REVIEW: Sun And Moon Tarot

This is a powerful deck in terms of the imagery. I must tell you that my first response was “DO NOT WANT”. Very visceral. Very childish. Very LOLCats. Part of it was, I think, that it triggered the Thoth deck without me realizing it. I had a similar initial reaction to the Thoth deck which was my very first deck actually. A dear friend gave me a copy of that deck. I did not mesh well with it. In fact, it’s a wonder that I ever read another Tarot card in my life–but I digress.

Sun and Moon Tarot
Vanessa Decort
US Games, Inc
ISBN: 1572816597

Young. Fresh. Childlike. Not words you might apply to a reinterpretation of the (in)famous Thoth Tarot Deck deck. The first thing I noticed was the color palette. Muted yellows, soft blues, burnt oranges, dark greens permeate this deck. If you look closely at the cards, you can see the canvas striations. At times it makes the cards looks as if they’ve been scratched.

Artist/Autor Decort unapologetically repurposes the Thoth deck and the Thoth system. She has taken Lady Frieda Harris’s intriguing, complex visions of the Tarot and simplified them. Not dumbed them down. Do not mistake simplifying the visual for stripping the intricacy of the message. Here and there you can clearly see the Thoth deck. For me, that was in the Fool as well as in the Princess of Wands. I am not an aficionado of the Thoth deck, but the Princess of Wands is a very powerful image for me. The original one has been pared down to the bare minimums but everything is retained.

This is a powerful deck in terms of the imagery. I must tell you that my first response was “DO NOT WANTS”. Very visceral. Very childish. Part of it was, I think, that it triggered the Thoth deck without me realizing it. I had a similar initial reaction to the Thoth deck which was my very first deck actually. A dear friend gave me a copy of that deck. I did not mesh well with it. In fact, it’s a wonder that I ever read another Tarot card in my life–but I digress. I had to put this deck down and come back to it.

I’m glad that I did. The artwork is reminiscent of a children’s book almost. I love the Three of Disks being portrayed as a graffitti artist. All of the kings are mounted as are the knights. The kings all ride horses, but the knights, or rather princes, ride animals representative of their suit. One through Ten of the minor arcana have the key word on the card. I tend to prefer that not be there, but again, this is a re-interpretation of the Thoth deck.

When I shuffled the deck, I asked “What is your strength”. I got the Three of Swords “Sorrow”. From the book:

Saturn In Libra. Grief and negative thinking. Three swords pierce a heart-shaped cloud revealing painful thoughts concerning love and the trinity of family–man, woman and child– or a choice that breaks the heart.

Let me just stop a minute to take a really deep breath. I’m going to get political here. Family is NOT a man, a woman and a child. My mother raised my sister and I just fine without my dad. And don’t even get me started on the topic of why same-sex couples are just as good as mixed-sex couples for parenting. Breathe, Arwen. Breathe.

Sorry. That kind of mindless heterosexism really gets my goat. Can you tell? And I don’t know if that comes from Thoth or Decort. Grumble. But I think that this means this deck will be very good at helping with grief and negative thinking. And I do love the Sword suit because nearly everyone is living up in the clouds.

My overall take on this deck is that, while it is not one I would personally use, I can see it as a good way to study the Thoth system. This deck takes an almost whimsical look at what has traditionally been one of the more serious Tarot decks out there. So if you are drawn to the Thoth system, but feel a bit overwhelmed by the intricate inner-workings of that deck, give the Sun and Moon Tarot a try. Please note that the LWB (Little White Book) that comes with this deck is minimal. You might want to pick up Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot as a companion book.


9 thoughts on “REVIEW: Sun And Moon Tarot”

  1. Hm. Not sure what I think of this deck. It’s one of those, I’d have to hold in hand to get an idea. I typically use Gilded, or Zigeuner Gipsy deck, and I go more on image/ basic meaning than anything. I like the blue/green coloring of the Sun and Moon tarot, but I don’t know if there would be enough in the artwork to aid me through a reading…

  2. I don’t own a Thoth deck. I’d like to know it better to broaden my “Tarot Education” for lack of a better word, but I haven’t connected to it either… Instead I got the Haindl but I haven’t had a chance to study it yet. When I’m ready to spend time with it I think I’ll study the Haindl and the Sun and Moon together.

    Some of the Thoth keywords baffle me, and the Sun and Moon hasn’t helped me understand why Temperance = Art… But at first glance (I received my deck on Saturday) I think this is a deck I could eventually read with. I think the most striking card for me so far was the Three of Swords… I love that the heart is actually a “thought cloud” above the head of a ponderous woman and that the swords are literally piercing thoughts.

    I also like the fact that the faces are expressionless and featureless… Instead of getting locked into a “this card means that because that face says this” interpretation I think there is more freedom in this approach.

    One of the most important aspects of a Tarot deck for me is artwork that speaks to me. This artwork speaks. It also includes a diversity of skin colors and hair types which I also feel is important. I’m trying to remember if all of the body types are waif-like. Look what you did… I’m supposed to be going to bed. Now I think I’ll flip through the deck just one more time.

    Great review, Arwen.

  3. Arwen, thank you for addressing the inherent heterosexism of some tarot decks. I must admit to looking at The Lovers card in any deck I’m interested in using just to make sure I can work with the image. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    1. Sometimes I have to shut my mind down to it and just move forward. One thing I love about the Gaian Tarot is that she attempts to take away some of the gender of the court cards. Rather than all male for one or all female for another, she has two per. Now I could go on about how that still doesn’t address gender fully but I think that would take away from the good Joanna did by at least using both accepted genders.

  4. Thank you for this review, Arwen. My first reaction to this deck was just lke yours, but the more I look at it the more I realize that I have to have it! I like Thoth and am intimidated by it, so I will put Sun and Moon Tarot on my “study” wait list, along with the recommended book.

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