Review by Solandia
I received a review copy of The Sacred Isle Tarot in the mail sight unseen, and knew very little about the deck I was about to receive. I opened the folder to find A4 prints of the cards, and was transfixed by the artwork by the time I’d seen two cards. The art is just stunning – it has beautiful people in a most beautiful and serene world.
The deck is a labour of love from David Higgins, English artist. His tarot work has been seen before in the Fantasy Showcase Tarot, for which he created the Four of Wands, and an incomplete deck was included in the third volume of the Encyclopaedia of Tarot, but this is his first complete deck.
His card imagery is recognisably Tarot, though with some simplification to remove extraneous symbolism (such as the dog in the Fool, the acolytes in the Hierophant, a child in a garden in the Sun) and some a personal interpretations. Death is a woman inside a white flame, moving through the galaxy towards the bright light above; the Moon shows a wild-maned woman in front of a storm-tossed sea, clasping a chalice etched with a scorpion, a crescent moon above her. Even the Hierophant looks kind.
Elsewhere in the majors, the Empress is in a field of wildflowers and wild animals, the sky multi-hued and the castle just on the rise behind her. The High Priestess is a statuesque, busty woman, holding a scroll and pointing at the floor with her left fore-finger. She stands at the top of four stairs and between two pillars vined with roses, flames burning in front of them. Pink clouds, and a shooting star are visible in the sky behind her, between the pillars. The Magician holds an illuminated infinity symbol, standing behind an open gold casket holding the four tools of the elements, around him are conjured phantasms of warriors on horses, princesses on unicorns. The perfection of the white-blonde people may not be to everyone’s taste, but the overall feeling given by the elegant Renaissance costumes, the gorgeous people, and the fairytale castles, are as though one is visiting the world of the elves.
The deck is available to buy in various formats: A4 and A5 prints, and two versions of the a majors-only deck. The limited edition (500 copies) deluxe set is hand signed and numbered by the artist; the premiere edition has just the 22 major arcana cards. David also stresses that the cards and prints are self published using the highest quality bubble jet prints, inks and high grade papers and the cards are also lacquered and waxed. The backs of the cards have navy blue and burgundy outer borders, around a reversed image of a winged blonde angel.
The Sacred Isle Tarot is just a stunning art deck with beautiful serene, tranquil images. It reminds me of the Tarot of Dreams in its attention to detail and visual attractiveness, but with a different energy. I don’t know if a 78 card version is in the works – but I would love to see it!