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Deviant Moon Tarot

Deviant Moon Tarot

Author: Patrick Valenza
Language: EN
Card size: 2.75" x 5.125" (6.5 x 13 cm)
Weight: 0.76 lb(s)
ISBN: 978-1-57281-636-7
Included: 78 cards and 48-page booklet

Talented artist Patrick Valenza presents uniquely alternative interpretations of traditional tarot with symbolism inspired by childhood dreams. Stylized moon-faced characters created from manipulated photographs of 18th-century tombstones are set against evocative backgrounds. Incorporated into the artwork are surreal scenes of distant smoke stacks, insane asylums, and abandoned buildings.


Valenza’s booklet gives interesting card descriptions and interpretations, both upright and reversed. The symmetric card backs, showing different phases of the moon, allow for reversed readings. Also included in the booklet is a unique ten-card spread called the Lunatic Spread, which mimics the shape of the full moon, and derives energy from its circular pattern.


Deviant Moon Tarot has drawn something of a cult following and was voted as the Top Tarot Deck of All Time by Aeclectic Tarot readers.  Buy the deck from Amazon.


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Photo Information for Deviant Moon Tarot



Deviant Moon Tarot

By Jewel


The Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza was originally published by US Games Systems, Inc. in 2008, and a borderless edition was published in 2014.  The creation of this deck began early in Mr. Valenza’s childhood.  As he notes in the introduction of the little white book (LWB), his interest in Tarot began at the age of 9 and so did his renderings of tarot cards though he did not start work in earnest on the deck we see today until around 2004.  The inspiration of this deck encompasses over 30 years of his life.  Mr. Valenza goes on to share how the moon has always been a psychic friend to him “A sentinel of the night, it feeds my dreams and casts a strange glow on the way I see the colors of reality.”   His deck certainly reflects that.


In the LWB introduction, Mr. Valenza tells us of his intrigue with the melancholy side of life and how he strives to express that in his art. This is beautifully achieved in the surreal and textured illustrations that resulted from the photo manipulation of his actual drawings, photographs he took of Long Island Graveyards, and a of close by abandoned insane asylum.  The textured clothing, armor, boots, trims, etc., worn by the Deviant Moon characters are the product of photo manipulation, bending and twisting, of these photos. Elements of these photos were also used in the backgrounds as described by the artist “Rotted doors, windows, and walls became castles, factories, and cities.”  If you find the images already disturbing, this information just adds a whole new layer to that!


Mr. Valenza has dispensed with early Tarot Victorian Tarot iconography, with Golden Dawn influences, and created something different.  A new evolution in Tarot where the imagery reels the senses, and the cards become active.  This is one of those decks that does not need a book, the art lays the meanings of the Tarot cards bare for all to see; a feast for intuitive readers.  Though the faces of the characters of the Deviant Moon are mechanical, and mask like, the actions being performed by them describe the meanings of the cards.  The textures and nuances bring added depth with something new to discover at every turn.


I am sure you are ready for me to get on with the specifics of the deck, so lets’ talk about some Tarot deck specifics as they relate to the Deviant Moon.  The deck measures 2 ¾” by 5 ¼”, so they are a little longer and thinner than usual.  The card stock is laminated and of good quality, easy to riffle shuffle.  The backs are dark brown with a cream-colored lunar design, and a gold crackle texture.  The cards are framed with a ¼” white border around the entire card both front and back.  The suit elements are represented within the illustrations and a Roman numeral depicting the card number is located at the top center of the image.  The title of the Major Arcana are in a gold colored box below the image within the frame.  The latest edition of the deck is borderless.  The cards are reversible and the LWB includes a description of the images, and upright and reversed meanings.


The deck consists of 78 cards – 22 Major Arcana, 56 Minor Arcana.  The Major Arcana retain all the traditional names.  Justice is in position VIII and Strength at position XI.  The Court Cards are Page, Knight, Queen, and King.  The suits are Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles.  What is special to me about this deck is that Mr. Valenza describes each suit within a societal context.  If you keep this in mind while reading it provides you with the motivation behind thoughts, feelings, and actions depicted on the cards.  The suit descriptions, as noted in the LWB are as follows:


• Swords: “The family of swords is a powerful clan, yet its members are troubled with conflict.  In spite of their problems, they persevere through strength and fortitude.”

• Wands: “The tribe of wands lives their life with passion and creativity.  When faced with problems, they use their ingenious imagination to overcome adversity.”

• Cups: “The realm of cups is filled with new promises.  They represent hopeful people who build harmonious relationships with their fellow citizens.”

• Pentacles: “Those who dwell in the city of pentacles are hardworking and industrious.  However, they sometimes pay the price of placing material gain over spiritual well-being.”


At the end of the LWB, The Lunatic Spread is offered.  It is 10 card spread, circular in shape, that derives its energy from the circular pattern.  The original packaging also included a large glossy fold out of the spread.


I often hear people refer to this deck as a “dark” deck.  I suppose it could qualify as this, but it is so much more.  This deck has humor, and depicts everyday life experiences.  The insane and the mundane.  The Deviant Moon inhabitants may not be human, but they live in a social structure and feel, think, and act as we do.  To Mr. Valenza, the deck is not only a testament to his art, but a record of his life.  As such, there are many personal elements the artist has incorporated into the images documenting his life.  The times on the clocks are often representative of events or other aspects of his life as noted in an interview the artist had with Dan Pelletier when he was reviewing this deck several years ago.  The review I am referencing can be found on Aeclectic Tarot, and if this review has peaked your interest in the deck I highly recommend reading Dan’s for some first-hand information about the cards from Mr. Valenza himself.


I recommend this deck especially to intuitive readers and those who want to read more intuitively.  This is a deck of the subconscious mind.  It is what some call a “plug and play” deck.  I would have no problem recommending it to a beginner, with the caveat to also pick up a Raider Waite Smith deck for comparisons and following text from most beginner books.  The deck takes a literal concept and illustrates it with a depth that adds layers of understanding and experiences that we can relate to.  It is exciting and active.  I have found this deck great for all kinds of readings.  It provides information in a straightforward and graphic matter.  This is a deck where the picture does say a million words.  The deck can also be humorous, hitting you in the face and making you laugh all at the same time.  I have used this deck for “shadow” work as well as regular readings and find it very versatile so I do not pigeon-whole it into any specific category of reading.  I have not used it for romance readings, but that might be something interesting to try!


The industrial/macabre surreal art style is not going to appeal to all audiences, and neither will the exploration of melancholy with a touch of lunacy.  Some will find the imagery disturbing.  Though the characters are not human, there is identifiable nudity.  This is a deck that might freak squeamish querents out, so I would recommend not offering it in a reading to aunt “Fifi.”

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