Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Deck Review - Wickwillow Tarot

The Wickwillow Tarot by Hal Weeks, available at The Gamecrafter, is another self published deck (do you see a theme here, ya'all?) and my last review of 2014.  Happy New Year!

If you have not purchased decks at The Gamecrafter before, I want to explain a little bit about how they work.  They primarily print card and paper based games by independent creators who may not otherwise find a venue for their creation.  Our ever crafty deck creators have discovered it makes a great way to make their work available to the masses without the commitment of finances and energy that a mass printing takes, and it works great!  I tend to buy more than one deck at a time from The Gamecrafter to make the reasonable shipping worthwhile, and since they are a print on demand company my order gets in line and I wait, usually for two weeks or so.  I have ordered many decks from them, and each one is great quality.  I have not created any decks, but this seems like a great option for people who are having trouble getting a mainstream publisher, don't want to invest the time and money into self publishing, or who need to create prototype decks to help bring their vision to life.

The Wickwillow Tarot is a gem of a deck that goes much further down the Thoth based road than most currently published decks do, and it is quite refreshing!  It will arrive from The Gamecrafter in a cardboard tuckbox, and mine came with a typwritten instruction sheet.  I did receive mine directly from the creator, so I am not sure if each deck includes that, but the images fall into one of two categories- easily recognizable and readable on an intuitive level, or distinctly Thoth based, for which a plethora of really good reading exists.

The cards are a very handy size, 2.5 inches by 3.5 inches.  This printer knows what they are doing when talking about cards for shuffling, and these are quite easy to manipulate, with that cushiony and slidey feeling that the best playing cards give, while remaining easy to hold and use.  The backs are a lovely design that is ever so slightly off center, which will only affect the most discerning of readers when reading reversals.  Subsequent versions have had this corrected and should not affect a new deck at all.

There are 22 Major Arcana who are completely devoid of numbers or words.  Most are instantly recognizable, but a few take on the creators' own vision for the meaning of the card, as when The Empress becomes an elegant green lady playing her harp in the woods, and The Hierophant is depicted as a sage crone in her warm digs.  Despite my earlier promise of a Thoth based offering, the remaining Majors seem to nod to Waite Smith tradition when they bother to nod at all, and when they do not, they have a unique take that certainly adds to my understanding of the card.
Wickwillow Tarot
The Minors are also not named, but are easily recognizable in their resemblance to their Thoth counterpart, or in the simple matter of a quick counting of the Wands, Cups, Wands, or Disks presented in the card.  Most of the Minors also include the astrological symbols with which they are paired in the Golden Dawn system, something which many scholars and students will appreciate.  The Court Cards are labeled with a simple letter in their left hand corner, Page, Knight (with an H to depict it), Queen and King.  Most of the cards are borderless, and all are saturated with rich jewel tones.
Wickwillow Tarot
People who enjoy the Thoth system will like this deck.  The artwork is skillfully rendered, but it is a distinct style that will appeal to some more than others.  People who like to study will enjoy this deck, with its' strong Golden Dawn associations.  The twists are more than enough to keep it interesting while adhering to a structure that most readers will find familiar and comforting.  The colors and symbols should offer a lot for intuitive readers to use.  You may not care for this deck if you want a deck to follow only one system, because this deck does some picking and choosing.
Wickwillow Tarot
And so concludes the last deck review of  2014.  This is one of the most fun parts of this blog for me, because I love to collect decks and then get to share them with all of you.  I remember when I had one deck, and wanted more, but was fearful to spend my pinched pennies on a deck I was not sure would work for me.  Some of the hard working deck reviewers out there were incredibly helpful to me, and if I can pay the smallest bit of that help forward I am very happy indeed.  Tomorrow's post will be a few of my favorite decks of the year, and then we are off to new and even greater things!  Thank you for making 2014 such a fulfilling and great year at 78 Whispers!

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