The Tell Me Tarot is designed to make the wisdom of tarot accessible to anyone. It has simplified but recognisable tarot scenes, text titles and meanings on the cards underneath the tarot scenes, and even indicates whether they are positive or negative. Originally published in 2004 in Hebrew and English, it has also been reprinted in 2008 by US Games.
The Tell Me Tarot is a simplified set of 78 cards, designed to make it easier for Tarot beginners to use. As it says on the box, all you need to do is “Ask a question; Choose a card; Receive an answer!”
The Tell Me Tarot, the creation of Arik Eyal and Nir Cassuto, was originally published in Israel under another name (later changed due to an existing trademark registration). It’s now been republished by US Games, with some very minor modifications to the original version, which are mostly limited to editing or clarifying the meanings on the cards.
The Rider-Waite Tarot was the obvious jumping-off point for the Tell Me Tarot. The overall feel is the same; the same black-outlined drawings filled in with flat colour, in hues very similar to Pamela Colman-Smith’s cards. Looking more closely, the scenes are a little sparser, a little more fairy-tale, and a little less detailed -- overt occult symbolism has been removed, and potentially frightening or offensive images have been altered. The Lovers are modestly clothed, there is no-one falling from the crumbling Tower, the Devil is wearing a white cloak with only the top of his head (with a single horn, pointed ears and red eyes) visible over the top of the cloak. Death is garbed in the typical black robe, holding a double-ended scythe, only skeletal fingers, toes and the hint of a skull visible.
The major addition to the Tell Me Tarot is the keywords and phrases on each card. Below the image are the title and keyword, followed by a +/- symbol to indicate the alignment of the card. Underneath are a few short sentences with the meaning and interpretation. For example:
The Fool = Trust (+) Trust your inner voice and let yourself go towards the unknown, free of worry and fear.
The Magician = Creation (+) You have many talents and skills. Like a magician, you can create anything you want.
Nine of Wands = Standby (-) You have many past achievements. Now you feel confused and stuck. Proceeding with allow more success.
Eight of Swords = Chains (-) You are restricted by your own realistic, negative thoughts. Positive thinking will release you.
Experienced readers might find this limiting and the text visually distracting, but for beginners it can be a godsend. I remember interpreting my first few readings and being flummoxed by the huge range of linked but varied meanings offered for each card, and being confused as to how to pick the right one . The deck removes a lot of the guesswork and ambiguity that beginners can find difficult when first interpreting a reading, by limited the face meanings to just one or two of the potential meanings and offering some quick practical advice as well.
Physically, the feel of the cards in the hands is pleasant. The deck doesn’t have the very heavy gloss of many recent US Games decks; they’re much more matte and in no danger of sliding everywhere when stacked. The back is reversible (though no mention of reversals is made with the deck, it does give the option for those who want to use them) and has suns, moons and stars on a blue background. The cards are also packed only in a standard size flip-top cardboard box, without a larger outer box or spreadsheet.
There’s no booklet supplied with the deck, but it doesn’t really need one. Instead, there are four sequential companion cards with basic info on how to use the cards, how to word questions, and three four-card spread examples (a Time Spread, Relationship spread and a General spread).
The Tell Me Tarot is a good next step when moving on from an oracle deck to tarot, without being overwhelmed by the possibilities of 78 cards, and starting with it would make a later transition to other Rider-Waite-based decks relatively easy. The Tell Me deck is Tarot with training wheels.
This deck is all you need to begin a journey into tarot! The clear images are easy to understand. The keyword and brief meaning on each card helps to unlock the intuition and create sound interpretation skills.
It's a traditional deck of 78 cards symbolizing universal human situations On the bottom of each card there is a keyword, a two line meaning, and a positive or negative symbol. In the Major Arcana, the cards have traditional tarot titles and each card displays the Roman numeral at the top of the card and the title on the bottom of the card.
The pip cards have simple illustrations which include the suit symbols. Each card displays the Roman numeral at the top of the card, and the number and suit on bottom of the card. The court cards are Page, Prince, Queen and King, and the suits are Wands – Action, Cups – Emotional, Swords – Rational, and Pentacles – Material.
Samples of the meanings:
Ten of Wands = Overload. Too many obligations block your vision. Lessen the load so you can lift your head and explore the opportunities.
Knight of Swords = Rushing. You are confident and courageous but move too fast. Slow down. Enjoy getting there as much as being there.
Strength = Tenderness. Your spiritual strength helps resolve every problem. You become powerful through tenderness and patience.
There is no need for an instruction booklet with this deck - it comes with four information cards. These useful cards explain how to word questions and three examples of spreads are given.
This is a fundamental deck and a very practical way to start learning the tarot. I would recommend Tell-Me Tarot to beginners, readers looking to improve keyword skills and as a transition deck from reading oracle cards to reading the tarot. This deck can also be included in tarot workshops as an extra learning tool.