Review by Solandia
The Tarot Dice is a unique product from Tarotocy Inc, unlike your usual deck of tarot cards. Intended to demystify the complexities of Tarot and act as an easy introduction for total newcomers, the 78 traditional archetypes have been pared down to a kind of tarot shorthand and etched onto the faces of thirteen dice.
Packaged in a clear plastic cylinder with a vinyl mat for spreads and a companion booklet of divinatory meanings, the six-sided dice are made of ivory coloured, solid, weighty plastic about 2.5 centimetres square. Each die is big enough for the simplified tarot symbols, etched into the faces and coloured in black, to be seen clearly.
The majors have been have been reduced to their core elements and symbols; The Hermit is a hand holding a lantern, Justice is a pair of scales, Strength is a lion's head. The minor images are pips, showing three coins, or six swords, or two wands. The court cards are the suit symbol combined with crowns (King and Queen), a shield (Knight), or a boy's head (Page). Some pictures have a slight kitschiness about them - The Fool is a jester's hat; The Magician a wizard's hat and wand; the Tower looks very similar to a rook from a chess set - but that's understandable in a product aimed at those totally unfamiliar with tarot.
The suggested method if use for the dice is pour them out of the cylinder onto the mat, one at a time. The lavender coloured Tarot Dice mat has a central Merlin-like magician leaning over an open book. To either side 13 numbered squares are laid out in a tarot spread, each labelled with the position meaning. (Two quibbles with the mat - 'attitude' in position 8 is misspelled; and I think the numbers would have been better off next to the squares, as it's not possible to see the order of dice when they are in position on the mat.) Unless the dice are very close to fully reversed, they should be read upright.
There is a limitation to the Tarot Dice. Certain tarot combinations can never occur because they are on the same die. While the lack of combinations like the Ten of Cups and Three of Wands, Strength and the Hermit, Lovers and the Three of Cups, are unlikely to bother the beginner, the more advanced tarot reader may miss the full spread of meaning. (Two sets would solve that problem, though, and allow for interesting combinations of multiple dice!)
As soon as I heard about the Tarot Dice, I wanted to review them for the novelty value. After handling and using them, I found them accessible to tarot beginners as well as a novel approach for experienced readers. There is none of the daunting task of learning seventy-eight different cards, nor the worries about keeping cards clean and undamaged. This tarot at its most non-threatening - not to mention indestructible.
Kate Hill (also known as Solandia) is the founder and editor of Aeclectic Tarot, and has reviewed more than 200 decks over the years.