Lovers of the Moon, rejoice! Here is a deck that honours the dark phase of the Moon, from which its name derives. A deck of Moon magic, of natural rhythms and lunar cycles, women’s spirituality, and a deep infusion of femininity and power (out of 78 cards, I counted three that show a masculine figure). A black and white deck it may be, however its energy and artistic creativity are anything but. I have been very pleasantly surprised by this deck, although it is not one I would recommend to a beginner for reasons I’ll explain below.
A first in my collection, this is a square deck that follows Tarot structure by having 22 major and 56 minor arcana. The major arcana are painted on a white background, whereas the minors have a black background. Moon phases feature heavily throughout most cards, starting with the beautiful, innocent Fool.
It is hard to describe this deck – one has to see each and every card to realise and relish the beautiful and often highly original renditions seen in many of the cards – but overall, I would say it has a gentle, yet powerful, feminine energy, one that hints at incense, smoke, ritual, magic, and a deep love of the natural rhythms of life, of nature itself.
** I only realised after I scanned the cards that my scanner has a few smudges and lines on the plate, so I should clarify that the minors do not actually show these and the background is a flawless black. Blame it on the toddler…
Many minor cards have very original or unusual depictions – see for example the Ace of Wands above, or the 6 of Cups below, and thus will challenge your intuition and bring in new perspectives – this, I feel, is a good thing for the experienced reader, but may prove more challenging for tarot beginners.
As a student and acolyte of the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) tradition, I advise beginners to really understand the minors in the RWS deck before exploring more unconventional tarot decks; this, I feel, sets a good foundation of understanding the numerology and element combination in each minor card. That aside, I really do think this is a brilliant deck that has so much to offer a reader – particularly one that follows the path of natural magic and witchcraft.
If there is one thing I’d wish to be different, it would be the Queen and King cards, which again, offer a different artistic interpretation that does not show actual people (below). This, of course, is only my view – and while I do love the way these cards were drawn, I still think that Court cards should be true to their essence of having an actual person depicted, at various stages of maturity.
The deck comes in a sturdy box with a guidebook by Emily Mundy, which is great for when you are ready to read about card meanings, and offers good explanations for some of the different or more unusual cards. It also gives four card meanings based on the card position: upright, right, left and reversed. Given that I do not read with reversed cards, this is not really something I’ll use, and personally think it’s adding too much complexity in a reading – but that is just me. I am certainly more than happy to shuffle and lay the cards in one position (upright), and this deck has given exceptional readings this way.
There is plenty of room in the box for you to add a crystal or reading cloth – I like to keep with the colour theme and chose a selenite to keep the cards company.
Finally, the card stock (I’m rather picky on this subject). Overall, it is good and has a laminate feel which should offer the cards some protection against wear and tear (and tea spills, which I am rather prone to). I do think they are a bit too thin through, and wouldn’t mind to see a thicker card stock in future editions – even one with a more paper feel to it, rather than plastic. Again, this is just me. I understand the need to laminate, yet I personally find decks that offer a nice natural tangible feel to them much more enjoyable to use.
Overall though, this is a stunning independent publication, and I love to see such amazing work grace and enrich the tarot world – a heartfelt thank you to Wren for making this happen and adding beauty and magic to our world.