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Shadowscapes Tarot Deck
 

Shadowscapes Tarot Deck

PurplePixie03

Authors: Barbara Moore and Stephanie Pui-Mun Cost: $19.38 on Amazon or $21.87 for the book ISBN: 0738715794 Weight: 1.3 pounds Language: EN

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Jewel

   1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

Shadowscapes Tarot

By Jewel

 

This is a deck I was chomping at the bit to get from watching images of it surface while it was in progress.  Published in 2010 by Llewellyn, Shadowscapes is one of the prettiest decks I have seen.  Stephanie began painting the deck in 2004, in her own words “Like the Fool, I stood on the precipice of this project, teetering on the edge of a vast unknown – … Each one [cards] bears the mark of my meditations as I wondered through a changing landscape of existence.”  The meditative work she did is reflected in the infinite details contained in the images.  A true to gift to the tarot world.

 

Stephanie Pui-Mun Law’s watercolor art is simply breathtaking.  There is a dreaminess and other worldliness to it that just draws me in and transports me to its magical landscape that flows like poetry.  Call it faerie or fantasy it is like walking in a dream.  Both Major and Minor Aracana are treated the same artistically.  There is so much there to absorb, and always new things to discover.  Her love of storytelling, be it her own or timeless stories told by others is beautifully captured and comes through in this deck of cards.

 

The deck is your traditional Llewellyn deck and card stock, measuring approximately 4.60” X 2.60”.  I am not overly fussy about card stock so I have no problem with it.  The cards have a thin metallic lilac border ¼” on three sides and ½” at the bottom where the titles of the cards are contained.  The Major Arcana are numbered with Roman Numerals and the Minor Aracana has the name of the Arabic number spelled out along with the suit.  The backs of the cards are purple with a circular design with a white aura surrounding it.  The circular design includes an outer circle that reflects creatures that populate the suits though they make me think of an elaborate Celtic version of them.  At the center of the design is a white sun.  The cards are reversible, though Stephanie did not design the deck to be read with reversals.  As a result, the book does not contain reversed meanings.  The deck follows the Rider-Waite Smith system but is by no means a “clone.”  Stephanie’s approach is one of following and being true to the Rider-Waite system yet representing various aspects of the meanings.

 

There are no changes to the naming of the Major Arcana.  Strength is in position VIII and Justice at IX.  The court cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King.  The traditional suit names and elemental correspondences are used:  Wands/Fire, Cups/Water, Swords/Air and Pentacles/Earth. The corresponding number of suit icons are present within the illustration.  I have to admit, I prefer decks where the illustrations capture the meanings of the cards without showing the actual suit icons, but in the case of Shadowscapes they are so flawlessly incorporated that they do not detract or take over the illustration, but become a natural part of the scene depicted. 

 

As a reader who loves elemental correspondences, I find this deck excellent for incorporating them in my readings.  Each suit is populated by different denizens of this dream or fantasy world. In the Wands suit you will find lots of foxes and felines.  The cards are colored in amber and orange tones reflecting the fire element.  In the cups you will find mermaids and mermen, as well as fish and host of other marine life.  The thematic color of this suit is tones of blue reflecting the element of water.  The suit of swords includes a lot of birds, especially swans and crows.  The swords thematic color is purple which I do not associate with air but the birds populating the cards do.  Finally, the Pentacles are populated with chameleons, lizards, and dragons.  The thematic color is green.

 

The 253 page companion book is written by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, and between Barbara’s tarot knowledge and ability to concisely provide some great basics in tarot and Stephanie’s poetic description of the cards and their meanings it is an informative, useful, and substantial companion.  Barbara’s robust 15 page introduction section includes not only an introduction but information on: Tarot Basics, Making Meanings, Deck Structure (including key words associated with numbers and court cards), Traditional Meanings and The Artist’s Vision (which opens the reader to Stephanie’s changes in imagery), The Question, Position in the Spread, A Word on Reversals (which were not intended in this deck but can be used), Readings, Basic Reading Steps, and Beyond the Basics which includes information on: rituals, shuffling/cutting/dealing, scanning the reading, cleansing, and keeping a journal.  In the second section of the book, Stephanie provides a poetic description of each card and the card meaning.  The final section of the book includes the following spreads:  One-Card Spreads, Three Card Spreads, The Celtic Cross, Is Love in the Stars?, Will it Last?, Balancing Act, A Journey, Message from the Universe, and Dream Come True.

 

I have said a lot of good things about this deck, and I meant each and every one of them, but just as I admitted I was chomping at the bit to get the deck and love the way the suit icons have been incorporated, I was also disappointed when I opened it to a point where I did not use it for years.  To be honest, the only reason I actually ended up giving this deck a try was because my partner in a reading circle here on TT&M requested a reading with that deck, and later I began mentoring a TT&M member that is using this deck.

 

Why did I not want to use it you ask? Because Llewellyn did a disservice to this deck by making the illustrations look so small (despite cards being normal sized) and then adding borders to it.  The borders are not detracting, it is just simply with the card size it would have been nicer to have a little bit larger images vs. the borders, or even though I would hate to loose some of the stunning backdrops maybe cropping the images a little would have helped.  The small imagery is a big deal to me because it is the imagery that sparks my intuition and these cards are full of details.  To really see all the details – which really adds to readings –  I have to find images online and enlarge them.  The book does include large images of each card but they are in black and white which just don’t do it for me personally. This is my only complaint.  Llewellyn, if you are listening I am not the only one that feels this way, and we would be grateful if you could publish a large edition of this deck. There is a larger sized Czech version of this deck titled Tarot Skrytych Svetu, which I would love to get my hands on some day.

 

Overall I found the deck to be very deep and poetic.  It is not “fluffy.”  I really enjoy using it for personal and spiritual development readings, though it makes a good general reading deck as well.  I have no problem recommending this deck with the caveat regarding the difficulty in seeing the details in the imagery.  If you have perfect vision, or don’t mind looking up cards on the internet and enlarging them, or using a magnifying glass then you will most likely not have any complaints, just a wish that Llewellyn hears us as I do.

 

The Shadowscapes Tarot is great for Tarot enthusiasts of all levels.  The book facilitates the use of this deck by those new to Tarot thanks to Barbara’s comprehensive introduction section.  Intuitive readers or those expanding their intuitive reading abilities should give this deck a try.  Though not a Faerie deck per se, I do believe people who like faerie and fantasy themed decks will enjoy this deck.  Those interested in storytelling and writing will also like this deck.  If you are looking for a deck steeped in esoteric symbolism this is not the deck you are looking for.  I did however notice that animal and flower symbolism is present in this deck as well as elemental and color associations.  In addition, it is a good deck to use with querents that are nervous about Tarot as whole, so I would have no problem reading for Aunt Fifi with it.

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