The Daughters of the Moon Tarot is a feminist deck that shows only women on its round cards. The art of the 75 cards (the court cards have only Maiden, Mother and Crone) is vibrant, uplifting and positive.
The most noticeable feature of this deck is that instead of having the conventional rectangular card shape, it has circular cards. This certainly gives away quite quickly the theme of the deck to those who are familiar with the first round Tarot deck, the Motherpeace.
This deck is a feminist deck. It is aimed at women, mainly women within 'alternative' religions such as Wicca and its offshoot, Dianism, and thus includes the names and images of Goddesses from different cultures in the cards. It is also apparant from looking through the deck that there are very few men pictured in the cards, with the only two men being found in one of the Lovers cards and in the Pan card. (Explained later!) The women in this deck are all shapes, sizes, and colour, and it is certainly refreshing to see women's bodies portrayed so openly and honestly. Often in Tarot decks, we find that the only nudity is that of beautiful, young, lithe bodies, which, although is often pleasing to the eye, does not give an accurate view of the human body at all. The nudity in this deck is frank and very present: there are very few cards without nudity.
The Daughters of the Moon changes many conventions of a traditional Tarot deck. One of the main changes is to the Major Arcana, which seem to me to be very haphazard in their naming and organisation. Whilst some Majors bear the traditional name and also have the name of a Goddess on them, eg- The Sun/Amaterasu, some of them bear different but recognisable names, eg- The Magician becomes the Witch, without the name of a Goddess on it, but some have totally different titles, eg- The Fool is changed to the Dreamer. Still others of the Majors bear only the name of a Goddess, as shown in the World card, which is called, 'Shakti The Life Dancer'. Despite this apparent haphazardness, the new titles are well-chosen, and the Goddesses bring across the meanings of the cards well.
Often, the Majors side-track from the traditional Rider-Waite meanings, and there is very little traditional imagery in this deck. The same is true for the Minors, where it is not uncommon to come across a card which has had its meaning totally changed. For instance, the 10 of Swords in this deck, instead of showing the traditional dead man with 10 swords in his back, shows a group of women in a teepee having what looks like a very nice and spiritual meeting. The Minors sometimes have keywords on them, but not always, and, like the Majors are quite haphazard: some bear the names of Goddesses, some don't. All bear their title though, and in this deck the Suits have only been changed slightly: Whilst Cups and Pentacles remain the same, Swords have become Blades and Wands have become Flames.
The cards of the Major Arcana have been changed drastically, so that there is no Emperor or High Priest, but two Lovers cards and 3 different versions of the Devil. The Emperor and High Priest are, according to the book that can be bought about this deck, included in the Empress and High Priestess respectively. The Lovers cards include one for heterosexual couples, and one for lesbian couples, although I was very disappointed to fine that there was not one for homosexual male couples: But given the theme of this deck, it is understandable that the creator did not include one! The Devil cards each have a slightly different meaning, and it could be useful to use all three cards together: The first one is Coyote Woman, the Trickster, which takes on the meaning of trickery and duplicity. The second is Oppression, and takes on the traditional meaning of the Devil card. The last is Pan, which, according to the book, embraces the male side of things, showing the importance of the male in the world. It's good to see that men are not left out totally from this deck, although it is a shame that the creator could not bring herself to include men more widely, considering they are a part of the world and our lives, whether we are Feminist or not.
The Court Cards have also been changed drastically. Instead of the four traditional courts of King, Queen, Knight and Page, this deck has Maiden, Mother, Crone. Each of the Court cards is named after a Goddess, which is certainly a help in reading the Courts from thsi deck, as long as you know what each Goddess represents! It is an interesting change, but one that some may say brings this deck one step closer to not being called a Tarot deck at all!
The artwork in this deck is very attractive: bold, colourful, and varied. Some cards bear a rather tribal feel to them, whilst others use very modern imagery, and still others bear a geometric design to illustrate meaning. It is refreshing to see images of a tribal woman gathering water juxtaposed with images of a wheelchair race! Each card is made even more colourful by the borders, which are not dependent on Suit or number, but seem to be randomly assigned, and make suffling this deck wonderful: as if you were shuffling a rainbow.
In conclusion however, despite this deck's beauty and
interesting take on the world and Tarot, I would not recommend
it to many people. There are many elements of it
that may anger men, people who are not feminist, and
people who are easily offended. This deck has an
extremely feminist agenda, which is interesting to study,
but not so easy to read with. This deck certainly is
not for a beginner, as it takes quite a while to work
out the correlations between the cards in this deck
and the cards of more traditonal decks, although I do
know of people who can read very effectively with
Daughters of The Moon. This deck comes painfully close to
being classified as a Divination Deck and not a Tarot
deck because of the changes it makes, but despite all
this it is certainly one for the collector!
I have owned and used the daughters of the Moon Tarot for more than 4 years and enjoy it very much.
The cards are round and feel wonderful to handle. The deck has a strong feminist perspective and fearures women only on all the cards except for the Pan card and this is optional as there is a substitute card for those who want no men in their deck at all! There is also a chioce of heterosexual or homosexual Lovers. For me this is not the main attraction of the cards. Apart from the round shape which I find a much more pleasing shape to hold and deal, the artwork is bright, colourful and uplifting in nature. There are many thought provoking and postive images and the colour themes are very beautiful.
The accompanying book details interpretations for each card and advice on spreads and use of tarot so is suitable for beginners. Some of the interpretations are very moving, wise and insightful and give inspiration. Some however I find somewhat emotionally cloying or patronising and to me demonstrate the American origin of the cards in their lack of sublety and "British understatement". I find however that in each reading there is something significant about the interpretation for each card and so continue to use it regularly and ignore parts which are not in tune.
I don't think many men will find this pack useful or interesting. I have only used it with women. However women do not need to be extreme feminsts to gain from this pack. It is a good way to explore goddess, and yourself, as a woman. I think it is a useful self development tool, and good for developing intuition and greater self awareness. It is also a great antidote to negativity, due to its postive tone. It is almost impossible to be pessimistic or feel disempowered using this Tarot, and that can be helpful as some others can be very gloomy.
There is also a very varied bibliography at the back which may provide leads for further investgation.
I recommend this pack to women who are exploring
the goddess, and their identity as women and those who
I recently treated myself to the Daughters of the Moon Tarot Deck and Book. It is a deck which is designed to re-establish reverence for women as powerful role models. Overall, I think they were successful.
The artwork in this deck is simply breathtaking. It's in an American folk art style, with simple figures and nature scenes. The overall theme of the deck centers around powerful goddess and cultural figures. It's almost a history and mythology lesson as well as a tarot deck.
The arcana is switched around quite a bit, but
you get accustomed to it pretty quickly. The majors
are placed in a suit of their own called Aether, and
are not numbered.
The Dreamer is the Fool
The Witch is the Magician
Isis is the High Priestess
There is no Hierophant
Mawu is the Empress
There is no Emperor
Aphrodite is the Lovers, with lesbian and hetero versions
The Amazon is the Chariot
The Crone is the Hermit
Spiderwoman is the Wheel of Fortune
Maat is Justice
Reversal (female) is the Hanged Man
The Phoenix is Death
Oppression is the Devil
Kali the Awakener is the Tower
Yemaya is the Moon
Amaterasu is the Sun
Celebration is Judgment
Shakti, the Life Dancer is the World
Traditional court cards are replaced by the Maiden, Mother, Crone pantheon, which represents the three aspects of the Goddess, as accepted by some Pagan religions.
Like the Motherpeace deck, it is round, and measures a
little over 5 inches in diameter. Its a bit pricey,
but well worth the bucks.
This deck and book (sold separately) began its long journey to publication in 1976, when a collective of women in California united to collaborate on the creation of a feminist Tarot deck. When DOM was first released in 1984, it was available only in a black and white format that enticed adherents to paint their own colour onto the cards. In the early 90s a new edition released a full colour version of the deck and what a spectacular colouring job they did! The deck is magnificently brilliant; rich, big, round and stunning.
We can only guess at how many years of unpaid service was involved in collaborating the writing and artistic renditions among such a large group of women (through the years even Ffiona has lost count!) Speaking to those who have worked intensively with the Tarot, and who won't have difficulty imagining the stellar stamina it takes to stay on track amid the transformations in consciousness, transmitting through all these womens daily lives interactively, and you have a Ffiona Morgan who remains steadfast after 28 years!
Ffiona is still the caretaker of this project she fills orders for the deck, arranges for re-prints, answers queries, and generally minds the store. This is a woman who truly loves this masterpiece and that dedication remains a beacon of inspiration to all of us who love the Tarot.
There are no male figures in this deck; the Emperor, Hierophant, Devil and people cards are represented by female figures making it a deck best suited to feminists who read exclusively for women.
I'd like to congratulate Ffiona on her upcoming 28th anniversary for the launch of a dream a Tarot that would signal a return to Tarots sacred feminine roots, that would celebrate all the stages in a womans life from Maiden to Mother to Crone, and that would represent a part of womens herstory when her sacredness was special, important and deeply revered. Thank you Ffiona, for lighting, burning and sustaining the torch for all us daughters of the moon.