Wee! The last piece of Christmas tarot fun arrived! The Circle of Life Tarot is a deck that I was pretty sure would eventually be incorporated into my collection, but it was a gift card that pushed me into finally getting it.
And it’s just as lovely as I’d hoped. The art is done in watercolours, but it isn’t wishy-washy; some of the cards are actually quite saturated and dark, without losing the translucency of the watercolour medium. This goes a long way towards enhancing the otherworldy atmosphere of a deck filled with fairies and dark angels and creatures of all sorts and elements. It’s a very “natural” deck, despite the fantasy subject matter. There are lots of little details that you miss at first, but then surprise you when looking at the cards a little closer and the backs have a very pretty interlocking design in bright marigold.
Several of the images depart from the traditional RWS depictions or incorporate significant changes (Temperance, Page of Cups). I think that the Courts have been handled especially well and will provide lots of room for intuitive interpretation. They aren’t just archetypes or symbols of people and personalities, they have their own identities. Being a round deck, it isn’t suitable for reading with straight reversals, but the cards will always be laid out at various angles and inclinations. This could make for very interesting readings if you choose not to right them. I also find that many of the images seem like mandalas, with hidden images inside; this could be an interesting deck for entering the cards (which I have so far been grossly unsuccessful at) or meditation.
The card stock is slick and a little more highly laminated than my other LS decks. The images would probably benefit from being slightly less shiny, but it doesn’t detract as it is. The white borders are unobtrusive, but my eye would have preferred something with less contrast; maybe something in aged cream, to match the “old” feeling of the images in general. Again, this is something that usually fades into the background once you actually read with the cards. There is only one cover card; the second “backing” card listing the other LS decks is absent. The LWB is pretty standard for LS, with 2 or 3 lines for the Majors and Minors. Some of the meanings are non-traditional (as befits the images) and for some reason remind me of fortune cookies :) But I welcome any and all new ways of looking at and interpreting the cards – it’s all learning and growing!