Saturday, August 20, 2011

Deck Review - Paulina Tarot

Charming, fae, sweet... These are all words that have been used to describe the Paulina Tarot, drawn by Paulina Cassidy and published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. and they are all true, but there is more to this deck than just that.

My account at Amazon tells me I have had this deck since March of 2009, and I instantly bought one for my aunt, a budding collector and reader in her own right, because I found it so adorable and the colors so lively, which should speak highly of the deck, but it had never made its' way into my regular reading rotation until recently.

Before I took the deck and and actually began to read with it I believed that the images, while charming and gorgeous, were too similar, too samey-samey to offer good readings.  I purchased some prints for my daughter's room, leafed through the cards occasionally, but that was it.  I now know better.  This surprising little deck is not just fairies and pretty things.  It's sweet exterior hides a tough core and some sharp little teeth.

This charming reading, including the Magician, the Ten of Swords, and the Tower, heralded the onset of one of my worst anxiety attacks to date, and then my husband went in for an emergency surgery.

But I can't hate a deck that was just telling me like it is, nor one that has my all time favorite Hierophant card, which is an oft maligned card that should be about our connection to God and where we all find divinity, whether that looks the same or not, and it should be a card that offers wise and good counsel, and encourages to follow our own traditions.  Unfortunately, it often becomes a card that becomes about our disappointments and discomfort with organized religion and authority figures.  I feel this image goes far towards salving those wounds.

The Paulina Tarot is a 78 card deck that features standard Major Arcana, with Strength at 8 and Justice at 11.  The Court Cards are Page, Knight, Queen, and King, and the suits are the standard Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles, so no surprises there.  It is based on the Colman Smith deck, but not enslaved to it.  There are lots of quirks to this deck that make its' voice unique, and the colors are gorgeous.  For intuitive readers, there are plenty of symbols to grab a hold of to read, and lots of play between the colors.  The cards interact and have a great storytelling ability to them.  The packaging includes a tuck box and Little White Book, and the cards have been printed in China on lovely stock without a hint of shine to it, and the cards themselves are a good size at 2.75" x 4.75".  I am a huge fan of the U.S. Games decks that have been printed in China, as the card stock is divine and the colors are lovely, as well as being less pixelated.  (If anyone from U.S. Games is reading this, can we get a Hermetic from China, pretty pretty please?)

My experience with the deck has been that the readings are straight forward and really hold no punches.  If you are going to ask the Paulina a question, you had better be sure you want to hear the answer!  I also found my biggest concern, that the images may not be distinct enough to offer good readings, was entirely unfounded.  This deck positively sang in my hands, and I had no head scratching moments with it at all.

I feel people to new to tarot would enjoy this deck, and the images are not scary at all, with no nudity or violence.  I feel experienced readers with a leaning toward whimsy or fanciful, somewhat fussy fae will enjoy the imagery, and intuitive readers that like to have many things to work with on the card should enjoy the expressive pictures as well.

These images are from the Paulina Tarot by Paulina Cassidy for U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


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