Review by Bonnie Cehovet
I was extremely lucky, and was able to obtain one of eight “Deviant Moon” decks that Patrick (please excuse the informality – this is how it seems best to address this esteemed artist/Tarotist) charged under the recent Super Moon. The consideration Patrick gave to not only charging a deck for his own use, but to graciously offer several charged decks for sale to the Tarot public left me astounded and even more appreciative of this phenomenal person.
The deck arrived as promised – wrapped in black with silver markings, with the cover card and inner flap of the card box signed. Not just signed – pentacles graced both side flaps, with the longer top flap signed with his name and a little signature drawing. Of course I was very careful to slice the tape on the black wrapping very carefully so that nothing was torn! The wrapping is as much a “keeper” as the deck itself!
Because of the charged nature of the deck, it will be set aside for personal readings and ceremonial/ritual work. Patrick – many thanks for offering us this delightful opportunity!
When I first came across the “Deviant Moon” Tarot, I wasn’t sure that it was for me. As it kept crossing my path over time, it just drew me in. Those things happen! Patrick’s blog is of course now on my RSS feed!
The “Deviant Moon” was created with what Patrick refers to as “photographic manipulation” – each card beginning with a complete drawing which was scanned into the computer, then layered with various photographic texture. I was astounded to read that most of the clothing worn by the citizens of the Deviant Moon was nineteenth century tombstones that were bent and twisted digitally to become capes, boots, hats and trim! I might want to mention here that the foundation for this deck came from gently tiptoeing around the graveyards of eastern Long Island, New York, with a bit of influence from mental asylums!
The artwork is abstract (to say the least!), with influences from ancient Greek art. The figures were drawn flat, with an emphasis on heavy light and shadow. As the deck progressed, the characters began to evolve into the form that we see now – moon-faced brings. The incredible twilight energy of the cemetery influence, along with the lunar influence of the moon faces is stunning. What looks like perhaps an art deck at first takes you laces that you never thought you could go – places that you never thought existed. This will certainly be a deck that I use when I need to nudge myself out of the doldrums, and it certainly works well as a comparative deck – i.e. a deck used in a comparative reading, where the cards are drawn from one deck, interpreted, and then the same cards are drawn from a second deck to get another sense of what is there. (Many thanks to Valerie Sim for making this a widely used tool within the Tarot community through her work.)
The symbolism in this deck comes from Patrick’s childhood dreams and from his own fertile imagination. The deck itself is a traditional 78 card deck, with the Major Arcana carrying traditional titles. Justice is VIII, Strength is XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The Court cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King.
Patrick defines the suits as follows:
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 the cups is filled with new promises. They represent hopeful people who build harmonious relationships with their fellow citizens.
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.
Pentacles: Those who dell in the city of pentacles are hardworking and industrious. However, they sometimes pay the price of placing material gain over spiritual well-being.
The LWB (Little White Book) presents the cards in text format only. The cards are presented with a short description of the card’s energy, along with upright and reversed meanings. From the LWB:
XVIII The Moon
The deviant moon casts its powerful influence over the city, controlling minds like a puppeteer.
Upright meanings: Brainwashing. Dark influences. Trickery. Illusion. Subconscious control.
Reversed meanings: Avoiding reality. Strange forces. Delusional thoughts. Lies and despair.
Nine of Wands
Trapped in an underground maze, the lad searches for a way out. Resting on a ledge, he considers giving in to his seemingly hopeless situation. Eight wands mark the path to a possible exit. A ninth wand ignites his resolve not to give up.
Upright meanings: Stopping to ponder during challenging events. A pause. Summoning the will to continue with a struggle. Hope.
Reversed meanings: Delay. Insurmountable obstacles. Giving up. Lack of motivation or willpower.
Queen of Pentacles:
The gracious queen revels in her luxurious lifestyle. However, she is somewhat detached from the needs of her people. She shows her royal pentacle to an audience of dolls, mistakenly believing that society will benefit from this act of misplaced charity.
Upright meanings: Luxury. Affluence. A gracious hostess. Charity and generosity.
Reversed meanings: Dependent on others for monetary support. Untrustworthy. Poor social graces.
The spread presented at the end of the LWB is the ten card Lunatic Spread. A very nice incluse are several blank pages meant for notes.
The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 5 ¼”. They are of good quality card stock. The backs have a ¼” white border, with a gold and black inner border. Crescent moons sit in the four corners, with a full moon in the center, surrounded by crescent moons worked into graphics. The background is black, the symbols are gold. The backs are reversible.
The card faces show a ¼” white border, with a gold strip on the bottom of the card on the Major Arcana and the Court cards containing the card title in white. The Major Arcana and Pips show the card number in Roman numerals at the top of the card, in white.
The Hermit, which is one of the cards that I look at first in a new deck because it is one of my Birth Cards, shows a figure hiding in his alcove, seated, with his knees up and his arms over his head. The rotten fish beside him shows that we can never hide from ourselves.
The Empress is quite interesting, as her body faces the right (generally taken to be the future), while he head is twisted to the left (generally taken to be the past). She holds a flower in her hand that emanates from her body (quite interesting!).
The Devil is an adorable figure in red, with gray wings, dancing on a volcanic globe that he has created with his own actions.
The Eight of Cups shows a female figure in a red dress, walking away from the cups, both arms raised with her hands pushing the cups away from her. She is abandoning her old ways.
The Four of Pentacles is quite a unique card, showing a figure holding his four pentacles to his chest, while on his left hand side a demon escorts him into the roaring flames of damnation.
I love the depiction for the Sun, which shows the sun in full light, with yods dropping from it and two figures (twins) dancing in front of it.
The Five of Cups is actually humorous. We see the three overturned cups on the ground, with two upright cups sitting on a wall. Next to the upright cups is a husband, with his fingers in his ears. Behind him is his shrew of a wife, berating him. A rose lies on the ground, in remembrance of the love that once flourished between them.
The Four of Cups shows a maiden who has locked herself on her balcony. Uhappy with lifes gifts, she tosses a golden cup into the sea.
The Six of Wands shows a new being emerging from a moonlit flower bud. Five wands are held high in honor of he event, while the emerging being holds the sixth wand in their hand, bestowing good fortune on everyone.
This is a deck that will appeal to those wishing to push their own limits, to access their unconscious and to face their shadows. As mentioned above, it is also an excellent deck for comparative reading. It will also appeal to Tarot collectors, and to those interested in differing types of art. For me, even though the art is at times disturbing, it is consistent, it is real, and it carries through the traditional theme of each of the cards.
© March 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.