I admit it, I'm a goober when it comes to tarot decks. I research and read reviews and listen to what people say before I decide to part with my hard earned cash. Mostly because there isn't a lot of discretionary money in our house so I try to be careful where it goes. For weeks I have been listening to people rave about the Green Witch Tarot, and it keeps selling out in the shop so I finally caved and ordered myself a copy. Keep reading to get my impressions on this deck.
I had to order from Amazon since my supplier can't seem to keep it in stock, but no big... $28 and prime shipping was reasonable. The shipping could have been faster but in all honesty I can't be fussy given the amount of snowstorms that the region has gotten recently. The deck arrived with several textbooks I had rented for school since the semester is starting next week.
The box is typical Llewelyn fare, the big box with lots of empty space. I was disappointed that the corner of the box was smashed in, despite a fair amount of packing materials. I'm not surprised though, because these boxes are not really designed to hold up for the long haul. Once the box was open it was what I expected as far as contents - the deck, the book and the white insert....
ABOUT THE CARDS
The cards themselves all have a pentacle design on the back, that is off-center so it is obvious which end is up with the cards. I was happy to see that the cards are borderless as well, because sometimes the border overwhelms the cards (Raven's Prophecy I'm looking at you with your bright orange border!) The banners at the bottom of each card are a sage green with flowy white lettering. Not distracting, and on some cards it almost fades into the background. I've seen Kiri Leonard's work before so I had an idea what to expect.
The suits in this deck are traditional - Wands, Pentacles, Chalices (for Cups) and Athames (for Swords). There are some liberties taken with the Major Arcana which may make this a struggle for someone fairly new to the tarot. The Fool becomes the Greenman with a trio of young men and a little white dog cavorting beneath him. The Empress becomes the Earth Mother, heavily pregnant with a cornucopia overflowing. The Chariot becomes the Battle Wagon, pulled by two white horses. I really missed seeing the traditional black/white combo that you usually see. The Devil card becomes Nature, with a man setting a bear trap in the woods (frankly I didn't really get this one...) While I liked the idea of giving the Majors a wiccan/pagan slant I confess that I was forced to reach for the book several times in order to try and figure out what they were (and there the book was not a lot of help, as it is not apparent what the cards correspond to in a traditional deck) The artwork is full of greens and blues, reds and golds... colors I would expect to be represented well. Some of the drawings though seem just a little off. I mean I realize that I am OCD, but these were details that to me seemed to leap out. In some cards it was as simple as a hand seeming to be drawn with a heavier line then the rest of the card, in others it was an almost overwhelming "fuzziness" to the picture that I am not sure if it was intentional, or if it was a result of a glitch in printing. And then there is the Two of Chalices. This poor woman's head just doesn't look right. It seems not quite to scale with the rest of her, and this unfortunate soul looks as though she is daft in the head and cross-eyed to boot. Yikes! I did like that every card has an animal element to it - some bird, fish, mammal or insect that ties into that card. The book states that the cards each have a unique herb/flower that corresponds as well, though I do not know enough about plants for this to have been obvious to me without having read it.
I did really like these two cards. They are cards that seem to turn up a lot for me, so I think I am drawn to them in most every deck. In the 10 of Wands we see that she is struggling with the way that she is carrying things, and if she would just adjust the path ahead is smoother. The squirrel is a neat touch, since they are representative of concentration. I did know enough to know that the plant in this picture is dill - which can represent both stress and willpower. The 3 of Athames was a really nice departure from the traditional heart stabbed through with swords. Instead we see a lone woman coming home to a dark house with the windows partially boarded over. There is no one here to share the space with, and you can feel her sadness and longing. The book states that the swan is there as a symbol of transformation and change, but the first thing I noticed was that it was a single swan. Swans are birds that mate for life, and the absence of said mate was something that really grabbed me.
THE DECK ITSELF
The deck is pretty consistent with the size of other Llewelyn decks that I have owned, so even with my tiny hobbit hands I am able to shuffle them easily. Problem is - I don't want to. The card stock to me seemed really flimsy, and I am terrified to shuffle them for fear of damaging them. I wish they had been just a touch stiffer. Someone who reads often with them may find them wearing out far too soon.
THE COMPANION BOOK
The book, written by Ann Moura, is the traditional size for one of these sets - I would say 5x8 ? It's glossy cover is nice and features the woman from the moon card in the inset. At 240 pages it is also pretty standard as far as length. Inside we find the introduction to the deck and to tarot itself before jumping right into the Major Arcana. Each card has a greyscale scan and blurb about the card. It includes keywords, reversed keywords and prompt words. The Majors also have a blank lined page for each to make notes. Sadly, this feature is not present with the Minors. With the exception of the single paragraph at the end highlighting the animal and plant for that card I found the card info to be bland and lackluster. In some cases it also didn't seem to mesh well with what one typically associates with the card. Finally in the back we have about 7 spreads, most pagan/witch themed in nature. The last eight pages or so of the book are advertisements for the author's other books.
This set just didn't do it for me. I don't know if it's because I seem to practice with darker dieties and worship (Anubis and Baron Samedi for example) that the pagan aspect didn't gel. I'm not really a "harm none", peace and nature kind of girl - maybe I was kidding myself thinking this would be a good fit for me. Right now I am torn what to do with it, but I am leaning towards selling or trading it. I might give it another couple days, before I call it quits.
If you are a pagan who is very nature based and doesn't mind the variation on the Majors then you might love this deck. I'm not sure I would recommend it to someone new to tarot though as it isn't quite traditional enough to make it easy to learn.
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