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DruidCraft Tarot, The
 

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Deck and Book Set SKU 52699 ISBN: 978-0-312-31502-3 Box size: 6.5" x 10", Card Size 5.5" x 3.5" Philip & Stephani Carr-Gomm Illustrated by Will Worthington Available at: https://www.usgamesinc.com/the-druidcraft-tarot.html

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Celtic Decks

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Jewel

   2 of 2 members found this review helpful 2 / 2 members

The DruidCraft Tarot

by Jewel

 

The DruidCraft Tarot by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2005 as a deck and book set.  Thirteen years later this deck remains popular and has endured the test of time.  As the name implies it is based on a blend of Wicca and Druidry, in the words of the authors “Although the ways of the Wiccan and the Druid were – and still can be – quite distinct, many people now find that they can combine the teachings and practices of both traditions, following a path that some refer to simply as the Old Ways, but which can also be called DruidCraft (‘The Craft’ being an alternative name for Wicca or Witchcraft).”  The DruidCraft is a full on Pagan delight.  From the themes of the story of Ceridwen and Taliesin which encodes the teachings of the Alchemical Wedding, to sacred sites.  It is all there and accessible for those who wish to learn more about The Old Ways.

 

Will Worthington is the artist of The DruidCraft.  He also partnered with Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm to illustrate the Druid Animal Oracle and Druid Plant Oracle.  Aside from his work with Philip and Stephanie, he has also partnered with John Matthews to illustrate The Green Man Tree Oracle and the Camelot Oracle, and with Mark Ryan and John Matthews to illustrate The Wildwood Tarot.  His art is distinctive and recognizable.  As a Druid himself, he has a deep connection to the subject of the decks he has illustrated and it shows in the details.  The Court Cards in The DruidCraft are, in my opinion, some of the best court cards ever illustrated and the aforementioned oracle decks work fabulously as accompaniments to the DruidCraft Tarot.

 

This is a deck steeped in pagan lore, and a spiritual feast for those of us who are interested in learning more.  Looking at the cards I feel transported through space and time to the distant past when the sacred sites were in use.  Aside from the DruidCraft theme, this Rider Waite Smith (RWS) based deck can be used as any other Tarot deck, and for all types of readings so it is very universal in that sense.  Again, the Court Cards are a gem.  Equal attention was given to the quality of the Major and Minor Arcana art in this deck.

 

The deck has the traditional number of 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana.  The cards are oversized (approximately 3.54 x 5.51 inches), with a 1/4” white border.  The titles on the cards are located at the bottom of each card, in a box within that stone-looking border surrounding the image.  Due to the size of the deck it can be challenging to riffle shuffle.  The card stock is decent, so no complaints there.  If you are into trimming the borders off your decks, this deck looks stunning with the ¼” white border removed, and it becomes more manageable to shuffle.  The card backs are brown with a thin gold line as a border and small Celtic heart design in the center of the backs of the cards.  The backs are reversible.

 

Though the deck does follow the RWS system, in keeping with the DruidCraft theme some Major Arcana have been renamed:  The Empress becomes The Lady, The Emperor becomes The Lord, Temperance becomes The Fferyllt, The Devil becomes Cernunnos, and Judgement becomes Rebirth.  Strength is placed at position 8 and Justice at position 11.  The Suits retain the traditional names and elemental correspondences of Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Swords/Air, and Pentacles/Earth.  The court cards are King, Queen, Prince, and Princess.  As noted earlier in this review the Court Cards in this deck are some of my personal favorites, and it was the Court Cards from the DruidCraft that gave me some true “AHA!” moments that helped me unlock the meaning of these cards.  I would highly recommend them for people struggling with understanding Tarot Court Cards. The Minor Arcana numbered 1-10 follow the RWS system, are fully illustrated, and have the representative number of suit icon symbols represented on each card as part of the image.

 

The deck comes with a 192-page companion book.  The print and card pictures are all in a sepia tone.  The Introduction is a must read that speaks to the meeting of Wicca and Druidry (DruidCraft) which is the basis for the deck.  In this section of the book they discuss how Druidry and Witchcarft are living spiritualities and how these have changed over the centuries and been reformulated in the modern age.  They speak briefly about The Western Magical Tradition and The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and how these impacted both the spiritual traditions and the evolution of the Tarot.  The Introduction proceeds with other sources of inspiration for the DruidCraft Tarot including other Tarot decks based on Celtic and Druidic traditions, the teachings of Pythagoreanism, and old tales of the Bards.  The old tales of the Bards are seen within the imagery of the cards themselves. The next section of the book covers The Outer Mysteries and discusses the Minor Arcana:  Court Cards and cards numbered 1-10.  This section is followed by the Inner Mysteries which discuss the 22 Major Arcana. The sections on the cards include key words, descriptions, and upright and reversed meanings. The last section relates to How to Use the Cards and includes A Right of Blessing and Dedication for the cards, use of cards for divination, interpreting a spread, reversals, 6 Tarot spreads, and some sample readings.

 

In my personal experience with the deck I found the readings to be clear, and to flow like a Bards tale.  Though I rarely do this, I felt compelled to use a card from an oracle deck in conjunction with the readings, and used the Druid Plant Oracle, Druid Animal Oracle, and the Green Man Tree Oracle all in separate readings.  I found the use of the Oracle card to be very complimentary to the readings and would highly recommend trying this to anyone who owns any of these oracles and the DruidCraft.  The imagery of the deck is evocative, and Mr. Worthington draws on his Druid background and Celtic Interest to deliver a deck capturing the magic of the Old Ways.

 

I would not hesitate to recommend this deck to readers of all levels including beginners, those struggling with Court Cards, those that enjoy Celtic themed decks, and those interested in the Old Ways be it Druid, Wicca, or another form of nature based spirituality or seeking a deeper connection with the natural world and its rhythms.  It is not imperative that you have knowledge in the Old Ways, nor that you be seeking a deeper connection with nature.  Personally, I found a spiritual connection with the deck and think I will mainly use it for Lunar, Esbat and Sabbat readings, but it is suitable for readings of all types.  The DruidCraft is a solid choice, well-founded, includes esoteric and mystical traditions, and is a well-respected Tarot deck.  In my opinion, it stands as one of the best Pagan themed decks created to date.  There is frontal male nudity in the Hanged Man card and the Rebirth card.  In addition, The Lover’s card could be seen as little too graphic by some, so this deck may possibly offend some querents.

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