Publisher: U.S. Games Systems Inc.; Crds edition (December 1, 2008)
There is truth in advertising after all. The box proclaims “Ask a question. Choose a card. Receive an answer.” That is exactly what the Tell-Me Tarot does. This deck is not for the advanced reader unless they are looking for an interesting way to test their keyword skills. Then this deck is perfect.
The premise is very simple. Use simplistic art work that utilizes bright colors. Soften the blow of the “mean” cards whenever possible.
For instance, the Ten of Swords is shown as someone covering themselves with a huge red blanket. Ten swords are plunged into the blanket rather than the figure as in most traditional images. A bolt of lightning is streaking from the cloud above. The message on this card is
Ten of Swords – Pain/Hurt (-). Though you’ve been mistreated and hurt, the pain is temporary. You will soon become stronger.
That’s a pretty far cry from the more standard “get out of victim mentality” kick in the pants of this card.
The imagery is not just another knockoff of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot. The artist, Nir Cassuto, gives a whimsical air to many of these cards. However, whomever vetted these cards did not pay attention to the Ace of Wands. A more phallic representation I don’t think I’ve seen! It’s funny to me because the Lovers card in this deck shows our man in red shorts while the woman is dressed in a white shift. Odd that we would have a flying penis in the Ace of Wands, but full coverage in the Lovers.
Certain cards give the appearance of children playing at grown-up games. The High Priestess, who doesn’t sit between two pillars, has her hands up with a cloud over her head. Given the cloud at her feet, she looks a bit like Lady PigPen here. And the Magician as a similar issue with his up hand seeming to give birth to a cloud swirling with stars and the infinity symbol.
I like the Knights of this deck very much. The Knight of Swords is on his horse charging across the card. The Knight holds his sword up. His key word is “Rushing.” The Knight of Pentacles is just beginning to move. His horse is under control. His key word is “Future Plans.” The Knight of Cups, key word “Romance”, is looking back offering his cup. The Knight of Wands’ horse does not even touch the ground as he speeds off into the distance. “Breakthrough” is the appropriate word here.
None of the court cards refer to any person. They all refer to the person reading with this deck. Also there are no reversals here. The back is not a blind back. By that I mean you can tell if the cards are upright or reversed before you turn them over. You do need to study the back to see the key though.
No Little White Book (LWB) of instruction for this deck. Frankly you don’t need it since the meanings are on the cards. There are two bright yellow cards with instructions that include sage advice such as:
- The (+) sign appearing on some of the cards symbolizes a positive answer and the (-) sign symbolizes a negative answer. If neither a plus nor a minus is shown, the answer may vary.
- For complicated situations, it is best to break it down into several short focused questions. For example: (1) Situation Report; (2) Future Development; 3) What should be done.
So okay, that second one is actually a pretty nifty little spread. I love three card spreads. The other two bright, and I do mean bright yellow, cards have spreads. You get a Time Spread, a Relationship Spread and a General Spread. The General spread does not give you the questions. You just have cards 1, 2 and 3 and a Conclusion card.
For teaching purposes, this deck does have potential. You could use it as I’ve mentioned to test your skills or others skills at knowing key words. A beginner might find this deck useful however I would be wary not to use this as the only deck for a beginner. It could be difficult to divorce yourself from this concrete meanings. It is my belief that a Tarot deck should be a tool rather than a hard and fast limit.
I did use this deck for my weekly @tarotscopes on Twitter. The feedback I got was that it was accurate. I did not vary from what the cards said even though I truly wanted to. So from that perspective, this deck does seem to read well.