Tarot for the 21st Century!
The Sun and Moon Tarot
by Vanessa Decort, published by US Games
Anyone who already reads with a Thoth deck needs to check out this attractive deck! Sun and Moon Tarot follows in the tradition of the Thoth deck of Crowley with each Major containing a Hebrew Letter and planetary associations, while the pips have elemental symbols. The Thoth keywords still appear at the top of all pips in this deck as well. And while there are many symbols and archetypes that appear in the cards, the message is communicated with perhaps more immediacy due to the fact that the scenes are not so abstract as the original Thoth deck. In my opinion, this is one of its great strengths.
Suits are called: Pentacles, Cups, Wands, Swords, and each is associated with an element and a realm of human experience. Only a few of the Majors have been given a hyphenated name, such as Art-Temperance or Death-Rebirth.
The cards themselves shuffle easily and are of sturdy card stock. Card backs allow for reversals, and all text is very clear and easy to read on each card.
A charming deck in what I would call an understated style, this deck conveys all of its messages in a sweet, soft way. Totally devoid of facial details like eyes or mouths, the characters in this world communicate through bodily movement and manipulation of objects. I personally enjoy the artist's style, so youthful and full of play. However, much of the clothing and hair the characters adopt are quite disheveled or scraggly, and there are quite a lot of dreadlocks and baggy shorts.
As an example of one Major card, the Devil card beautifully combines the artist's personal vision and application of symbol. A winged Devil stands above ground, while beneath him and underground stand a couple trapped in a spider web back to back, arms intertwined and thus keeping them tied to each other voluntarily. The background color to the couple is a deep red, while the Devil stands before tones of brown and beige. Traditional symbols present in the scene: the Devil's head suggests Capricorn, and he holds a caduceus, the wand of vision and intuition. There is a Hebrew Letter, Ayin, which is a symbol of the eye and represents insight.
One thing I found curious is the application of the title Sun and Moon to a deck with little reference to such interplay in the card symbols themselves. For example, there is ample reference to the Moon and the feminine in this deck (most notably in the suit of cups). Perhaps the Sun is represented by the widespread fires and flames in the Wands suit depictions. In any case, I had expected to see a literal Sun punctuate the deck in proportion to the appearance of the Moon.
I commend Vanessa for her contribution to the world of tarot decks - this one is obviously inspired.