Review by Bonnie Cehovet
I kept running across references to the “Silver Era Tarot” so often that I just had to see what this deck was all about! It is very unique, and I am very drawn to it – I keep picking it up to sneak peaks at the cards, or to read a bit more in the companion book. I am one of those people that play with the cards first, then check the book out. The LWB (Little White Book) that accompanies this deck IS actually a little book – it is in book format, has a spine, and the inside pages are nice and glossy. Point in favor of the publishers!
The two-page introduction to the book is written by both the author and the artist, and has a lot to say for itself. Here we find that the original concept for the deck (which started out as a majors only deck, and grew to the final 78 card version) came from Aunia’s desire to study the background, symbolism, and meanings in the deck in order to learn the Tarot, and be proficient in reading the cards. She brought her own artistic style and feel to the deck, and made the decision to create a unique journey by using herself as the model for all of the female figures in the deck. (I would like to note here that many figures that are traditionally male have become female in this deck, including the Fool, the Magician, Hierophant, Charioteer, the Hermit, Death, and the Pages and Knights of the Court cards.
The male figures that are in this deck are modeled on the author, Russell J. Moon.
The writing of the companion book (LWB) became an interesting journey itself, as the author and the artist were coming from two very different belief systems. Aunia had a Catholic upbringing, but grew to question the relevance of organized religion. Her choice was to settle on just being “spiritual”, rather than following any one given religion. Russell grew up in a Christian household, where things such as the Tarot were simply not discussed. He did not have the same questions that Aunia did, but he did want to follow his intuitions, some of which were energy practices such as Reiki, and other people’s interpretations of a higher power.
After years of studying and dissecting traditional interpretation for the Tarot, along with various author’s interpretations, the decision was made to leave some traditional meanings, and combine their differing understanding on the meanings for other cards. Their hope is that this deck will ignite the Seeker’s own journey to self-discovery.
The deck and LWB are presented in a heavy duty cardboard box with a magnetic lift up lid on top. There is a short ribbon attached to the box top to help lift the lid. I really like this feature, which is appearing with many of Schiffer’s decks. It ensures that if the box is accidentally turned upside down that the cards and the LWB remain intact.
The book, as mentioned above, IS a book Yes! There is a two-page introduction in the front, with templates for single card and three card spreads, along with the traditional ten card Celtic Cross spread. At the very end are biographies for the artist and author. The cards are presented one to a page, with a small black and white scan, a short description of the card, the upright and reversed meanings, and keywords. There is a prelude to each of the four suits, explaining the energetic function of the respective suit.
The deck is traditional in nature, with traditional names for the Major Arcana, Strength at VIII and Justice at XI. The suites are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The Court cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King.
The cards are good quality card stock, 2 ¾” by 4 ½”. The backs show a gray and white diamond pattern, with a medium gray outer border, followed by a slimmer, darker ray border. The card faces show a light gray border, followed by a slender white inner border. The imagery is gray and white, with a color focal point in each card (which differs from card to card). The Major Arcana show the card number in Roman Numerals at the top of the page, with the card title across the bottom. The Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards) show the card number and suit in text across the bottom of the card. The Court cards show the title and suit across t he bottom of the card.
Some of the imagery in this deck is very traditional, some of it is very unique. Some of the less traditional imagery would include the Fool, which shows a female figure in a lovely ruffled dress (the same figure is shown lyin down as Death); the Magician, which shows a female figure with a wand in one had, appearing to read a tablet that she is holding in her left hand; and the Hierophant, which is shown as a solo female figure. The Charioteer is female, with the horses, one dark and one light, facing in different directions; the Hermit is a female; the Tower shows one female figure falling, with the figure being outsized in relation to the Tower itself. The World shows a female figure standing on top of a spire, holding a globe in her right hand, with a bird sitting on top of it.
The more traditional imagery would include Strength (although she is seated beside the Lion, and not taming him), Justice (with her sword and scales), the Hanged Man, Temperance, the Star, and the Three and Four of Swords.
A couple of the cards did not appeal to me at all, including the Sun (which is shown against a cloudy sky), the Empress (who is shown seated on a black and white checker-board floor, holding a male head in her lap), and the Ten of Swords (which shows the swords going into the front of the figure, as opposed to the back).
Cards that really did appeal to me included the Fool, the Magician (I loved the lemnescate that appeared throughout the deck!), the High Priestess (shown leaning
on one of the pillars, wearing a lovely flower print dress!), Death, the Ace of Cups (with the little Hummingbird poised over the cup), the Four of Cups (which shows a female figure looking none too happy!), the Nine, Ten and Queen of Cups, and the Four of Wands.
Most people know that I am edging away from reading professionally, but I would offer this deck to a friend or client that I was reading for. It would also appeal to collectors, and to all levels of readers. I would also have no problem using this deck for ritual or journey work. It is a gentle deck, and presents its wisdom in a gentle manner.
© August 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.