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The Mermaid Tarot
 

The Mermaid Tarot

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About the Author

Leeza Robertson (Las Vegas, NV) is the author of Tarot Court Cards for Beginners and Tarot Reversals for Beginners, and she’s the creator of two tarot decks, the Mermaid Tarot and Animal Totem Tarot. When she doesn't have her nose inside a book or her fingers dancing across a deck of cards, she runs her online class called the Moonbeamers, which focuses on tarot and the moon's cycles.

Julie Dillon (Los Angeles, CA) is a freelance artist whose clients include Simon & Schuster, Penguin, Tor, and Wizards of the Coast. She is the winner of several Hugo, Chesley, and Locus awards for best artist.

Product details

    Cards: 288 pages
    Publisher: Llewellyn Publications (February 8, 2019)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 073875109X
    ISBN-13: 978-0738751092
    Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 2 x 8.2 inches

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Jewel

  

Mermaid Tarot

By Jewel

 

The Mermaid Tarot by Leeza Robertson was published by Llewellyn in March of 2019 as a deck and book set.  In Ms. Robertson’s Introductory Note in the companion book she notes that the deck “started with a single irritating idea … an idea that just would not go away and die somewhere quietly.”  Many of us have seen plenty of themed decks go wrong, and themes such as mermaids who live in water can be especially difficult to execute into a quality Tarot deck.  Add to that mermaids were never Ms. Robertson’ thing, but the Siren kept singing and well ... she is a mermaid person now, and I for one am glad that Siren would not leave her alone.  I have waited for a well-done mermaid Tarot deck for ages and finally have one!

 

The illustrations by Ms. Julie Dillon are wonderful.  They are done with well executed graphic art, the colors are brilliant and vivid, there is great ethnic diversity, gender representation, and the mermaids and mermen are all very expressive.  I typically have hang ups about mermaids wearing clothes (tops to be specific), but the fact that these mermaids wear tops does not even bother me.  I have to admit, that really surprised me!  One of the other things I really like about this deck, is that not only can you identify the suits by the ethnic composition, but by the style of the mermaid tails which gives the deck such cohesion.

 

I am sure you are ready for me to get on with the specifics of the deck, so lets’ talk about the Mermaid Tarot.  The cards measure 2 ¾” by a little over 4 ½”, usual Lewellyn size.  The card stock is your usual Llewllyn fare, easy to riffle shuffle.  The backs have a beautiful seaweed inspired design with a golden orb at the center on a gradient blue to white background and are reversible.  The cards are borderless, and the numbers and titles are spelled out in a small aqua colored banner at the bottom of each card.

 

The deck consists of 78 cards – 22 Major Arcana, 56 Minor Arcana.  The Major Arcana retain all the traditional names though the art is original and there are some different takes or perspectives on some of the Majors.  Strength is in position VIII and Justice at position XI.   The Court Cards are Page, Knight, Queen, and King and show a progression of maturity.  The suits are Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles.  The deck is intended to be read with reversals.  Your traditional Rider-Wait-Smith inspired structure.

 

What is special to me about this deck is how Ms. Robertson turned a watery world into an expressive world that captures the essence of the four suits and elements.  Granted, the seasonal correspondences end up varying from many are used to using, but it works well with the suits and the theme of the deck.  How did she accomplish this?  By setting each suit into a different type of watery kingdom with a domain over a particular environment where the essence of the suit would stand out through their activities of daily living within those environments.  Here are the descriptions from the book with some commentary from me on the imagery of the cards:

 

·         “The kingdom of wands is represented by the guardians of the volcanoes.” – this suit has a real Polynesian feel to it through the ethnic characteristics of the mermaids and mermen as well as the traditional tribal tatoos, not to mention  the volcanic environment.

 

·         “The kingdom of pentacles is represented … by the guardians of lakes, rivers, and waterfalls.  These mer-folk look after all land-based waterways.” – this suit includes various ethnicities, some merfolk look as though they might could even be inspired by the American Indians.

 

·         “The kingdom of cups is represented by the guardians of the deep ocean.  They reside in the never-ending vast spaces of the sea and control the wild currents, manage weather, and patrol the deepest darkest caverns.” – here again we see a variety of ethnicities including African American, Caucasian, and Hispanic.

 

·         “The kingdom of swords is filled with the guardians of the polar ice caps.  Harsh terrain, isolation, and wilderness are their domain.”  If you are into Game of Thrones I would tell you these mermaids look like they could be related to the Targeryans’, they all have white hair and pale skin.

 

The court cards in this deck are some of my favorites.  As noted in Chapter 1 of the companion book “The kings and queens of the Mermaid Tarot are gods and goddesses in their own right – they have power, prestige, and thousands of years of knowledge to share with you ... The knights of the Mermaid Tarot share lessons in honor, respect, and duty.  They remind us of all the things that can and should be done for the betterment of our lives and the community we live in … The pages connect us to the energy of wonder of the inner child, back to the time when we were just learning about who we are and discovering who we might like to be when we grow up.”  So much like in the Major Arcana, the Court Cards utilize some universal archetypes.  I find this to be a real plus for those of us that have or do struggle with interpreting the Court Cards.  The referenced Gods and Goddesses for the Kings and Queens by suit are as follows:

 

·         Queen of Cups:  Nammu, the Summerian Sea Goddess who according to Wikipedia: “gave birth to An (heaven) and Ki (earth) and the first gods, representing the Apsu, the fresh water ocean that the Sumerians believed lay beneath the earth, the source of life-giving water and fertility in a country with almost no rainfall.”

·         King of Cups:  Triton, son of the Greek Gods Poseidon and Amphitriate, and a God in his own right.  In Greek Methology he is the messenger of the sea.  We also know him as Ariel’s dad in The Little Mermaid.

 

·         Queen of Wands:  The Hawaiian Goddess Pele, “goddess of volcanoes and fire and the creator of the Hawaiian Islands.” (Wikipedia).  In this deck she is described as the goddess of creation and destruction.  This is probably my favorite Queen in this deck, she is the perfect embodiment of the Queen of Wands.

·         King of Wands: Kamohoalii, a shark god from Hawaiian mythology who according the companion book is a protector and ruler.

 

·         Queen of Pentacles:  The Lady of the Lake from Arthurian Legends.  The companion book shares this tidbit with us: “…known as the creator of leaders, warriors, and kings.”  The book also notes she in not someone we want to mess with.  I love the power this deck gives this queen, it expresses her as both nurturing and fierce.

·         King of Pentacles:  The companion book calls this King Conduits, the God of Rivers.  I did a little research on this God but came up empty.  Here is what the companion book says about him: “In order to understand the material world, one must first learn about flow …. the King of Pentacles means being grounded yet flowing much like Conduits, god of rivers.”

 

·         Queen of Swords:  Though her name is not given, she is referenced as Goddess of Winter.  In the companion book she is described as “the keeper of reason, order, and harsh realities.”

·         King of Swords:  Boreas, Greek God of the cold north wind.

 

I do wish Ms. Robertson had provided more detailed information on the Gods and Goddesses used, but the fact that she did not is not a make or break deal for me.  Just personal curiosity.  Between the descriptions in the companion and the art by Ms. Dillon I had no problem with these Courts and found them quite easy to read by just looking at them.  As I noted earlier, they are some of my favorite Tarot Court cards.

 

When I think of the companion book for this deck the first word that comes to mind is luscious.  A Guide to The Mermaid Tarot is a glossy and a full colored visual delight.  It is not just the full page sized colored images of the cards, the entire book is in color.  It is beautiful.  A Guide to The Mermaid Tarot opens with an introductory note from Leeza Robertson speaking about how she came to create the deck.  It is funny and honest, and made me feel like she was sitting across the table talking to me about it.  Chapter 1, The Flow of the Deck, sets the tone of the deck explaining to the reader “Each tarot deck interprets the concepts and ideas of the seventy-eight cards in a unique way.  Here in the Mermaid Tarot, you will notice the story, ideas, and concepts of the cards have been told through the lens of mermaid mythology.  Each part of this deck adds to the many stories already written about those who live under the water, deep beneath the surface.”  Chapter 1 then goes into the Majors, asking the reader to see the merfolk in this part of the deck as their teachers and guides.  The Majors section is followed by the Minor Aracana and Court Cards section from which I have already shared some information with you in previous sections of this review.  There is a small section called The Numbers at a Quick Glance which provides some key words for numbers 1-10.  Chapter 2 is titled Taking the Cards for a Swim and opens with several pages giving the reader a step-by-step approach to doing a reading which will be very helpful to beginners.  Following the step-by-step process is a section titled A Note on Reversals and Ms. Robertson encourages the reader to try using the reversals and puts a plug in for her book Tarot Reversals for Beginners.  Chapter 3 is where the cards start with The Major Arcana.  For each card you have a full colored/full sized glossy picture of the card being discussed, a description of the image and information about that archetype and then you have a section on the upright and then on the reversed meaning of the card.  Chapter 4 is about The Minor Arcana and to my delight it was formatted the same manner as the Majors.  The last chapter is Chapter 5 Mermaid Magic and Spreads and includes the following spells:  A Spell for Healing, A Spell for Love, A Spell for Money.  It also includes the following spreads: Daily Journal Prompt Spread (single card), Two Heads are Better Than One Spread (two cards), What, Where, How Three-Card Spread, The Four Elements Spread (five cards).  The book then closes with a Final Note from the author.  Overall, I really enjoyed reading and working with the companion book and found it helpful in understanding the deck and individual cards.

 

I used this deck for 30 days straight in readings, and it quickly became one of my favorites.  I will admit I am Pisces and love everything relating to water, and I am a mermaid lover; but I am also a Tarot enthusiast and reader.  The Mermaid Tarot did not only appeal to all of these things in me, it exceeded my expectations.  The readings were deep, meaningful, and enlightening.  This deck is really well thought out and executed and is a deck I will read with for years to come.  I applaud both Ms. Robertson and Ms. Dillon for being able to capture the real essence of the suits and elements within the concept and illustration of the Mermaid Tarot.  The merfolk that inhabit the deck are not doing human things under water, they are going through their everyday lives, challenges and joy within their kingdoms.  In a way the execution of theme reminds me of the masterful way The Victorian Fairy Tarot captured the lives of faeries during the different seasons of the year, but I digress.  The Mermaid Tarot is well suited to all types of readings.

 

I recommend this deck to those of you that:  have been waiting for a quality mermaid themed deck, love Faerie and fantasy themed decks, intuitive readers, and readers of all levels. If you enjoy incorporating elemental and/or seasonal correspondences to your readings you will also enjoy this deck. I would have no problem recommending the Mermaid Tarot to a beginner, with the caveat to also pick up a Raider Waite Smith deck (RWS) for comparisons and following text from most beginner books to make sense of cards where the meaning of the card has been expanded or viewed from a different perspective.  The symbolism in the Mermaid Tarot is not esoteric in nature, so it would not appeal to readers looking for astrological, Qabalah, and other esoteric symbolism.  As for Aunt Fifi, she would absolutely love this deck.  Nothing offensive here, everyone is dressed, and the deck is a beauty to look at.

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