- Mystic Faerie Tarot Deck by Barbara Moore and Linda Ravenscroft
- Author: Barbara Moore Linda Ravenscroft
- Publisher: Llewellyn
- Format: Cards
The faerie, fairy or fey kingdom has formed a part of Western magickal philosophy for many hundreds of years. These wee-folk often feature mainly in Celtic mythology and appear to only have a close affinity with the British Isles and the immediate surrounding areas.
The fairy was popularised during the Victorian Era when it began to be featured in several works of fiction. They also came to universal prominence via the publishing of photos of what were said to be fairies in 1917 in Cottingly in what is now West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. Sadly, these images were later proven to be a fake when those involved admitted in 1983 to their deliberate manufacture.
Today, the fairy is increasingly becoming a favourite in the philosophies of Wiccans and Pagans with many more creditible photographic evidence of orbs and small whisps of light appearing to suggest that these creatures still exist.
In this review, we take a look at the portrayal of faeries by Barbara Moore in her ‘Mystic Faerie Tarot Deck’—a deck that focuses upon these fascinating creatures and their various ethereal characteristics.
The Mystic Faerie Tarot Deck comprises the standard 78 cards of the traditional Tarot. They are 7cm x 11.7cm in size and each card features an attractive, narrow, gold-colored border around each card and a faerie-inspired design on the reverse.
The major arcana cards essentially stick to Tarot convention with only the exception of Arcana V: The Heirophant, which has been titled ‘The Priest’ in this deck,
The suits are also traditionally named as Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles. The Court cards are titled as per normal Tarot convention: Knave, Knight, Queen and King.
Each card carries its title at the bottom of card in attractive italic script and, in the case of the major arcana, the card number is featured at the top.
The booklet that accompanies this deck comprises an introduction to path-working to help the user connect to the faerie realm.
This is followed by a short interpretation of the meaning of each card in the deck based upon simple observational insights. These only include each of the card’s dignified meanings and does not include any ill-dignified or reversed interpretations.
The last part of the booklet includes a number of recommended Tarot spreads. These vary from a single-card spread, called ‘Dew Drop’, through a series of progressively more complex spreads by the name of Lily Pad, Faerie Ring, Two Paths in the Garden, Love Me, Leave Me Not, Your Birthday Sunflower, Basic Petals, Acorn to Oak and a Nighttime Forest.
While attractive and enticing, I do have a core issue with this deck: its central premise distorts the elemental bias that is to be found, and celebrated, in all other Tarot systems.
As all occultists will know, faeries are intractably alligned to a single element. Although mythology does record slight deviations, such as the example of water faeries or nymphs, in all occult systems the faery is a deva of the elemental kingdom of Air.
This association is even strongly reflected within this Tarot deck by its illustrator who has drawn a pair of wings on every figure in every card. They have also used the color yellow (an association of the element air) as its primary scheme. The problem for me is that in creating a Tarot deck that has this emphasis or bias towards one single element results in a major imbalance in form and structure.
Another glaring issue that I have with this deck is that other than the suit of cups, most figures on the cards look fundamentally the same as each other. The result is that when it comes to interpreting a spread, the cards fail to provide a rich and vibrant diversity but end up creating a sort of pale, nondescript environment for interpreting its meaning.
Others may disagree with me on this point and are more able to pinpoint any inherent subtles in these cards but I must admit to them having passed me by.
For me, the issues that I have outlined in my review of the ‘Mystic Faerie Tarot Deck’ means that it is unlikely to be a deck that I would ever use in a professional setting—or even in performing a spread for myself at home.
Other readers might have fun with the cards and enjoy the quaint pictorial imagery of these mythical creatures but I fancy the deck will not hold the attention of too many Tarot purists such as myself for very long.
On the positive side, the deck is well-produced and clearly a lot of work has been spent on the whispy and often humorous depictions of faeries. As a deck, the cards handle well and shuffle easily. In this respect, this is definitely one of the better quality decks that we have reviewed recently.
So, as a quick round-up of this deck’s advantages and drawbacks:
What we liked about it
- Nicely-sized cards
- High-quality card stock
- Attractively illustrated
- Practical interpretations
What we did not like about it
- Lack of variety in the use of color
- Lack of variety in card themes
- Sense of maturity missing in court cards figures
- Lack of sense of sexual polarity in all cards
All in all, I would recommend that anyone who is interested in either faeries or this deck checks out the cards very carefully before purchasing.
Also, be wary of being misled by the deck’s title for there is very little that is mystical about this deck—mythological maybe but the cards themselves contain no inherent spiritual value.
As good as the short interpretations on offer in the accompanying booklet are, they are primarily mundane rather than spiritual in context.
Nevertheless, despite its inherent faults and lack of esoteric depth, this is still a fun and entertaining Tarot deck and one that will delight those users attracted to the faerie kingdom.
The Mystic Faerie Tarot portrays the delicate world of the faerie kingdom and its charms.
Credit: Review copy kindly supplied by PGUK, London.