Monday, April 9, 2012

REVIEW: Simply Deep Tarot



R E V I E W

Simply Deep Tarot (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)
 Simply Deep Tarot
Chanel Bayless (Author)
James Battersby (Illustrator)
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. (January 28, 2012)
Boxed Set: 78 color art cards; 3 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.; 96-page booklet
ISBN-10: 0764339842
ISBN-13: 978-0764339844


THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

"A Rider Waite-style, 78-card Tarot deck designed to help a reader immediately connect with traditional meanings of the cards. Using a basic viewpoint, these vibrantly painted cards implore you to delve deeper on an emotional level, yet still supply interesting little nuances about everyday life. The booklet includes exercises allowing you to bond with your personal story through each card and describes the benefits of achieving emotional detachment energetically. Each card is defined in both upright and reversed meanings with keywords included. Find out how simple it is to read the Tarot and explore your own personal story!"

Simply Deep Tarot (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)
BASIC INFORMATION

Author Chanel Bayless is a professional Tarot consultant specializing in the creation of fun, innovative metaphysical tools for exploring complex spiritual topics. Illustrator James Battersby is keenly interested in ancient cultures. He is currently working on an Ancient Astronaut Oracle that touches on many of these cultures. Bayless and Battersby are also the creators of A King's Journey Tarot.

In her Introduction to the attractively bound booklet accompanying this deck, Chanel Bayless notes that using Tarot as a window into the soul requires opening up many layers. She writes: "Layers are made up of our core beliefs, false beliefs, walls, memories, and any other energy that has supported (either negatively or positively) the issue at hand." Bayless notes that to delve deeply,  a certain level of emotional detachment may be needed. Because emotional detachment can be very difficult when a personal issue is involved, she designed Simply Deep Tarot to help us "connect easily with the most simplistic meaning of each card, while paving a way to climb safely into the deeper meaning behind the card."

The section of the booklet titled "So How Do I Go in Deep?" gives us an example of the process we can use to "go in deep" using this deck.

After a page about the Structure of the Deck, we move into the Major Arcana, beginning with The Fool. The Majors have traditional Rider-Waite-Smith titles, with Strength as Trump 8 and Justice as Trump 11. Suits are Coins/Earth, Swords/Air, Wands/Fire, and Cups/Water. The Court Cards are titled Princess, Knight, Queen, and King. For every card we are given three Keywords, along with Upright and Reversed meanings. The booklet does not describe or explain the scenes shown on the cards.

Simply Deep Tarot (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)
APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The deck and booklet are contained in an attractive, sturdy box with a magnetic closure.

The cards are printed on sturdy, laminated stock. They measure approximately 2-3/4 x 4-1/2 inches.

Each suit has a distinctive color scheme, including strips of solid color on both sides of the card, with a darker shade of the same color at the top of the Court Cards, and white at the top of the pips. Titles are printed in a corresponding color on white at the bottom of each suit card. Coins are green; Wands are salmon; Swords are gold; and Cups are teal. This color scheme makes it easy to see the suit/element of the cards at a glance, when they are drawn in a reading.

The Majors a similarly designed, but each has a unique-colored border (a light shade on the sides, darker shade at the top and bottom), with titles printed in white at the bottom. The Fool is olive green, The Magician is purple, The High Priestess is fuchsia, and so forth. At the moment, I am not seeing a pattern or significance to the colors chosen for each Major, although in some cases the color seems to correspond to the Golden Dawn elemental attribution (for example, The Hierophant/brown/Earth; The Sun/red-orange/Fire).

ART

Simply Deep Tarot (Schiffer Publishing Ltd.)
Although this is a Rider-Waite style deck, many of the images depart somewhat from the scenes I normally associate with the RWS. For example, The Magician sits at a table with his back to us. His left arm rests on the table. He does not have one arm raised in the RWS tradition. On the table we see a wand, burning candle, a book titled Best Life Spell, an incense burner with a burning  incense stick in it, a glass of water, a plate with gold coins on it, a knife, a flower growing in a vase, and a small cup containing colorful objects of some kind. Underneath the table a tiny fruit-bearing tree grows in a pot. So we do have the usual references to Fire, Air, Water, and Earth -- but there is much more to be explored.

Not being an art critic, I don't have a name for this style of art -- but Battersby uses mostly bright, vivid colors and relatively simple-looking images that actually incorporate a lot of detail when you take the time to study them. There is a slightly "cartoony" aspect to the drawings, yet in many ways they are quite realistic.

BOTTOM LINE

I feel that beginning Tarot students can appreciate and use this deck fairly early in their journey. It is a highly approachable deck with mostly friendly images. Readers who are already proficient with the RWS will enjoy diving into the cleverly incorporated layers and levels of understanding found in this deck. I believe the deck could be used with older children, depending on how you feel about the sexually suggestive Lovers card and the potentially disturbing Devil card.

I think the color scheme and color coordination of the cards really adds to the usefulness and attractiveness of the deck.

I'm looking forward to performing the one-card exercise Bayless offers in the booklet, and hope to share my results later on Tarot Notes!

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In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.

2 comments:

  1. I agree with your review; this is a lovely deck, and I will be working with it soon. I'm still using Chanel's King's Journey Tarot deck, which has just blown me away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Christiane!

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