The Witchy Tarot
by Lo Scarabeo/Laura Tuan
A review by - Crystal Wind, CTR, CPTR, CTC
The Witchy Tarot (ISBN 0-7387-0445-8)by Laura Tuan, features beautiful, vivid artwork by Antonella Platano and is published by Llewellyn, Inc. It is immediately evident to be a modernistic depiction of the ancient practice of Wicca or Witchcraft. As a practicing witch and professional tarot reader, I am always intrigued when a tarot deck comes out sporting my favorite themes -- especially a witchy one.
The young witches who dance and move across this tarot deck are pony-tailed, youthful, dressed in jeans, and are displayed in very contemporary terms yet wear stereotypical pointed hats to indicate their chosen path in their every day lives. They are undeniably cute, charming, mischievous vixens, so more serious tarot readers may find this deck too playful or silly. I admit that my first reaction was much the same, and I was initially surprised and unimpressed by the roller skating, rather underdressed young witches with innocent and utterly silly expressions as depicted on the pip cards; yet as I worked with the deck more, I found this treatment of the tarot simply a lighter version of an old tradition and less offensive.
It is absolutely a whimsical and brightly colored deck, which when allowed that platitude, speaks to the modern mind easily with delightful characters which exemplify that (as the accompanying booklet describes) Young or old, a witch is hiding in every woman. Perhaps every witchy, light-hearted tarot reader will find this deck equally enjoyable and truly fun.
The Major Arcana cards do demonstrate more traditionally-dressed, mature witches who appear to be more experienced in their craft and demonstrate the lessons they have learned through experience along a life-long path in Wicca. Once past my original surprise with this deck, my own misconceptions became clear that this was a form of snobbery on my part, and I began to relax and enjoy the deck for what it is -- unique and sometimes tongue-in-cheek humor. It reminds one that it is wisdom to occasionally see humor in life and to be unafraid to laugh and play no matter how serious life can be.
Here is a delightful, fresh approach to a serious subject and one that is valuable for reading to the teen witch, house parties, and situations where the funny bone needs a bit of tickling. It is a great gift idea for a young reader and is based upon the format of the traditional Rider-Waite deck for ease in interpretation (although I prefer a new reader begin with a more traditional deck when starting out).
Also, The Witchy Tarot is based on symbolism and interpretation basic to many traditional formatted decks, it is further divided into groups of seven: Tools, Plants and Animals, which accompany the witchy subjects illustrated throughout the deck. The Devil (#22) does not, however, belong to any of those categories. The suits may also be a little confusing at first -- Chalices or Cups are Cauldrons, Pentacles or Disks are Boulders, Wands are Flames, and Swords are Broomsticks. That makes perfect sense, however, a bit daunting at first since with the broomsticks one might think they would represent fire as they would be similar to wands and as wood, burnable. Yet, if one thinks in witchy terms, their ancient use for broomsticks was for flying and achievement of mental aspirations and astral travel there is the AIR association!
The Court cards are also given a more witchy format: The Page becomes Celebration, the Knight becomes Moon, the Queen becomes Goddess, and the King becomes Trial. New readers may express confusion with these terms as associated with the cards, but it is noted in the accompanying pamphlet that the meaning of the card remains exactly as with a traditional Court Card. However, in a similarly witchy manner, I find that these cards do also interpret differently when considered for the way in which these words relate to the witch’s life path and tradition. For the non-witch who may find this treatment of the Court cards difficult, I offer this information.
Briefly, Celebration refers to seasonal practices such as Imbolc for Chalices, etc. Refer to the pamphlet by the author for further explanation. The Moon (Knight) is represented by the phases of the moon, i.e., Full Moon for Cups. The Goddess (Queen) is pretty self-explanatory and basically the same as the Queen in regular decks. The King which is represented by Trial, however, refers to the ritual performed. However, with all that said, the accompanying pamphlet explains that each Court card is interpreted exactly as it would be in a traditional deck as applied to a reading. I agree that this application of meaning to these cards which, by these somewhat confusing terms, are clearly deemed as relating to the Craft, but I encourage a little experimentation and you will fit them into your sensibilities very easily.
I do recommend The Witchy Tarot for the young-at-heart reader, the more serious-minded Witch who can still laugh at life, and the teenage practitioner of the Craft who finds humor in life experiences each day. If you wear blinders and are too serious, this is not a deck for you. However, whether a reader is just a witchy woman who enjoys whimsy in all forms -- this deck is for YOU! So Mote it Be and Blessed Be!Back to Index