Sunday, October 21, 2012

Deck Review- Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

I love October, I love Halloween, I love all things spooky, and Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, by Lisa Hunt, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, has fit right into my Samhain mood this week.

Usually, I do three card Daily Draws, but for me, right now, this deck has worked better as a single draw kind of deck.  To compensate for that, I have been doing morning and evening draws, which you can see here, for more card images, if you are so inclined.  The fact that I am doing single card draws as opposed to full readings is not a fault of the deck, but a fault of my own.  Lisa puts a lot of research into her decks, and the images are absolutely chock full of meanings, which sends me scrambling for Google or my own library of books concerning myths, ghosts, and fairy tales.  I actually love doing this, but it means making her decks reading decks, for me, is a long process.  Her Fairy Tale Tarot has become one of my favorite decks for my personal readings, but it took me some time to get there with the deck.  This is actually a bonus is my book, and I appreciate decks that I can connect to so deeply, that have me learning and doing research, but I do think unless you are a purely intuitive reader or are willing to do the work thee gorgeous decks may require, you may feel you are not getting as deep with the deck as you would like.
Ghosts & Spirits Tarot- Back

I am not crazy about the backs of the cards, but they are not my main concern when using a deck.  They are somewhat more cute than the rest of the deck.  The cards were printed in Italy, on card stock that is lightly laminated and slightly shiny.  This should make the cards very durable but they are pleasant to hold and shuffle.  The cards are what I consider a "standard" tarot size, about 2.75 inches by 4.5 inches, and the borders are a yellowed ivory, meant to mimic aging parchment, I believe.  I am a famous border remover, but these ones do not bother me at all, and in fact I think they are lovely.  The deck comes in a tuck box with a Little White Book written by Lisa Hunt, where she explains succinctly the stories her cards are depicting and how they relate to tarot.  I feel she has done a great job with this in the small space allowed, but I feel this deck, and Lisa, deserved a full sized companion book to really go into detailed explanation of her choices and the stories.

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot-The High Priest
Ghosts & Spirits Tarot- Chains
There are 78 cards in this deck, 22 Major Arcana, with Trump V being renamed from The Hierophant to The High Priest, and Trump XV being called Chains, as Lisa has done in her previous decks, rather than The Devil.  You'll find Strength at Trump VIII, and Justice at Trump XI.  The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles.  In Lisa's previous decks, she has used the neo-pagan correlation of Wands to Air and Swords to Fire, where different tarot traditions have Wands as Fire and Swords as Air, but I see no evidence in either the cards or the Little White Book that she went that direction in this deck.  I personally am not bothered by elemental switches, as I just read what I see in any card, but for readers who use elemental dignities or just really care, it can matter.  There are 56 fully illustrated pip cards, including Court Cards named Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings.

Lisa also included a bonus card for which she says is to be used for questions that require deeper contemplation.  I did not draw this card this week, and I don't think I can remember a time I have drawn a card that does not usually come in a deck.  My personal theory is that I don't really know what to do with these cards, so they don't come up for me, but I do like having another beautiful image over a promotional card, since publishers tend to put 80 cards in each package, simply because of the math of printing.  Card sheets come in 80 images, not 78.
Ghosts & Spirits Tarot- Bonus Card

Some of the cards are really saturated in color, such as my favorite card in the deck, the Ten of Cups, while some are more delicately colored.  All the images are ethereal and quite detailed.  They tend to follow Waite Smith meanings, but Lisa has her own slant on the cards, so you should be prepared to stretch your mind and learn some new meanings.  The very theme of the cards, Ghosts & Spirits, does tend to make the readings a bit more focused on the shadow aspects of the meanings, for me, but that is a perfectly viable kind of reading to do, and is even necessary for me.  If I could only have one deck in my collection, this one would not be it, because I would be looking for something a bit more well rounded, but I find the art sumptuous and I am happy I can have many decks for many types of readings!

Another thing I use tarot cards for are writing prompt and help with "what happens next" and this deck has excelled at that, for me.

There is no gratuitous nudity in these cards, and any violence is only alluded to.  I feel that intuitive readers that connect to the art will really love this deck, and there are lots of symbols to draw meaning from.  I feel people who enjoy ghost stories and myths will find many relatable themes in this deck.  People like me who love to do research and really dig deep into decks will find hours of entertainment here.

The images I have included are some I really love, and some that are not my favorite cards.  Some of them are cards I think need some contemplation and the reader should spend some time deciding what they really mean to them, although some of them I had "flash of light moments" in which it made perfect sense!

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

I hope this has been a helpful review, and I enjoyed writing it as much as I enjoyed using the deck this week.  Lisa Hunt is a talented artist with a real love of tarot and connection to the other side.

These cards are from Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


  1. What a helpful and detailed review. I don't get on with Lisa Hunt's decks myself, but they are quite well-liked by many. I traded the Fairy Tale Tarot for the reasons you describe: too much scrambling to try to figure out what is going on in the card. For me, it was too much trouble. Possibly because I am not all that attracted to her art style, either. I find it, for lack of a better word, 'whispy'. I rather like chunky, jewel-toned type art. seems to be a really well thought out, beautiful deck, for sure. Thanks for the review!

    1. Thank you for reading the review, even if it is not the deck for you! Art in tarot, and all things, is so subjective; you either like it or you don't, and regardless of liking the art, sometimes we are drawn to it anyway. Life is too short to wrestle with a tarot deck you aren't really getting on with, if the payoff is not great enough to justify the time spent. "Whispy" is probably a good word to describe the style, and it's perfectly okay if it's not your thing :-) (not that you need my justification)

      For me, I collect decks, and the criteria of staying in my collection is that it is either a working deck; one I will use regularly for myself or others, so beautiful I want to look at the images, has sentimental or nostalgic value such as being a gift or purchased on a trip, or add a twist to tarot; something different that I have not seen before. This deck is one I will use for some kinds of readings, for writing, is beautiful to me, and adds some new meanings to some cards I did not have before working with it, so it is a keeper for me.

  2. Thank you for the thoughtful and insightful review Manda. I enjoyed reading it!

    1. Thank you for reading! I enjoyed the deck a great deal and I eagerly look forward to anything Lisa may do in the future!

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