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The Victorian Fairy Tarot

Saturn Celeste

The Victorian Fairy Tarot Cards

by Lunaea Weatherstone (Author), Gary A. Lippincott (Illustrator)

Cards: 264 pages

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

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0738731315

ISBN-13: 978-0738731315

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From the album:

Faerie Decks

· 5 images
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· Edited by Jewel


Victorian Fairy Tarot

By Jewel


The Victorian Fairy Tarot by Lunaea Weatherstone and art by Gary A. Lippincott was published by Llewellyn in 2013 as a deck and book set.  What a little gem it turned out to be.  I will be the first to say that at first glance I thought it would be a “fluff” deck with all those sweet little Victorian faeries, flowers, and pastel colors, but I was wrong.  This deck has teeth!  The Victorians took their faeries very seriously and so does this deck.


The artwork is lovely and looks like it has come straight out of a story book, and the cards read like that as well, which would also make this a great deck not only for tarot reading but for storytelling. Another fun element in this deck is the use of the Victorian flower language.  So those persons interested in this will really enjoy this aspect of the deck as well.  But the deck is very much a sound and well thought out Tarot deck.  In some ways the art seemed like a homage to Arthur Rackham.  In effect Ms. Weatherstone dedicates the deck and book to Mr. Rackham and to J. M. Barrie (author of Peter Pan).


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 cream-colored background, gold harp, leaves and bluebells.  Reversals are not used with this deck.  I did not find that to be a problem as the images speak volumes regarding the overall meanings of the cards, and the text in the book supports the depth of the imagery.


There is only one human in the deck, the Fool, the remainder of the cast of characters are all faeries.  Some of the majors have also been renamed:  The Magician becomes The Conjuror, The High Priestess becomes The Seeress, The Hierophant becomes The Vicar, The Lovers becomes The Fairy Bride, The Wheel of Fortune becomes The Wheel of Time, Justice becomes the Magistrate, The Hanged Man becomes The Hanging Fairy, The Devil becomes The Goblin Market, The Tower becomes The Burning Oak, The Star becomes The Stars, Judgement becomes The Awakening, The World becomes The Worlds.  The renaming really suits the Victorian and faerie theme.  Strength is placed at position VIII and The Magistrate (Justice) at position XI.


There is originality in the renaming of the suits from objects to seasons, and an original correspondence of seasons to suits:  Wands become Spring/Fire, Cups become Summer/Water, Pentacles become Autumn/Earth, and Swords become Winter/Air.  This deck probably has my favorite suit of Swords of any deck.  Though these seasonal correspondences are not what I was used to, I found them to work really well as you have the excitement and creative aspects of the Spring, summer love and water play in the Summer, the harvest in the Autumn, and the harshness and cold of Winter.  These seasonal activities and temperatures tie in very well making the theme of the deck work seamlessly.  Each suit represents a Fairy Court that rules during their specific time of the year and leadership then passes to the next Fairy Court as the new season comes to be.  The Court card structure is: Hearld (Page), Knight, Queen, and King.  I love the transition used on the Herald cards which is like a gateway between the passing and new seasons.


The deck truly captures the elegance, beauty, language of flowers, and true belief in the world of Faerie in the Victorian era.  But it balances this with the depth of Tarot in all of its aspects.  The take on some of the traditionally negative cards are really refreshing such as the Ten of Winter where the fairy man’s worst nightmare comes to pass as he runs to avoid being eaten by the badger.  There is no sugar coating, just a contextual variance befitting the theme of the deck.  The illustrated plants and flowers are also the real deal, not just associations of them. 


The deck comes with a 253 page companion book which I found very fun, interesting and useful.  It has an introduction which talks about the Victorian fascination with faeries, about the faerie society in miniature and how they are affected by the seasons, and of course about tarot.  It goes on to provide details about the structure of the deck, how to use the cards, reversals, and to care and feed your deck.  Then you have the section on the Majors which tells you about each card, what it means when you get the card in a reading, and some keywords.  The Minor Arcana section follows in the same structure.  The book contains black and white images of each card.  The fourth section of the book contains spreads:  A Fleeting Glimpse of Fairy (One-Card Reading); The Herald’s Welcome (A Seasonal Spread) which includes a 3 card reading for each season; Titania’s Dream which is a 7 card spread using the language of flowers as the positions in the spread; and The Dance of Happiness Spread which is a comprehensive 8 card spread using the cotillion dance moves (The Dance of Society published in 1879) to help you dance your way towards a happier disposition.  I tried and enjoyed all of the spreads offered in the book.  The Afterward is about why we should believe in Faeries, and then there is an Appendix on the Language of Flowers.


In sum, the deck is beautifully illustrated and executed including the companion book.  I would recommend this deck to anyone who loves faeries, the Victorian era, readers who like elemental and seasonal correspondences, writers, and intuitive as well as traditional readers that are not into the esoteric aspects of tarot.  The symbolism in this deck is Victorian, not esoteric.  This is also one of those decks that will not frighten querents nervous about Tarot. This deck will deliver its message in a straightforward matter of fact manner.  It seems perfectly suited to all types of readings.  I found this deck to be a true gem, and one that I will enjoy reading with for many years to come.  I am so glad I did not let my initial misgivings or stereotyping keep me from it.  Aunt Fifi loves this deck and always welcomes a reading with it.

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