I have a lot of tarot decks. Well, not as many as Arwen or Mary K Mothafuckin' Greer, but like, 35 decks. That's a lot. I've been doing this for a while, so it makes sense. People ask me sometimes which is my favorite. I'd like to be all, "Each tarot deck has it's own special qualities and it depends on the blah blah blah"
It's the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. This deck came out in 2010, and I was just gearing up my professional tarot career. I got a spiritual journey by my friend Mary in 2000, and she found that my guide was Fox. Since then, I'd been completely freak out magpie about every fox thing I saw. I saw images of the Shadowscapes deck before it came out and saw that all of the wands had foxes on them. Shockingly, Ms. Law didn't just do this to make me happy.
Each suit in the tarot aligns with an element. This is an excellent way to learn the cards.
Earth - Pentacles - They've all got lizards on 'em
Air - Swords - birds
Fire - Wands - Foxes!
Water - Cups - Fish
More clues abound in every card. The Hanged Man is hanging by his knees from a tree, and between his hands is his saved energy building and growing for when he's ready to read it. The character in the Moon card has wandered into a fairy circle - putting them squarely into the "scary as all damnit" arena. The Magician has all of the magical tools hanging from his wings, but is building energy in his own hands. Judgement is my favorite and I actually have the blue butterflies and orange poppies tattooed on my arm as a reminder of who I am.
Judgement is about release. During the Fool's Journey, the Fool wanders through the Major Arcana, and all of the ups and downs that come along. Judgement follows the Sun. After the brightness of the Sun, there is nowhere for deceit to hide. Judgement gives us balance, truth and courage. The angel plays her trumpet and the butterflies rise up and become free.
Although I always suggest that new readers pick up a version of the Rider Waite Smith cards, the Shadowscapes is a close second. It's beautiful and accessible, and I haven't been without it since Mary got it for me six years ago. I lost one deck to a glass of wine and have an unopened back up deck just in case something happens to my current one!