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Friday, February 24, 2017

REVIEW: Wonderland Tarot in a Tin


Wonderland Tarot in a Tin 
by Chris Abbey (Author), Morgana Abbey (Author)
_U.S. Games Systems Inc._ (January 20, 2017)
ISBN-10: 1572818794
ISBN-13: 978-1572818798
Product Dimensions: 2.2 x 0.2 x 3.7 inches

I don’t know if people even use the word “squee” (a sound made by excited fangirls or fanboys) anymore, but “squee!” was my reaction recently when I opened a package and The Wonderland Tarot in a Tin hopped out. Having seen the original deck “in action” (used for readings by a dear friend), I was delighted to find this new version in my own little hands!

The original version of The Wonderland Tarot -- created by the collaborative team of Christopher and Morgana Abbey -- was first published in 1989 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. You can still get the original, but be prepared to part with anywhere from $100 to $400 or more. I’m happy with the newly released version, available for around $15-20, depending on where you shop.

I especially love this Author’s Note provided by Chris and Morgana Abbey: “A lot changes over the years, and this remains a happy memory for us. If you knew it from before, we hope seeing it again brought you a grin, Cheshire Cat-like or not. If you are encountering this deck for the first time, we hope to match the grin. Thank you for all before and for all that is to come.”

The tin box makes a perfect home for the deck, which has the same art on the cards as the original -- art in the style and flavor of Sir John Tenniel's illustrations of Lewis Carroll's work. The colors are bright and clear, in keeping with the child-like images and “feel” of the deck.

The deck fits the typical Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) system, even though the suits have been changed to Flamingos (Swords, Spades), Peppermills (Staves, Wands, Clubs), Hats (Cups, Hearts), and Oysters (Pentacles, Coins, Diamonds).

Most of the major characters from Alice in Wonderland are on the Major Arcana cards, for example, the Mad Hatter (Fool), Lewis Carroll (Magician), Alice (High Priestess), Sheep (Empress), Cheshire Cat (Emperor), Caterpillar (Hierophant).

Reversible card backs are lavender with a white border, incorporating three rows of black vines with green leaves and red flowers.

The cards themselves are the approximate size of a standard playing deck. The playing-card equivalent of the Minor Arcana is notated in the borders of each of the appropriate cards (e.g., the “Six of Hearts” is noted in the border of the Six of Hats).

In the Little White Book (LWB), Chris Abbey provides an Introduction to Tarot and The Tarot Deck. Abbey mentions that the sources he used to write the booklet were The Encyclopedia of Tarot, volume I, by Stuart R. Kaplan, and The Pictorial Key to the Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite. For the Major Arcana, Abbey gives us Alice-related information for each card along with standard interpretations. For example:

“XIII. DEATH. The Queen of Hearts points at some unknown person, shouting, ‘Off with his head!’ One of the cards is lying down, playing possum so that he will not suffer a similar fate. The Queen shouts a lot, but no one ever really dies. The victims change so they will not be recognized. In the real world, those that die are in transition and will come back to live in another form. Divinatory meanings: Change. Transformation from one form to another or from one situation to another. Changing of the guard. Moving away from the familiar. Loss of security, bad luck. Abrupt or gradual change. Illness, possibly death. A bad loan. Reverse meanings: Complete lack of change. Standing still to the point of stagnation. Possibility of slow or partial change, with the proper surrounding cards. A close call in an accident.”

The Minor Arcana cards are grouped in the booklet by suit, with a brief description of the suit meaning for each. Divinatory meanings and Reverse meanings are provided for each Minor Arcana card.

At the end of the LWB, we have The Ten-Card Spread, described as a “slightly altered version of the Ancient Celtic Method described by Arthur Edward Waite in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot.”

My favorites from this deck include Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee as The Lovers, the Jabberwock as The Devil, and the Walrus and the Carpenter (with the ill-fated oysters) as The Moon.

And now, in addition to doing some readings with this wonderful Wonderland deck, I need to grab a copy of Alice in Wonderland and revisit that fascinating story with its amazing characters!

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.


  1. They've rebished this deck? wow glad you got a copy, it's one of my favourites.


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~ Zanna