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Monday, April 4, 2011

Interview with The Fairy Tale Tarot (by Zanna)

You can just call me "The Fairy Tale Kid." When I was a child, I read and re-read every book of fairy tales I could find. It got to the point where my school librarian insisted that I check out a biography once in awhile instead! When using a fairy tale theme Tarot deck, it is helpful to have at least a passing knowledge of lots of fairy tales. And it's always interesting to see how well the deck creator matches up the fairy tales with the traditional meanings of the cards.

My love of fairy tales coupled with my admiration  and appreciation for Lisa Hunt's art prompted me to acquire The Fairy Tale Tarot (published in 2009 by Llewellyn Worldwide). In the accompanying 300-page book, Lisa provides the name of the story each image is based on, the culture from which that story comes, keywords, the fairy tale itself, and a "Symbols and Meaning" section.

I received this deck for Christmas 2010. It has been trying to get me to interview it ever since I put it on my shelf (more than anything else, fairy tales want to be shared!). On the day scheduled for the interview, I was startled and delighted to see the King of Wands at my door in the form of Aladdin, with his lamp and his genie. I was a bit concerned that the dazzling, whirling genie would make a mess of my living room, but Aladdin coaxed him back into the lamp for the duration of the interview.

The King of Wands seemed like a good choice to represent the deck, given Lisa's keywords for the card: "risk taker, mental vitality, authority." In the collection of stories known as One Thousand and One Nights, Aladdin and the genie really do exhibit the energy I associate with the traditional King of Wands.

Let the interview begin!

(1) How would you describe your essence or essential energy?

"Like the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, my essential energy is that of a journey from times of fear and trouble to times of joy and celebration. When it seems that the worst has happened, I can show you the way out of distress and help revive you, just as Snow White was eventually revived because of the care and concern of her dear friends."

(I was intrigued by the use of "Seven Dwarves" to represent the "Six" of Swords. When I turned to Lisa Hunt's book later, I found an explanation: "The number seven corresponds to the completion of a cycle. But my choice to designate this story for the Six of Swords exemplifies the journey one must take before arriving at the destination of higher consciousness.")

(2) Which card do you feel reflects my essence or essential energy?

Wow. Not that this is my Major Arcana significator or anything... (with my Sun in Sagittarius). Well played, Fairy Tale!

The lovely woman on the card smiled. "Your essence is like the Spanish tale called The Water of Life," she said. "It is the story of a brave sister who rescues her three brothers. Your essential energy is that of the sister who reaches the magical-looking pool and obtains the water of life, a branch of the tree of eternal beauty, and a talking bird. Like her, you can learn to travel between the world of ego and drive and the world of deeper insights and inner calm."

(3) What story do you hope to tell me?

"I hope to tell you about the value of wisdom, clear vision, and a rational mind and the importance of our conscious thoughts," said The Wise Old Man. "It was my judicious, fatherly advice that helped the woman in the Celtic tale discover that her twin babies were changelings. I can do the same for you when you need to hear the wisdom of experience and the voice of maturity."

(4) What should I not expect from you?
The Enchanted Horse (from the Arabian Nights tales) tossed his head and pawed the ground. "My energy can take you where you choose to go," he said, "but I cannot make choices for you. I will not tell you what to do. It's up to you to take action to pursue your goals, and you will need to maintain focus in order to succeed. If you allow the fear of change and challenges to restrict you, my powers of flight will not work for you."

(5) Which card most closely represents us as a team?
"As a team, we can break the confines that limit you. However, this may require sacrificing familiar comforts and environments in order to take advantage of new opportunities. Like Rapunzel, you may find yourself sheltered -- yet trapped -- by your ideas and perceptions. You may have to risk the displeasure of your own private sorceress and risk being sent into exile, in order to eventually experience greater love and happiness."

Of these five questions, four were answered by cards from the Major Arcana. It seems that the journeys I take with The Fairy Tale Tarot are likely to be significant indeed, and perhaps life altering!

After Aladdin left, I noticed that his lamp was still sitting on my coffee table. "Wait!" I called after him. "You forgot the lamp!" Aladdin did not answer. I placed the lamp carefully on my fireplace mantle. Who knows what will happen next?


  1. I found this a very interesting interview Zanna, especially as I have this deck and it has been the least of my favourites. You have certainly brought it to life in this interview, and showed how these individual fairy tales can and do relate to tarot.

  2. Thank you, Helen! I do think this deck might not be the best for readings using a large number of cards. I tend to think of it more for a Daily Card or 1-card message about a situation.

  3. Hi there! I agree with you, Zanna, about it being a bit complicated for larger spreads - I find the same with the Baba Studios Fairytale Tarot. Still, loved the interview! Brave of you to let a genie in a bottle hang out on your shelf ;-)

  4. Hi Zanna,
    I am a fantasyartist and I am starting a new project: a fantasy illustrated oracle deck.
    I stumbled upon your blog while searching for informations... can you give me any advice before I begin? I would greatly appreciate it! I guess I'll have to find an author who helps me...
    Thank you Fabiola

    1. Hello Fabiola,

      I'm afraid I don't have any advice. Once you create your art, you may be able to find a publisher who will assign a writer to work with you.


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~ Zanna