Review by Bonnie Cehovet
My first thought when I heard the name “Sun and Moon Tarot” was that this was a deck that covers a lot of territory! The space between Sun and Moon to me is akin to the distance between “A” to “Z”! I was not disappointed.
The artist, Vanessa Decort, has worked as an illustrator for children’s books and a designer of book covers. She now teaches art classes at the Academy of Art while pursuing her own projects. Her first Tarot deck was the Thoth Crowley, and that influence does show in this deck. The impetus to create this deck was to deepen her own understanding of the Tarot, and to share it with others. Her illustrations explore the worlds of fairy tales, myths, and fantasy, as well as personal experience. Her interests include astrology, Jungian psychology, alchemy, Kabbalism and symbols.
This is a traditional 78 card deck, with the Major Arcana carrying the traditional titles, Justice as VIII and Strength as XI. (Some cards have two titles – Death/Rebirth, Art/Temperance, and Aeon/Judgment.) The suits are Wands (Fire/Spiritual), Cups (Water/Emotional), Swords (Air/Rational) and Pentacles (Earth/Material). The Court Cards are Princess, Prince, Queen and King.
There is no book with this deck, other than the LWB (Little White Book). The cards are presented as text only, no scans. An example of the Major Arcana is as follows:
0 The Fool
Linked with Uranus, Associated with principles of courage, ecstasy without fear. Acting impulsively. Encourages us to take risks and to develop our female and male sides to reach wholeness. The tiger is the oriental symbol for fear. This card depicts Caduceus, the staff of Mercury or Hermes, and the Egyptian wand of vision. It represents intuition, health, well-being and healing. The butterfly and the spiral symbolize the transformational process. From caterpillar to butterfly, the self grows and evolves. The crocodile denotes creative vision and strength. The sun and sea unite fire (energy/vision) and water (feelings). The Hebrew character Aleph is the symbol of the ox, and represents wholeness.
From the Minor Arcana we have:
Two of Swords – Peace
Moon in Libra. Repose, meditative spirit. Decisiveness in making choices. Closed yoga pose shows avoidance of communication, and the need for inner balance. Make a balance choice between the two contradictory possibilities, by finding the answer within.
Queen of Cups
Water of Water. Emotional integrity. Love and sensuality. Queen of love. Feminine cycles and intuition. The water and the reflections indicate Spirituality – “As above, so below.”
The spread that is included in the LWB is the Sun/Moon (Yin/Yang) spread.
The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”, and of good quality card stock. The backs show a ¼” white border, surrounding a black background with a gray and white mandala in the center. The backs are reversible. The card faces show a ¼” white border. The major Arcana show the car number in Roman Numerals on the top of the card, the title on the bottom. The Pips (numbered cards) show the Thoth keyword at the top of the card, and the card number and suit at the bottom. The Court Cards show the title and suit at the bottom of the card.
The artwork is somewhat primitive in style, with the unique distinction of there being no faces on any of the figures in the deck. The symbology comes from astrology, alchemy, freemasonry, the I Ching, Runes, yoga and Hindu wisdom, Egyptian and Greek mythology, and numerology. Each Major Arcana card shows the associated Hebrew letter. The Pip cards depart from strict Thoth imagery in that they carry both suit icons and small scenes, along with their elemental symbols. This is a nice, whimsical deck, but the coloring to me came off as a bit “flat”.
The suits are color coded: Wands show a dark background, with bright orange flames at the bottom of the card; Cups show a bluish sky and greenish water; Swords show a beautiful light blue background, and Pentacles show reddish-gold in the upper part of t he card, with green at the bottom.
I love the esoteric nature of the Tarot, so I was pleased with the various symbols that showed up on these cards: the bees (vision) in the card of the Emperor, the Yin/Yang symbol on the scales of Justice, the snake wound around the alchemical egg (the Lovers), and the snake (transformation) in Strength. I found it very interesting that the Magician in this deck very strongly resembles the Magician from Joanna Powell-Colbert’s “Gaian Tarot”, with the inclusion of the drum and the force of elemental Fire.
Some of the cards that I found interesting were the Queen of Wands (holding a lit stick of fire above her head), Aeon/Judgment (with the figures standing in water, with their arms raised to the angel with the trumpet above them), Universe (with the dancing Shiva figure), the Chariot (drawn by a white bull, which also appears in the Hierophant), the Four of Wands (with the four spikes of the wheel showing balance, structure and harmony), and the Two of Cups, which shows a male and a female figure seated in the middle of a lotus flower.
I found this to be a deck that was interesting, and easy to read with. It would appeal to collectors, and to people looking to go outside the box with Tarot imagery. (The symbols and images in this deck are multi-cultural.) While it does stay true to traditional structure and meaning, I would not recommend this deck for beginning readers.
© July 2010 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.