REVIEW: American Obscura Tarot

So what is your take on this deck? Love it? Hate it? Repelled or compelled? I love the unflinching look at our own gothic heritage. I hope others will buy this deck. I’d love to discuss it with you.

American Obscura Tarot
Misha Huntting
Etsy Link

Click for larger imageThis is a perfect time to tell you all how much I admire well done self-promotion. It’s not easy to do without coming across like an attention seeker. You all can probably name those who do this ad nauseum. Read my book. Read my reviews. Read my blog. Look at me. Like a toddler shouting from the yard, “Watch me, mama. Watch me.”

Click for larger imageBut that is not what Misha Huntting did. Her initial email was polite, professional and best of all, concise. She told me who she was and what she’d done in the first 2-3 sentences.  And there was genealogy involved too.

 Then she let me know how I could learn more about the deck or get the deck. Brilliant. She could teach a class on how to do effective guerrilla promotion.

So I requested a copy of the deck. For full disclosure, I received this deck from the artist as a review copy. That does not color my review.

When I looked at it, I first sent Misha a note asking if the pip cards (the minors) were in the Marseilles style of non-illustrated pips. She replied that they were. I think that’s an important thing to note. Some of us prefer the illustrated pips of the Rider-Waite-Smith style. I’m one of those. But I do own several Marseilles style as well.


When I got the deck, I was impressed with the attention to detail in the packaging. The deck is large and comes in a cardboard box like you might find a necklace in. It’s sturdy. The cards themselves have a plain white muslin drawstring bag with AO stamped on it. Very plain. Very simple. And it fits the theme of this deck for me.

The card stock is stiff. I do have one complaint here (and I have the same one about the Mary-El as well). It shows scratches. Not that the color comes away but the cards dent. I have acrylic nails so I am forever nicking these up. My cat jumped up on the table when I was working with them and he left a nasty toe mark on the back of one. It doesn’t damage the cards, but I can see the mark. LOL

If you are an American history buff, I think you will be impressed by the amount of research Misha put into this deck. I showed it off at my Tarot Meetup and one guy immediately knew who the Hanged Man was. And it’s an obscure reference. Hence the perfection of the name – American Obscura.

The Devil is intense. Misha’s chosen to portray a fire that killed many women who were working in a sewing factory. Then the Star (thumbnail above) is so bleak yet you still have a sense of hope in this tattooed bartender. She is making her own way, yes? And I love her choice of Mrs. Winchester for Death. I’ve been to the Winchester Mystery house. The story of that place is haunting–no pun intended.

My bottom line is always is this an art deck or a reading deck. For me, this will be a bit of both. I have a working knowlege of the pips so I don’t have to have the pictures. I would reserve this deck for my more avant-garde clients. Some of the images are quite disturbing–particularly the Tower which shows a dead Hollywood starlet underneath the Hollywoodland (the original) sign. I really think this deck would be excellent for reading at a spooky Halloween party where I was hired to be the scary fortune teller. LOL

Here’s my take on this King of Coins. If you like that page while you are there, you will see my daily card posts.

Visit Misha Huntting’s site to learn more about this deck. She does keep a blog as well where she talks about this deck.

Don’t need to learn more? Just want to scoop up your own copy? It’s in its 2nd run. You can order it here.

So what is your take on this deck? Love it? Hate it? Repelled or compelled? I love the unflinching look at our own gothic heritage. I hope others will buy this deck. I’d love to discuss it with you.

You can click any image to make it larger. Enjoy!

4 thoughts on “REVIEW: American Obscura Tarot”

  1. I really like the look of this, I’ll maybe get in touch with her and see if she can send me a Court card image and I can help her with a spot of promotion on m’blog? Although it’s not a hugely widely read blog….yet 😉

    Ali x

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