I’m going to be honest with you. I dislike sci fi and fantasy or anything that resembles it. It’s not my thang. So when I initially learned what Steampunk was (a genre which incorporates science fiction with Victorian) I wasn’t the least bit interested. Until I heard about the Steampunk Tarot (Llewellyn Publishers, ISBN 9780738726380) from author Barbara Moore and artist Aly Fell.
I started to eagerly anticipate this deck because Moore was a complete tease – posting pictures and tidbits on her blog months before the deck was released. The art was spectacular – and suddenly my interest was more than piqued.
In fact, this smart move got a lot of us tarot people excited (the deck sold out immediately at the Readers Studio). So the question was: is this deck really as great as it looked online?
Artist Aly Fell stayed true to Moore’s vision and created one of the most visually stunning tarot decks on the market. Even if you are not a fan of Steampunk, this deck is undeniably gorgeous. The colors are bright yet somber, lush yet mysterious….it’s almost hard to describe the incredible beauty of this deck.
The Steampunk Tarot is comprised of the usual 78 cards – 22 Majors and 56 Minors with illustrated pips. It is based on traditional Rider Waite imagery so those who are familiar with that deck will be pleased to discover that it’s easy to transition to this one.
The cards themselves are standard size with a dark brown border. The image on the back has Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands interspersed with gears (gears are apparently big in the Steampunk theme).
The Major are the standouts in my opinion. From the Anton La Vey lookalike Magician to the fantastical Tower in the trees to the dancing gypsy on the World, this deck is a visual treat!
I was also intrigued with the sometimes androgynous nature of the Knights and other cards such as the middle figure in the 3 of Cups. Moore says: “one thing you should not pay too much heed to is gender. The gender used in the card is not an absolute indicator of the gender of the person represented.” In my own readings, I have found this to be a good mindset as often males have feminine characteristics and vice versa.
The deck comes with a full sized book – which I thought was a major bonus. Moore’s writing shines brightly here – there are quotes, Steampunk history, core meanings, detailed descriptions of the images, interpretations and my favorite part: reading tips. There is a short section on spreads but overall the book has so much information it didn’t matter to me.
I only had two niggling complaints about the deck: one, if I had my druthers, it would have been on much sturdier card stock. The deck is printed on somewhat flimsy card stock – which makes me fearful that it could be destroyed easily in the hands of an aggressive shuffler (and yes, I HAVE had that happen before). Secondly, I wish the book had interpretations for reversed meanings. I know that they are not necessary but I like to work with them and would have enjoyed reading Moore’s interpretations.
But really, these points are so minor and they pale in significance when you look at the pluses in this deck. I’ve had tremendous fun and joy reading with this deck and I think you will too. Grab it – it’s a keeper.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady
And this, my dear, readers, will be my last book/tarot deck review. I’m hanging up the reviewer’s hat. I hope that you have enjoyed my reviews thus far – keep reading tarot and keep on supporting the fantastic authors and artists who keep tarot growing more and more popular every day!
The Steampunk Tarot. Text by Barbara Moore, artwork by Aly Fell. © 2012, Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive. Woodbury, MN 55125. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the publisher.