Saturday, January 26, 2013

Deck Review- Snowland Deck: Life Themes Edition

Aiming to break the stereotypes of tarot and to be a deck for more than just fortune telling, the Snowland Deck comes to us from husband and wife (and often son) creative team Ron and Janet Boyer.  Over two years in the making, and soon to be finished in a full 78 card deck, plus four Significator cards, The Snowland Deck has turned out to be a delight.  Janet Boyer is the creative mind behind two tarot books, Back in Time Tarot , published by Hampton Roads Publishing Company, and Tarot in Reverse, published by Schiffer Books, as well as multiple eBooks that concern not only tarot, but chakras, astrology, and mind and body well being.  Ron is a talented artist who has been able to take the scripts given to him by his wife, add his creative flair, and paint a deck that is both magical and practical in use.

Snowland Deck- Fun to open!
At the current time, the deck is available as a Majors only 22 card Life Themes Edition, which came to me beautifully packaged with some extra goodies including a gorgeous blue tarot bag with a sparkling snowflake charm, a blue sodalite pendulum, a snowflake ornament, and an ice cube charm to hold for concentration, not to mention enough glitter to cover the whole table and a few cats!  It was all charmingly packaged with great care, and a personalized thank you card was included.

The couple expects to be ready to ship out full decks by Valentine's Day 2013 and have some pretty great incentives if you preorder by January 31, 2013!  Once the full deck is available, the special Life Themes Edition will go away forever, and the bonus options, including Noah's Card, the special Chillaxin' card, with the preorder are quite an incentive.  Check it out here!
Snowland Deck Extra- Noah's Card

It is never my job to tell you how to think about art, but I can tell you I find the cards whimsical and endearing, while managing to  pack quite a punch.  Janet herself recently wrote a blog post detailing exactly what they meant to do with the Snowland Deck, which was bring tarot into the 21st Century, add to the perceived usefulness of tarot, and take away the supposed barriers to the system while simultaneously preserving the integrity and beauty of tarot as a divinatory tool.

In the Life Themes Edition, you will see many name changes from "traditional" tarot.  They are meant to grab the essence of the archetype while leaving archaic words behind because this is definitely a deck for the modern reader.  I am particuarly entranced with The High Priestess becoming "Oracle" and The Wheel of Fortune making a change to the very sweet "Carousel" card.  There are many ways of presenting traditional archetypes in a new way that are quite clever, and this is a deck that I have found easy to use intuitively while also pushing the boundaries of new ways of interpreting cards.  I am always excited by cards that present themselves with new ways to look at the accepted definitions!

There is no nudity or violence in these images, and they are suitable for all audiences.  I had a great time sitting with my 11 year old daughter and listening to her tell me stories about what is happening in each card, which is essentially what reading tarot is, anyway- interpreting the story the cards are presenting to us.  (As a small aside, she has a bit of zombie fetish and we recently did the same thing with The Zombie Tarot, which had me rolling in hilarity.)

Despite the innocence of the images in this deck, do not be fooled into thinking it fluffy or too cute to bring hard hitting answers.  There are many symbols to look for and grab on to use, and whether you prefer to read intuitively, dive deep into study of a deck, or a combination, you will find plenty of material to work with here!  I am told Janet expects to have a full length book finished by Christmas of 2013, but in the meantime you can delve deep into the cards and get your own Snowland Deck journal full of readings, interpretations, insights, whatever you are feeling.  This deck will be familiar, with a distinct flavor, to anyone who has used tarot before, but it is also easily read by people who have no experience with "traditional" tarot.  I can back this statement up by having tested it on four teenage boys, who had varied and valid reactions to each card.

Snowland Deck- Back
The cards themselves are what I would consider large, coming in at 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches, on flexible stock that probably shuffles easily.  I do not riffle shuffle so I have not put that to the test.  They are lightly laminated and feel satin-y in the hand.  The borders are, appropriately, white, with titles at the bottom.  There is no numbering of the cards in this edition so you can place Strength and Justice wherever suits you as a reader.  The backs are fully reversible, blue with a white snowflake pattern.

I have included several images from the Life Themes Edition, but you can order the full deck in total confidence that the images resonate with you, because Ron and Janet Boyer have graciously provided all of them to us on their site.  This is a very confident move that few tarot deck publishers or creators take, due to the risk of piracy and unlicensed use of images but it is also a favor that makes decision making easier for most buyers, as well as proclaiming a kind of faith in the universe that the deck will find its' perfect audience.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit with the Snowland Deck enough today that you will step into the world on a regular basis.  May you find some of your own magic there, and leave with some from this snowy, glittery world!

Snowland Deck- Temperance, Teaching (The Hierophant), Oracle (The High Priestess)

Snowland Deck- Magic (The Magician, Strength, Impermanence (Death)

Snowland Deck- Commitment (The Lovers), The Hermit, The Moon

These images are from The Snowland Deck: Life Themes Edition, self published by Ron and Janet Boyer, available directly from them here.


  1. Thank you SO much for such a thorough, insightful review, Amanda! (I was offline for days and JUST got back on).

    I've decided to write the FULL companion book to go WITH the full deck (a free, digital file), so I've been hard at work on that (which explains my net vacay). It's looking like everything will, indeed, be ready for Valentine's Day (provided the printer publishes a perfect proof deck). We're SO excited here!

    Thanks again for taking the time to review our deck; wait until I show Ron (and Noah)! XO

    1. That is great news! Let the record then reflect that a full length eBook will be available with the deck now, then!

      You are most welcome. Thanks to all three of you for your hard work, dedication, and devition in bringing this deck to life.

    2. Bless you, Amanda! Thank you for honoring and appreciating our work. :o) XO