Autumn is mainly signalled to us by the vortexes of yellow leaves hurling below/around/above us whereever we go or decide to dwell – and so do the cards fall as well. I am a great fan of the Aeclectic Tarot forum (can be found HERE) and even there the brave journallers and meticulous students of our graphic art have rendered it impossible to stick with a deck during this inexplicably restless time.
I have also been restless and although I try (oh, I do try) to follow weekly groups or journalling challenges, discipline is something that doesn’t come easy to me and I am sad to say I have been cheating on most of my decks by shuffling through more than a Tuesday-night escort on Reeperbahn.
To share some thoughts with you is to flicker a light towards a choice you might make this season, while we all try to get closer to spirits and ancestors – perhaps some will call out to you. As a note, I have to say I was expectant to use dark, solemn, macabre decks; I ended up with:
The Shadowscapes Tarot
This is often my go-to deck in the sense that I literally enjoy going to it. I love to handle it, I love to shuffle it, I love the way it looks, I love the colours, I love the artwork, I love the back design, I love the symbols. I love… I’m guessing you get the idea. People tend to think it’s a summery, fluffy, whimsical fey deck that might be good to throw around at a few teenage parties (or perhaps some fantastically-flared sororities), but let me tell you – this one does not mess around. The entire deck, as pretty as it may be, hits you hard and flat in the face. I have described it earlier, but once again – the Queen of Swords hits you with her black calla lilies and there is naught you can do about it. Don’t be fooled by the beauty of this deck! It gives you sharp, bonegrudging, chalkboard-nailing readings that will leave you whimpering and shrouded in the corner.
But it is really pretty
Tarot Illuminati was one of the more controversial Tarot purchases I have ever done; I wasn’t drawn to the artwork, to the concept, to the story, to the idea – not to anything, really, but I just felt I really have to get this deck. I got it some time ago already, and never really unboxed it before summer 2015 (maybe July or August). The initial feelings were not good – the cards were stuck, and those that weren’t, had the white chipping on the borders we see with badly gilded decks. I put it away.
You don’t really expect to pull out a gilded, flashy, colourful, vibrant deck when the leaves have fallen – but that’s exactly what I did. It was just calling my name on the shelf so I though, ugh, fine, I will take it out for just one weekly challenge on the AT forum, and what came out of the box was… illuminating (totally not even pretending to not be corny).
I was very surprised at how well this deck read (once you get past all the fabulous fabrics). It was like RWS on steroids, amph and ayahuasca all at once, burping out bubbles of the Major and Minor Arcana into your face in clear, down-to-earth, saturated blurbs.
I think I did like 20 (!!!) readings on my first day with this deck, then I did some spreads for myself, read for my friends, got inspired to draw seven new cards for my hand-drawn deck, wrote some articles, and redesigned this blog. I got illuminated alright…
So once all the leaves are gone, once everything turns to grey and cold, take this unicorn bacon out. It will blow your mind
This deck was one I yearned for already a decade ago; its subtle, yet meaningful language is something that spoke to me directly and it rings like a bordered Tyldwick to me (seriously – trim the borders and you basically get a more colourful Tyldwick deck). This is my favourite shadow work deck. The images are dreamy, but not nightmarey; they are dark, but not grimoire- or cheesy dark. Dark just in-between that moment in your lucid dream where you find out that you are not going to get to fly today – you have just entered the wrong floor in your house of thoughts, and you have to battle some demons after that first hall. Archeon Tarot is the paintings on the wall of that first hall. The imagery is not too plenty, on some images, it is even scarce; but it triggers some very primal, archetypal reactions within you, that provide for ample and intuitive interpretations. Absolutely beautiful deck for self-reconnaissance.
Tarot of Vampyres
In my Universe, a vampire doesn’t glitter, doesn’t chase girls 400 years younger, doesn’t have topless showdowns with macho werewolves – my vampires are Mary Shelley’s, or Anne Rice’s, but definitely not My Little Pony-style pink-and-glam “vampires”. This Vampyre deck amalgamates sex, blood and the Tree of Life in a trinity so exquisite you will beg Lestat to wipe your tears in his rococo handkerchief. The Death card is one of my favourite Deaths ever, especially because of the abundance of symbolism – it is not only a cold, aloof, dead body; it is also in a coffin (rebirth), it is placed like a pharaoh, it has the serpent…etc. Ian Daniels has not only managed to paint an oeuvre worthy of centuries of praise, he has managed to hang the entire Vampyre mythology on the pegs of the Tree of Life in a manner not corny, not cheesy, not glittery.
On my actual autumn-Samhain deck list were: Deviant Moon, Mary-El, Thoth Tarot. The decks I have describe could not be further from those – but sometimes, life knows better than we do.
Which decks have you used/plan to use this season? Why that choice?