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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Review: Botanical Inspirations Deck & Book Set


Botanical Inspirations Deck & Book Set
by Lynn Araujo
Cards illustrated by _Pierre-Joseph Redouté_ (1759-1840)
44 cards with quotations
100-page illustrated guidebook
Fold-out guide to the Secret Language of Flowers
Drawstring organza pouch

So many things to love about this deck and book set, it’s hard to know where to start – but I’m going to start with the packaging, which is superb.

The top of the sturdy flip-top cardboard box features a lush collage of Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s Victorian flower art, including the dahlia, coreopsis, asters, forget-me-nots, and amaryllis, among others. This box is roomy enough for a perfect-bound guidebook with the same illustration on its cover, the deck of 44 cards, a trifold pamphlet listing keywords for all of the flowers shown on the cards, and an organza pouch the same shade of mint green as the box, booklet, pamphlet, and card backs. Also included is a card providing detailed information about Redouté, who was born in 1759 to a Flemish family of decorative painters. By the late 1790s, Redouté was the most famous and sought after flower painter in Europe.

Card faces are a tan parchment color, an attractive background for the artwork. The cards do a beautiful job of combining science and sentiment. At the top, centered, is the common name of the flower, with the Latin name or alternative name centered immediately under that in flowery script. Next comes the Redouté’s illustration of the flower. The style is realistic, and it is easy to see how the artist was influenced by the botanist Charles Louis L'Héritier, who offered Redouté free access to his botanical library and plant collection. Centered below the artwork is the meaning attributed to that flower. Finally, also centered, we have a quotation that reflects that symbolism. Here are a couple of examples:

Friendship & Gratitude
“Let us be grateful for the people who make us happy; 
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
 – Marcel Proust

Elegance & Patience
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
– Lao Tzu

For each flower, the guidebook provides a black-and-white version of the Redouté illustration, the common name and Latin name for the flower, symbolism, quotation, a long paragraph discussing the flower and its meaning, and an Inspirational Message. The eloquent writing in the guidebook is a pleasure to read, offering tidbits of the fascinating history and cultural interpretations associated with each flower.

Let’s look at the IRIS (Iris germanica).

Symbolism: Rainbows & Messages

Quotation: “When it rains, look for rainbows. When it’s dark, look for stars.” – Unknown

“The stately flower borrowed its name from Iris, the Greek goddess of the rainbow. It was her duty to transport the souls of departed women to the Elysian Fields. In the Language of Flowers, Iris came to mean ‘messages’ since its namesake carried messages along the rainbow between the realms of the mortals and the gods. The majestic iris flower inspired the French fleur de lis motif, with the three petals symbolizing faith, wisdom and valor.”

Inspirational Message: “Keep your eyes open to the wisdom of the universe and you will receive clear signs and messages that guide you on your path.”

At the end of the guidebook is a section titled “Reading with the Botanical Inspirations Cards,” containing examples of the Three-Card Fleur De Lis reading. I am looking forward to giving this a try soon here on Tarot Notes.

The Botanical Inspirations cards are perfect for drawing a daily Affirmation, and the guidebook can be used as a resource when researching the various flowers and their meanings.

About the Author: Lynn Araujo is the author of Dreaming Way Lenormand, TastyTalk Conversation Cards, Historical Signals and Semaphores, Native American Playing Cards, and is co-author with Stuart Kaplan of The Artwork & Times of Pamela Colman Smith. She is currently working on Pastoral Tarot with Lisa Hunt.


  1. Thank you so much for this delightful review. I hope you enjoy working with these cards.

    1. I am happy to sing the praises of such a well conceived and executed deck!

  2. This is one has been on my list ever since seeing it last year in US Games catalogue. I have hesitated over adding more botanical decks to my collection but at this point they've become a sub-group lol so another one only adds to the magnetism ;)

    1. With a name like "Rose," I suppose it is inevitable that you would need this lovely deck. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. Beautiful deck where one might obtain this.

    1. Hello! I suggest you use your favorite search engine to look for Botanical Inspirations Deck & Book Set. That should give you various online sources where you can find this deck.


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~ Zanna