Being quite a dedicated collector of tarot, I am often asked which deck is my favorite, which to me is akin to asking me which of my kidtauplets I like best, or which deck was the most expensive. My answer to that one is, "The second one" which happened to be Legend: The Arthurian Tarot by Anna-Marie Ferguson, published by Llewellyn. This is true because for 15 years prior to stumbling across this deck in a local metaphysical bookstore, I had one deck- a pocket Rider Waite Smith, printed in Switzerland, in a yellow box, and it never even occurred to me that there could or should be more than that. Once the seal was broken, it was on, and nary a deck has been published in recent years that I have not gotten my hands on, whether it stayed in my collection or not. (Don't tell my other decks, but Deviant Moon is firmly in my top three favorites!)
|Patrick Valenza's Bio|
I often bring my working copy of this deck to events I may read at, and my sitters seem to have a very strong response to these particular cards. They either insist they get their reading with Deviant Moon, or they insist I put the deck somewhere they cannot see it, that they DO NOT get a reading from it. For myself, while I see the character as being quirky and perhaps a little odd, they are not dark to me at all, and I get readings from all ranges of the spectrum from this deck.
This deck was originally printed in Italy, with super glossy lamination and cards that can be tricky to riffle shuffle. Some people expressed disappointment in the images on the cards as opposed to what we had seen on the creator's site as he was working on the deck in progress, but current editions are now printed in China, with less pixelation to the pictures and less glossy, more easily shuffled stock. If you purchase the "Premiere Edition" what you basically are getting is a larger box in which to tuck the smaller one holding the cards, a poster sized paper with a spread specifically created for the Deviant Moon Tarot, and a sleeve which holds the whole thing together. U.S. Games System, Inc often offer their decks in a "Premiere Edition" which does not really offer anything extra, but does make for larger and more bulky packaging that is harder to steal, because apparently tarot decks are something often stolen from book stores, partly due to a myth that says ones' first deck must either be gifted to you or stolen by you, but as less brick and mortar stores offer less and less selection of decks, the problem may decrease and we may see these large "Premiere Editions" from U.S. Games Systems, Inc. go away. The last several decks I have received that were published by U.S. Games were the tuckbox alone, but some of the distributors I have purchased them from have not treated the decks as gently as I would have liked, so the tuckboxes are a bit roughed up. I guess if you are the publisher you can't win in this situation; either you use way more packaging than you need, or you risk the decks being damaged in shipping.
|Deviant Moon Back|
Physically, the cards are long and slim, about 2.75 inches by nearly 5 inches. Both printings, the Italian, and the Chinese, are laminated, although the one from Italy is much more glossy, and I personally prefer the softer, less slick lamination of the Chinese printing. I believe the Chinese printing also offers clearer images and better coloring. I hope you fel the same, because at this point that is all you are likely to be able to find on the market. You'll find Justice at Trump VIII, Strength at Trump XI, and Trump XIII unnamed. There are 22 Major Arcana, and 56 fully illustrated Minor Arcana cards, the suits being Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. The 16 Court Cards, as part of the pips, are Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings, and the backs are a fully reversible design done in marbled black and gold, with moon symbols in its' various phases in silver. One of the most interesting things about this deck, to me, is that the Minor Arcana seem to be much more detailed than the Majors, which largely represent archetypal energy. This actually makes a lot of sense, since the Minors depict day to day life, while the Majors are more like the gods on the mount simply looking down on us from their place from on high, but in many tarot decks you see these stunning Major Arcana cards, and then it looks like the artist just fizzled out when it was time to create the Minors.
Although the images are at times dark, by no means are the readings. These cards fairly sing to me, and I rarely find myself grappling with them for meaning. My very favorite card in this, and possibly any deck, is the Two of Pentacles, and a large print of her dominates my living room decor. I have found it to be a wonderful and evocative storytelling deck, suitable to most types of readings, if the art does not put the sitter off. The denizens of this world are a little weird, a little creepy, but mostly friendly and benign. There is a bit of nudity, mostly in the form of highly stylized breasts, and extremely light violence in the cards. It is always fun to read what the creator intended, but if you connect to the art of a deck, there is no real need, and I understand the visual language of this deck well.
While I try to include both favorite and unfavored cards in the scans that accompany my reviews, I am hard pressed to find too many I do not like. The Hermit, maybe, is not a favorite, but it departs far from what I consider the archetypal energy of The Hermit. Tarot Dame feels the same, and you can see a picture of The Hermit neither of us quite get on with on her review of this deck here. All four of my teenage sons enjoy the images in this deck, and it is a solid working deck for me, one I use nearly every day. I find the deck has both a dry sense of humor and a serious side that lets many types of message come through.
These scans are from the Italian printing, and the borders on these are intact, while my latest posts used my borderless, gilded cards.
|Deviant Moon Tarot|
|Deviant Moon Tarot|
|Deviant Moon Tarot|
I hope you find this review interesting and helpful, and if you do, please feel free to pass it around! Thank you, and Bright Blessing!
These images are from Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.