What a wondrous thing is this deck, deep and insightful yet filled with a childlike wonder at the magic of the universe. I waited impatiently for the set to arrive from America and I haven’t been disappointed for a moment. The artwork is stunning; graceful and inspired.
The Fey of this deck are not mere cartoon figures, but fully developed characters, with personalities, foibles and individuality. The four suits are perceptively drawn and keep their main elemental correspondences and characteristics; the Chalices (cups) are gentle, watery Fey; the Swords have a dark, haunting energy; the Wands are nature sprites and the Pentacles live and thrive in the earthly realm.
The Major Arcana are both sensitive and provocative; using the templates provided by RWS, Mara expands on their symbolism in a world both magical and relevant.
The Seer, for example, representing the High Priestess, portrays the ancient allegory of wisdom by showing the Fey reading her book. She sits outside a gate, beyond which we suspect is further knowledge, showing that she is the guardian, not the source of understanding. It is not a heavenly gate, adorned with jewels, but rather plain and simple, indicating that wisdom comes from many sources and that value is indeed relative.
The Seer also only occupies the bottom half of the card; the gate rises above her, suggesting that she will help you so far but no further; understanding is not a gift she can bestow but one that must be earned. Only by climbing the stairs and entering the unknown can you hope to understand the mysteries she guards.
The Empress, by contrast, is large and wonderful; her image fills the card with its presence, protecting all her creatures with her gentle, all embracing love.
The small, winged unicorn she holds in her lap represents purity, innocence and spirit; the earth mother will protect the very smallest and weakest of her creatures against any force. Her size in comparison to the building on which she rests reminds you that she represents the earth mother, whose love and protection is limitless.
Their differences are indisputable, yet they have chosen each other’s company. This card speaks of the power of love to overcome adversity and diversity. It illustrates something of the nature of love, which is not blind as is often said, but sees all and accepts everything.
Rabbi Julius Gordon said:
“Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.”
I’d recommend this deck to anyone who has an interest in exploring the tarot with a new perspective. A reader familiar with the RWS should be able to recognise the archetypes without very much trouble; although the Minors have lost their pips each has its number at the top of the card, so not too much difficulty there. I bought my deck as part of a boxed set and I think the accompanying book is well worth reading, revealing insights into the symbols used in each card. You won’t get your LWB by buying the set. I never use mine, but those of you who enjoy these might want to consider separate purchases.
This is a wonderful deck for meditation. Try picking a card from your traditional Rider Waite Smith clone; now pick the corresponding card from the Fey. I guarantee you’ll learn something new. These cards have a fresh, youthful perspective; you cannot help but learn through the eyes of the Fey world represented here. Each time I use this deck, I am blown away by its depth and personality – I would totally recommend it.
© Free Spirit Tarot 2003
Mitakuye Oyasin – We Are All Related