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Tarot of the Hidden Realm

Saturn Celeste

Tarot of the Hidden Realm

by Julia Jeffrey (Author), Barbara Moore (Author)

Cards: 240 pages

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications; Box Tcr Cr edition (September 8, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0738730424

ISBN-13: 978-0738730424

Purchase at: Llewellyn I Amazon

From the album:

Faerie Decks

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   3 of 3 members found this review helpful 3 / 3 members

Tarot of the Hidden Realm

By Jewel


The Tarot of the Hidden Realm by Julia Jeffrey was published by Llewellyn in 2013 as a deck and book set.  As someone who has a deep love of Faerie and elemental correspondences I could not resist adding this deck to my collection.


Ms. Jeffrey’s artwork is breathtaking and brings us up close and personal with the archetypal energies radiating from the denizens of the Hidden Realm.  The purpose? To ensure that we get the full experience of the archetype and the intimacy of the moment they are living. Ms. Jeffrey’s ability to convey meaning within the face is what makes this deck different from many other Faerie themed Tarot decks.  The Hidden Realm remains hidden and the characters on the cards are the doorways into the world of Faerie. Equal attention was given to the Major and Minor Arcana, creating a very artistically balanced deck.  The overall deck is very cohesive and full of original depictions of traditional cards.


I would like to address a couple of common criticisms I have read about this deck.  I have read reviews and comments eluding that the deck is too character focused and cards are too portrait like – meaning too much emphasis on the character vs. the overall scene – this deck was purposefully created to do just that.  It was designed to bring us face to face with the characters in the card to experience what they are feeling and experiencing.  A second complaint I have read deals with the lack of mature looking characters of various cards, most notably the Kings (with exception of the King of Pentacles).  It is important to remember that Faeries can use glamour, and also due to their very long or possibly immortal lives, they will not age like humans.  In a deck populated by humans the lack of mature looking characters would have bothered me, but in a Faerie based deck I have no personal issue with it.


The deck has the traditional number of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.  The deck is the standard Llewellyn sized deck (approximately 2 3/4" by 4 1/2" inches). The cards are borderless, with a ½ inch metallic gold border on the bottom containing the name of the card.  Being a huge fan of borderless decks, I was very pleased with this.  The card stock is your traditional Llewellyn card stock, easy to riffle shuffle but of good quality. The card backs are non-reversible with a grey scale design that to my eye could either be the face of a stylized dragon or plant based creature.  The card backs are non-reversible.


Five of the Major Arcana have been renamed:  The Chariot becomes Faery Stallion, The Wheel of Fortune becomes Fortune Faery, The Devil becomes Shadowdance, The The Tower becomes The Blasted Beech, and Judgement becomes Life Renewed.  Strength is placed at position VIII and Justice at position XI.  The Suits retain the traditional names and elemental correspondences of Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Pentacles/Earth, and Swords/Air.  The court cards are King, Queen, Knight, and Page.  The aces of each suit are represented by an animal as follows:  Cups/Otter, Wands/Fox, Pentacles/Hedgehog, and Swords/Heron.


Like many of the modern decks these days, you will not find the corresponding number of suit symbols on the numbered card itself (i.e. three actual swords on the 3 of swords card) what you will find is a character in a situation that conveys the feeling and meaning of the card.  As noted in the companion book, this deck has strong ties to elemental correspondences and number symbolism.  Though I could get much from the faces and my personal Tarot knowledge, to fully understand some of the imagery I had turn to the companion book.  I did not find this deck to be as intuitive as I had hoped.  I do believe that once one becomes familiar with the characters through the book, then one could read intuitively with it.  A great example is the 4 of Cups, without reading the book I would never have known the character was starting to transform from human form to Selkie.  Combined, the image and book description gave a beautiful depth in meaning to the card.


The deck comes with a 213 page companion book, authored by Ms. Barbara Moore.  I found it deep and profound in describing the inhabitants of the Hidden Realm, and very educational in non-card specific related sections.  The Hidden Realm section of Chapter 1 really lays out the suit meanings, elemental correspondences and how to use them, as well as the numerology used.  This section is a must-read section before working with this deck.  Chapter 2 is about Reading Essentials, and is a great section for those new to Tarot.  Chapter 3 features the Major Arcana, Chapter 4 The Minor Arcana by suit.  Chapter 5 is about Spreads and includes the 3 card Past-Present- Future spread, a 4 card “What is Hidden?” spread, and a 7 card “What is Hidden? #2” spread which combines the previous two readings into one spread.  The final spread is a 6 card spread titled “The All-Around Advice Spread” in which you divide your deck into Majors, Court Cards, and by suit and will draw one card from each.  Chapter 6 is about Faerie Guides and is about visiting the Faerie Realm.  It also includes a New Moon Journey, and a section on Partnerships. 


I like this deck but it is one where I found the book necessary to get good readings.  This deck speaks more at an emotional level, and the beautiful expressive faces of the characters are magnificent conduits to understanding the emotions, especially after you read about the character and what they are experiencing.  This is not true for all cards, but I found it was the case for most.  Understanding elemental correspondences and elemental interactions between cards in a spread is also very helpful, again the book provides that information in an easy to understand manner, so this should not be a deterrent.  I personally love elemental correspondence and numerological associations so these were aspects I truly loved about the deck.


I would not recommend this deck for a beginner due to the character-focus of the deck.  With the book beginners can use it but there are easier decks to learn with more recognizable imagery.  I recommend this deck to those who love faeries, like using the book along with the cards (until you become familiar with the characters and their stories), and those who like using elemental correspondences with Tarot.  I think the deck would also be attractive for writers.  If you are looking for esoteric symbolism this is not the deck you are looking for.

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