Sunday, October 28, 2012

Deck Review- Deviant Moon Tarot

I am in deep,deep love with this deck, and I have been from the moment I first saw any images of it, nearly five years ago now!  It has been an oft used deck on this blog and in my personal readings, and if you want to go over any of the post from this week, or the even older ones, please check here.  In my latest posts you may notice that the cards have been released from their borders, though they were plain white and fairly unobtrusive.  I just prefer borderless decks.  I also gilded mine in silver, a little clumsily, and anointed it with frankincense and myrrh, which has lent it pieces of my own personalty (not to mention blood from clumsy scissor use) and made it somewhat of a holy relic for me.

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
However, Deviant Moon Tarot was the very first deck that I had to have, no matter the cost, the very moment it came out, and I would not be able to wait for it, at all.  Although I have not grown less impatient over time, I can't think of any other decks that elicited quite that strong a response of longing and excitement in me.  It was gifted to me by a very sweet friend, someone who understood my need for this deck, how it would lift my spirits and really mean so much to me, which it did, always has, and always will.

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
I have also seen versions with the deck by itself, and both editions contain a Little White Book written by Patrick Valenza, something I consider necessary as his unique art and thought process really add to the meanings of the cards, for me.  This deck would have really benefited from a full size companion book as well, but the rumor is that is in the works, to be released in conjunction with a borderless version of the cards.  Should this happen, I will have four versions of the deck, because I like it that well- the First Edition, printed in Italy, the Second Printing in China, one trimmed and gilded to make it personal to me, one in pristine condition, and one more (maybe two, let's be honest) of the eventual borderless version, with a companion book.

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


Patrick Valenza is a delight to work with, and if you'd like to own any art, prints, or assorted other Deviant Moon items, as well as know about his works in progress, you should visit him at his Deviant Moon website.  I , for one, will be buying anything else he creates, because I am hooked on his art and unique storytelling voice in 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.

7 comments:

  1. I have four HUGE prints from the Deviant Moon Tarot (2 feet high) and they are GORGEOUS. Totally color-saturated and worth every pretty penny. :o) I asked Patrick to make them right after the deck came out. Those images are so darn pretty, it was hard to pick only four at the time!

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    1. That is because you have exquisite taste! I have smaller prints of the Aces and the Twos, grouped together in a square, because I just think they are too beautiful to stay in tarot bag.

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  2. Ha! ;o) One of them is an Ace (Wands!). The others are 9 of Cups, 9 of Coins and 9 of Wands. (Interesting to read your take on that card from the DM in your Oct. 27 post, btw.)

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    1. A year later I read this comment? Sheesh, Blogger, help a girl out. I went to track down that post, and you know what- I am STILL dealing with the same issues, which I guess will be the case as long as the exes stay the way they are and I stay the way I am, and since I have no intention of changing... One better thing is I usually sleep well these days. I think my body got too tired and now I sleep like a baby, and dream like a rock star, most nights. I still wear the mask, most places, because that is where I am comfortable. It is not a mask of deception but one of protecting the soft bits underneath. I am still lonely a lot, but I have learned to turn that loneliness into productivity with fiction writing and it is both better and worse.

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  3. Haha I had a similar experience with this deck. Years ago I saw it in passing and fell deeply in love. I never knew the name nothing and never saw it again but every time I looked for a tarot deck I always searched for it. One day, this year, I was in my local occult shop and at the very back of their tarot display was the deck. Only one. I've never been so happy in my life, haha. I bought it and have fallen even more madly in love with it.

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    1. It was waiting there for you! Meant to be.

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  4. This will be my Number one deck , only just found it and really looking forward to exploring it , one single glance on eBay and I knew it was mine and glad to know others have the same passion for this intriguing deck

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