REVIEW: Joie de Vivre Tarot

Joie de Vivre Tarot
Paulina Cassidy
U.S. Games Systems Inc (2011)

I have to admit that this is the deck I was the most excited about last year. Not because of anything more than my very own Joy Seeker  spread was going to be a part of this. I had been chatting with one of the U.S. Games Systems people when they mentioned they were needing a spread for this deck. I slobbered, I mean volunteered my spread. Paulina approved it thus marking something off my personal bucket list. JOY!

The artwork is very Paulina-esque with soft colors and curlicue details. Cassidy takes us to a world filled with a myriad of characters–two and more legged. Some are humanish while others have rabbit ear or cat faces. The colors are muted. One drawback for me is tha the suits are easily identified by a color theme. Many of the card characters have a nimbus of light behind them. The expressions on some of the cards are a bit malicious while others are so infectiously joyful, you have to smile. Something else I noticed about this deck is that most of the characters face you.

Several cards caught my attention. The Four of Cups wears a box on their head. With two viney branches reaching up from the box, I felt like the character was trapped in their own reality TV show. Not a comforting thing for me since I find most of those shows to be grotesque caricatures of real life. Then the Nine of Wands shows a creature with a leontine mane and a patch over one eye. With the scar on their head, this creature definitely knows how to defend their position.

The Queen of Swords has a Kali-inspired belt that features two skulls. Her own expression brooks no nonsense. I adore the whimsical sweetness of the Six of Coins where a one-eyed egg shaped creature accepts at gift from another rabbit-eared fellow. It captures the idea of generosity for me quite nicely.

The Major Arcana are a hodgepodge–in a good way. Stand outs were Death kneeling on a bat hurtling into a star. The slightly sad expression as petals are blown off the flower in Death’s hand worked for me. The High Priestess peeks out from under her veil in an almost coy manner,but the lotus on her head speaks of enlightment for those that would appraoch. And her World is easily one of my favorite new depictions. A lion with a fish tail holds a globe with a rabbit inside of it. The Hanged Man uses a prehensile tail to drap himself from the tree branch.

Another feature of this deck is that all the characters have names. From Presto, the aptly named Magician to Lavish the Nine of Coins, you meet each card on a personal level. On one hand I love that. On the other, I find it daunting to have to learn 78 new names. But you don’t need the names. They are just an added layer.

On standard stock, these glossy cards shuffle nicely. They are what I have come to expect of the quality of decks from U.S. Games. The box does not hold up well if you are going to drag it around all over the place in a bag filled with other decks, a Tarot journal and other various bulky items. For that matter, neither did my neck and shoulders, but I digress. I have learned that I need to put my decks into bags or shore up the boxes with tape. Or both.

I first found this Meet The Deck spread on Aeclectic. It’s by FireRaven.

Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? Eight of Cups makes me think I can soar emotionally with this deck. A cat holds balloons as he or she sails up into the sky.

LWB says: Setting sail itno the sky to explore new horizons, Scout is in search of fresh inspiration.

So this deck offers fresh inspiration to those who would be open to entering this unique world.

What are your strengths as a deck? The Star is a great rendition of the classic woman pouring water on the ground and into a pool. I see this as another upward focused card as well.

LWB says: Filled with glittering faith, Vega meditates on the star of serenity.

So faith and serenity are the strengths of this deck. I like that.

What are your limits as a deck? Hmmm, the Six of Swords seems to say that this deck prefers to steer away from heavier issues that might be of a more analytical nature.

LWB says: Having escaped troubled waters, a Swan named Passage carrries Faith into the calmness of still waters.

I think this echoes what I was seeing in this card, don’t you?

How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? Well the Nine of Swords seems a bit anxious about this. He is under attack from all these angry, nattering plant-based creatures. It makes me think that maybe there is too much going on for me to truly bond with this deck.

LWB says: Frozen in fear, Woe sits in a tree, terrified by the piranah-like creatures around him.

This is about getting a change of perspective which sounds like a better thing to learn!

What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Another Sword card with the King of Swords shows up. I see him as the no-BS guy who just wants the facts. I think that maybe this deck and I can work well together if I don’t get overly emotional.

LWB says: King Sagacity, the King of Swords, possesses the wisdom and courage to obtain all his desires.

Hmmm, so this deck can help me obtain my desires? Booyah!

I do think I will continue to work with this deck and learn the denizens of Cassidy’s world. It’s like the Eureka of Tarotland. 😀 Enjoy a few of the cards from Paulina Cassidy’s Joie de Vivre Tarot from U.S. Games, y’all.

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