Lisa Hunt & DJ Conway
Another creation from a solid tarot team is the Fantastical Creatures Tarot. From the obvious power of the Winged Lion standing as the Sun to the delicate fairy who sit by the Ace of Cups, these cards are mesmerizing.
Hunt’s artwork has long been a favorite of mine. She has a way of imbuing her art with intricate images that demand your attention. You may know her as the artist of the Celtic Dragons Tarot or the Animals Divine. She is well known in the Tarot world for good reason.
On the Fantastical Creatures Tarot website, Lisa (who holds a tabby who must have been the model for the Magician) says of painting this lovely watercolor deck:
“These beings are fixtures in our psyches, evoking a sense of wonder with the ability to serve as archetypal references for our own life journeys. The images flowed from my pencil and brush, responding to my own need to depict these magnificent, mysterious creatures that continue to captivate our senses and imaginations.”
Some of these images are readily available for identification like the charming King of Pentacles. I looked at him immediately naming him Oberon in my head. Once I picked up the LWB (Little White Book) that came with the deck, that was confirmed. Other creatures will require you turning to the LWB for names. Conway has done a decent job of introducing you to the various animals and others of this deck. The Morrigan reigns as the Empress while you may need to do deeper research into Ua Zit who stands as High Priestess.
Physically this deck is standard US Games fare which is to say it is a sturdy deck that you won’t have to worry about falling apart at first shuffly. Two cards are quick reference cards–one for the Major Arcana and one for the Minor. This makes this a great gift deck for someone who wants to learn more about the Tarot who also has a love for all things mystical and magical.
There’s humor abounding in this deck as well. Hunt’s rendition of the Five of Swords had me laughing outloud. I didn’t know the creature but its turtle-like back, slightly cantankerous look set in a swamp captured a contentious 5 of Swords for me. When I consulted the LWB, I was greeted by the Kappa who is a Japanese creature.
Or the Queen of Pentacles as Danu may be more to your tastes. Here she swirls up and out of the roots of the tree with her arms spread wide. The book tells you that her robes remind you of the labyrinths of life. Her message in part is that we need remember that financial security may come only after a struggle. Perhaps the meditation for the labyrinth would be minding the journey.
Some of the meanings are not what I would call traditional but none of them went too far astray of the area of meaning. One major difference is in the Major most decks name Devil. Here instead we have Fenris Wolf on the card named Chains. Since Chains are a major element of the Devil, it was a good choice in my book. As one of Loki’s children, Fenris has many lessons about why you might be chained.
The Hermit is another card that caught my eye with the old woman peering out from the trees. She seems slightly forbidding in her aspect of Old Lady Of The Elder. Another example of staying close to tradition but moving a bit beyond the old man and the lamp. Here the lamp seems to be the woman herself.
Of course if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve seen the image of the Page of Wands. Circe is a favorite character of mine so I love this image of her surrounded by the animals she so loves. The colors of this deck are soft without being bland.
While I would classify this as an art deck, it is also a deck to be studied and worked with. It will bring new nuances to your knowledge of the Tarot as well as expand your mythological horizons. I highly recommend this Fantastical Creatures Tarot.