Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Deck Review - Tarot of the Absurd

Tarot of the Absurd
Today I have a cunning and adorable deck to review, The Tarot of the Absurd.  I previously posted about the deep and sweet joy I had experienced in receiving this deck, and now I am finally getting around to sharing it with all of you.

This another self published deck, by Jessica Rose Shanahan, printed in the USA in a totally black and white theme, with clean lines and her distinct style.  I hesitate to quirky, because I feel like I use that word a lot, but I have concluded that I am drawn to quirky decks, and that is why I review so many, and so it is just fine.

And this deck is quirky.  Shanahan's sparkling personality comes through in her chosen medium of black and white, art deco flavored cards.  The white figures against the black background creates negative space for the mind to fill with the readers own distinctive interpretation of the symbolism.

If you check out my previous post about the Tarot of the Absurd, you will see how delighted I was with every aspect of the deck the day it arrived, and it is still a joy to unwrap, hold, and use.  My deck came in a protective cardboard slide decorated with the same design as the backs of the deck, wrapped with black and white ribbon.  Every part of this deck has been considered and handled with care by the creator.

Tarot of the Absurd - Back
The cards are a thinnish matte stock with a light lamination, easily shuffled and easy to hol at 3 inches by 5 inches.  They lack a border altogether, and are backed with a beautiful striped design of mostly white.

Tarot of the Absurd - The Moon
The Major Arcana contains 22 numbered and labeled cards, including two versions of The Moon.  You will find Strength at 8, with Justice at 11, and The Magician has transformed into "Alchemist" in this whimsical version.  Most of the images frankly bear little resemblance to any tarot tradition I am aware of, yet you do not even have to squint to see familiar meanings.  These kinds of decks, which seem simple in theory but are apparently difficult to execute, which follow traditional tarot meanings but manage to convey them in a wholly new and unique way, tend to be my favorites.

The four suits are represented by Sticks, Cups, Blades, and Coins.  The Court Cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King.  Like the Majors, there are nods to more "traditional" tarot images, but they are rendered in the artists' own unique style and with her twist on the meanings, and they are easily readable by readers from many schools.  There are a few highly stylized breasts and buttocks, and the faint suggestion of mild violence that is common in some of the Wands and Swords cards, but nothing offensive or scary.  There has been a distillation of each card to the essential essence, but the images are all quite active and the artwork itself looks fluid, flowing, and elegant.
Tarot of the Absurd
This is a good deck for people who like black and white and borderless decks.  It is a good deck for intuitives who click with the art because they will not be fighting with words or forced symbolism.  It is a great deck for collectors, and perfect for people who prefer their decks not be straight clone decks of one of the major traditions.  It is not a great deck for people who prefer more traditional style imagery, or who want an in depth book to study or have clear answers provided for what each card means in context.  Some people may prefer to have more (or any) color or more going on in the pictures.
Tarot of the Absurd
At the Barefoot Fool website, Ms. Shanahan has provided more of her own insights and thoughts about the deck, including some of her process and some tidbits only the creator can provide.  This is also where you will find your own deck to bring home is a very sweet package to brighten your day.

Tarot of the Absurd


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