this deck, and I have to admit that I prefer it, but I’m also a creature of habit. I love that the King of Swords looks like Kurt Vonnegut. I love the really well informed, simple drawings. The second edition is just as beautiful and just as sturdy as the first. The colors are brighter, and some of the cards are a little more fleshed out, but I do love the original. Diversity - none. Boo.
I don’t like oracle decks generally, but this one is just beautiful. It is a lovely deck to flip through and to meditate on. Using botanicals to trigger intuition to aid with clarity, this deck has meticulously detailed drawings about things that we might walk by every day. Cardstock is great, and it’s presented in that cool box + flip lid + deck thinger that Llewellyn is putting out. Diversity: n/a
Andrew has been a practitioner of Orisha for a long time, and you can tell with the reverence and deep history that he includes in this deck. Orisha is a religion that comes from parts of Africa, South America and the Caribbean. The Orisha are the physical manifestations of the gods and include deities Shango, Yemoja, and Oshun. Each card in this deck describes part of the faith - either the beliefs or the gods, and how you can apply the ethics and lessons in your day to day life. I have friends who practice this faith (along with Andrew) and I learned more about Orisha by going through the deck than I have in conversation with friends. It’s really fantastic, and is a beautiful, respectful deck of a faith I was thrilled to learn more about.
I love fairy tales. Love them SO much. They inform so much of childhood and my love of reading and of story. This deck is two of my favorite things pulled together. The fairy tale and the tarot swirling around each other in such a playful and also dark way. These are not cheesy. These are like the original fairy tales that would feature kids getting their faces ripped off. Lovely. The only criticisms I have is that if you don’t know your major arcana really well, it’s hard to tell them apart. Also, the box is really flimsy and the cardstock is thin. The ARTWORK though, is fucking delightful. Diversity - None. you know. If you can have goblins and trolls and shit, can you have ONE person of color? I swear to god.
I love this deck. It was crazy expensive, and I saved up for it for months. It is exactly the kind of tarot deck I hate. It’s a collage deck. It’s dark. Each card is it’s own theme, so to speak, but it’s just compelling. I love the use of the figures. I love the genderqueer appearance of the figures. I love the darkness and the sultry energy that they hold. I love everything about them and they are worth every penny. Diversity - super queer, but no POC. TO BE FAIR, this is art gathered in Germany in the early 19th century soooooooo….not surprising, historically.
This deck is really unsettling and incredibly beautiful - all at the same time. I think that’s the point of it. It shows a vivisection, a swastika, harsh capitalism, nuclear war. It also shows the amazing smile of the Dalai Lama, a mother holding her baby, and a Native woman who doesn’t look like a caricature. It’s not a deck I will use often, but it’s a deck I am so glad to own. The card stock is amaaaaazing, and the LWB is killer. Sturdy box and so beautifully diverse. Each of the suits represent a different race in the court cards and that’s just so refreshing. Do you hear that, other decks? It’s nice to have decks that reflect the world around us. Do better.
I wrote in detail about this card back here, and I got it today and couldn’t wait to talk about it some more. The cardstock is fantastic and the tuck box is sturdy (which doesn’t fuckin happen). I love the starkness of this deck, and the approachable people and chickens that are in it. NOW, I’m generally not a fan of pip decks, but these pips are different. They have movement, their relationship to the other figures on the card matter. They flow. So - technicality - they’re illustrated pips. It’s hard to tell about diversity because it’s a black and white deck, but I actually like that because you can paint the cards whatever color you want. And I really like the chicken.
Tarot of Haunted House - Sasha Graha and Mirco Pierfederici
This is a cult-classic horror movie deck and it’s really fun. And creepy as hell. It’s vampy and campy and silly and B-Movie and the artwork is really fun. This would be a great deck for Halloween readings or for creepy parties. The cardstock is good and the box is sturdy. I was a bit afraid that this would look like the (terrifying and awful) TV Tarot. It does not. Whew. My only complaint (again) is that there isn’t a lick of diversity in this. You’ve got to be kidding me.
This is not just a tarot deck. This is a mystery and a decoder ring and an adventure, wrapped in tarot. To be honest, I haven’t had time to dive into it completely, but it’s grabbed my attention like a stack of Encyclopedia Brown books in the 7th grade. I love seeing folks become adventurous with the cards and I adore storytelling at its best. When I have time, I’m going to be hanging out with this deck a lot. Cardstock and box are sturdy, book is SUPER fun, and there are diverse figures in the deck. Very, very clever deck.
I saw this advertised on Facebook, I think. It was an Indiegogo deck and I bought it without even seeing more than two cards. I just wanted it. I have a thing for the trickster gods, and the crows speak to me a lot. I also want to compile a crow army later in life, but that’s not important. The deck is beautiful, the artwork is compelling, and although it is not wholly based on the RWS style, it’s close enough that beginners could use this deck with ease. Great card stock and a sturdy box, too. Love this one. Love love love
I saved my favorite for last. I got this deck on a whim from a friend, and I’m so so glad that I did. It has everything I love in tarot. The cards match the traditional meaning, but have an all new perspective about them. The characters are folks you would see in the world around you. There is even a woman wearing hijab, which is just delightful to see in a deck. The cardstock is flexible and the cards are SQUARE so you can read them in four different directions. The only other square deck I have is my beloved Augenblick tarot that Shannon made, and I just love opening up my readings to those new angles. I love this deck so so much and am probably going to use it until it dissolves into tatters. Get this deck. I’m not kidding. You won’t regret it.