Review by Bonnie Cehovet
“Crystal Visions Tarot” is brought to us by fantasy artist Jennifer Galasso. The beautiful, soft artwork bring to mind another of my favorite decks, the “Shadowscapes Tarot”, by Stephanie Pui Mun Law. I love the colors and sense of grace in this deck. The intention with this deck was to create art that was unique, but that would be close enough to traditional imagery to allow new readers to learn the Tarot easily.
The name for this deck was inspired by the Stevie Nicks CD “Crystal Visions”. Galasso also attributes her interest in the spiritual realm to Stevie's haunting voice, ethereal nature, and poetic lyrics. Her interest in crystal balls is also evident in the deck's imagery. While not intended by the artist, I have to agree with a comment in the introduction that some of the imagery in this deck does bring to mind the faerie realm.
This is a traditional 78 card deck. The traditional names are kept for the Major Arcana, with Strength at VIII, and Justice at XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. The Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight, and Page. There is one additional card in the Major Arcana, entitled the Unknown Card. It represents an answer that is not yet ready to be revealed. I love decks with an extra card like this – we can all identify with Kat Black's Happy Squirrel in the “Touchstone Tarot”, and who doesn't adore the Artist in Monica Clio Sakki's “Sakki Sakki Tarot”! The Unknown Card can refer to something from the past, or something that is going to happen in the future. The area that this card falls in indicates where steps need to be taken to clarify the big picture. There is also a hint to move forward with an open mind, leaving all bias behind. I loved this card before I even knew what it represented – my thought was “Yes! Another deck with a card that is “gifted”!”
The LWB (Little White Book) that accompanies this deck gives a short introduction, then presents each card, text only. The energy of the card is discussed, with upright and reversed meanings. At the end of the LWB the layout for the Celtic Cross is given – meanings only, no sample reading. This is followed by several blank pages to take notes on.
The cards are 2 3/4” by 4 3/4”, with a slick card stock. The backs have a 1/4” white border, surrounding a gorgeous center done I shades of lavender, with roses and vines in the four corners, and a round globe in the center, surrounded by vines and roses. In the middle of the top and the bottom is an upright chalice. The backs are reversible.
The card faces show the same 1/4” white border, with the card title in across the bottom, with the background color indicating the suit: the Major Arcana is yellow, Wands are light red, Cups are pink, Swords are blue, and Pentacles are gray. The artwork is done in a fantasy style, using reds, greens, lavender, and dark brown predominately. There is a sense of gentleness and “otherworldliness” that draws one in, and makes one feel right at home.
This is one deck that if I had my way, I would talk about each and every card! However, that is not allowed, so we will look at the cards that pulled me in the strongest. One of my birth cards is the Hermit, so that is one card that I look at in every deck. If there was a make or break card for me, this would be it. Here we see a lone figure, in a lavender robe, sitting atop a mountain, with a lamp in their left hand. They face the right hand side of the card, generally considered to represent the future. To me, they appear very wistful.
The Empress stands in the middle of a garden, wearing a bright red dress, and carrying a triskele scepter in her right hand. She holds a heart shaoed charm. Lush greenery is behind her, as well as a tree with bright green foliage and ripe red fruit. In the upper right hand corner of the card we see beautiful butterfly's.
The Lovers shows a man and a woman embracing, with flowers in the right and left hand lower corners. The figures are bound by ties held by two doves,
The Unknown Card is an extra card added tot his deck to represent that which we are not ready to know yet. What an incredible card, with the female figure holding a crystal ball in her left hand, wIn her right hand is ith lit candles on her upper right hand side and lower left hand side. In front of her we see the shadow of an owl. Her whole body posture invites the Seeker to peer into the crystal ball!
The Queen of Cups is shown seated on a rock, surrounded by water lilies and dragonflies, wearing a lavender gown. In her left hand she holds a cup, in her right hand a trident staff.
The Ten of Swords in this deck is one of the least scary, but saddest, images of this card that I have seen in any deck. A female figure is face down in the snow, bloody, with ten swords in her back. She is surrounded by snow and barren trees. The clouds in the sky behind her are attempting to part, indicating that there is hope.
The Eight of Pentacles shows a female figure, standing at her spinning wheel, paying ardent attention to her work. I like this card because she is working outside, with greenery surrounding her and a tree behind her.
The Knight of Wands is seated on his horse, which is rearing up, indicating action. In his right hand is what appears to be a lit torch.
The Fool in this deck just carries incredible energy! The figure is a female, with dark, flowing hair. She stands on a precipice, one foot on land and one in the air. There is a trail of butterfly's in the air to her right.
I found this deck very easy to read with, and feel that it would be a great deck to offer clients as a choice for their readings. The art alone is gorgeous, and the additional card (the Unknown Card) to me opens up new avenues for reading. It could simply be taken out of the deck if the reader preferred not to use it.
© November 2011 Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.