The Wildwood Tarot

Look to the heart of a primeval forest where deep ancestral wisdom lies to help make sense of your world today. With beautiful images by Will Worthington, The WildWood Tarot can be used as a meditation system, a card oracle,  a Tarot Deck, or as a well-source of profound spiritual knowledge. The cards draw inspiration from pre-Celtic mythology and a belief system steeped in shamanic mysteries. It’s easy to quickly access the magical lore of the Wildwood through descriptions of each card revealing its historical and mythological background as well as its divinatory meaning.

Wildwood Tarot book cover

Guidebook

A 160 page guide book covers the individual meanings of the cards, as well as insights from the lore this deck is based on. From the Green Man and Woman, Archer, and Blasted Oak, authors Mark Ryan and John Matthews introduce forest archetypes based in the seasonal rhythms and festivals of the ancient year. Step back in time to better understand where your life’s path may lead. There is also a complete bibliography to take you deeper into your studies.

This is a 78 card Tarot deck, but the names, suits and meanings of the cards make it very friendly to those who prefer to use oracle decks.  The Four Suits are: Arrows, Bows, Stones and Vessels. Each card has it’s name as well as a meaning on the bottom. The Major Arcana are numbered and labeled at the bottom. All the standard names from the Rider Tarot have been changed on these cards.

0. The Wanderer – 0. The Fool
1. The Shaman – I. The Magician

The Seer Card

The Seer (High Priestess)

2. The Seer – II. The High Priestess
3. The Green Woman – III. The Empress
4. The Green Man – IV. The Emperor
5. The Ancestor – V. The Hierophant
6. The Forest Lovers – VI. The Lovers
7. The Archer – VII. The Chariot
8. The Stag – VIII. Strength
9. The Hooded Man – IX. The Hermit
10. The Wheel – X. Wheel of Fortune
11. The Woodward – XI. Justice
12. The Mirror – XII. The Hanged Man
13. The Journey – XIII. Death
14. Balance – XIV. Temperance
15. The Guardian – XV. The Devil
16. The Blasted Oak – XVI. The Tower
17. The Pole Star – XVII. The Star
18. The Moon on Water – XVIII. The Moon
19. The Sun of Life – The XIX. The Sun
20. The Great Bear – XX. Judgment
21. The World Tree – XXI. The World

Here are some more of the images from the Wildwood Tarot cards:

7 of Arrows - Insecurity | 10 of Vessels - Happiness | 3 of Vessels - Joy | Queen of Vessels - Salmon

Additional larger images are available if you click on the alternative views on the Wildwood Tarot product page>

Fournier Decks – Labyrinth, Favole, I-Ching

The divination decks from Fournier (Spain) are amazing examples of how fine art speaks to our subconscious. These decks are practical portfolios: The Labyrinth Tarot and I Ching Dead Moon represent the range of artist Luis Royo. The Favole Tarot is a dark gem of gothic art by Victoria Frances. We’ll start with the two Tarot Decks.

They are both standard 78-card decks, though a bit smaller than a standard tarot deck. This makes them great for those with smaller hands, or if you want a take-it-with-you deck you can pull out for spontaneous readings. In European fashion, the pip cards of the tarot suits are repetitions of the suits symbols, like in a playing card deck.

The Labyrinth Tarot by Luis Royo

Labyrinth Tarot by Royo

The Labyrinth Tarot by Luis Royo

Fans of internationally renowned illustrator Luis Royo, as well as tarot afficianados, will delight in the dreamy atmosphere, sensual figures, and superb workmanship of this finely-crafted, collectible tarot deck—-created by one of the most popular fantasy artists of our time. Sepia tone dominates the emotionally-charged major arcana, while the minors are divided by color according to their suits: wands, pentacles, cups, and spades. The spades are, of course, swords, just the name is changed.

The pips, or numbered cards of the minor arcana, do not have the full illustrations of the standard Rider-Waite Deck, so if you are new to Tarot, there isn’t an image story to go by. But those familiar with the Tarot will easily be able to read with them. The Court cards for each suite are full illustrations.

The Labyrinth Tarot’s powerful images, featuring Pagan and astrological symbols, were conceived solely for this eagerly-awaited project from Royo, whose award-winning work has adorned a wide range of merchandise and media, including comic books, games, and science fiction from major publishers.  Here are four of the cards from the Labyrinth Tarot deck to give you a feel for it:

Labyrinth Tarot Cards

The Fool, The Knight of Spades, Three of Wands, Four of Cups

Larger versions of these images plus several more can be found in our online store details page:  The Labyrinth Tarot.  Just click on the button below the deck image to flip through the gallery of images.

The Favole Tarot by Victoria Francés

Favole Tarot

The Favole Tarot

Victoria Francés (October 25, 1982) is the Spanish illustrator behind this dramatic deck. Influenced by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, Anne Rice, H. P. Lovecraft, Luis Royo and Brom. A rising star in fantasy illustration, Francés has wowed Europe and is rapidly gaining fans in the U.S. The stunning Favole Tarot showcases this young illustrator’s signature Gothic Romantic style, with themes and characters inspired by Anne Rice, H. P. Lovecraft, and pre-Raphaelite paintings. Bask in the splendor of this dreamy, timeless world, haunted by beautiful vampires, dark fairies, and other mysterious creatures of the night.

The suits in the Favole Tarot diverge from the Rider-Waite tradition, you’ll find crosses, masks, roses, and butterflies. There is nothing in the generic little white book to indicate how the suits map to the standard Rider-Waite-Smith deck, so at Eye of Horus, we’ve done our own interpretation:

  • Butterlies = Air/East/Swords – Butterflies are definitely an air creature
  • Crosses = Earth/North/Pentacles – You don’t get much more grounded than a cross
  • Flowers = Water/West/Cups – Flowers speak directly to our emotions
  • Masks = Fire/South/Wands – The handle is reminiscent of wands and Masks evoke Mardi Gras with enthusiasm, passion, party & play.

Like the Labyrinth Tarot, it follows the European tradition in the minors and has repetitive pip cards instead of full illustrations. Again, this throws off some inexperienced readers, so have a good reference like Tarot for Beginners at hand if you aren’t fluent in Tarot.

Gorgeously grim and lyrical, this unique deck will help you explore the dark crevaces of the psyche—and find beauty where its least expected. Here are four of the cards from this deck:

Favole Tarot Cards

VI The Lovers, II High Priestes, XV The Devil, One of Masks

There are over a dozen larger card images in the Alternative Views gallery for The Favole Tarot in our online store.  It was just too hard to whittle down which best represented this deck! Click here to for the detailed card views or to buy the Favole Tarot.

I Ching: Dead Moon Deck

I Ching Dead Moon Deck

I Ching Dead Moon Deck

You might wonder where the name for this deck comes from, if you aren’t familiar with Luis Royo’s work. His book, Dead Moon, is

“An epic story of the confrontation between two clans and their leaders, Moon and Mars, in an oriental and mystical atmosphere. A story in which opposites attract into a beautiful and fatal story. Luis Royo undertakes an immense, 128-page effort, in which he has combined canvas painting, large-scale painting, graphite and pencil. One of the most demanding creations in his professional life, making it also one his proudest. Undoubtedly a great treat for all his followers, who will be able to enjoy, for the first time, a creation in which the images and the text have been created within a self conclusive story.”

64 of these images are included in the I-Ching Dead Moon Deck. I-Ching  is an ancient form of divination, thought to be more than 3,000 years old.  In China, the I Ching had two distinct functions: First, as a compendium and classic of ancient cosmic principles; Second, the I-Ching was a divination text. Thus, the I-Ching can be used either as divination or as a wisdom-teaching tool.

The text of the I Ching is a set of oracular statements represented by 64 sets of six lines each called hexagrams  Each hexagram is a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines, each line is either Yang (an unbroken, or solid line – associated with male energy), or Yin (broken, an open line with a gap in the center – associated with female energy). With six such lines stacked from bottom to top there are 26 or 64 possible combinations, and thus 64 hexagrams represented. see Wikipedia’s hexagram lookup table.

Traditionally, 50 Yarrow Sticks were thrown repeatedly to determine the final hexagram. This method was simplified into using 3 coins. With the I Ching Dead Moon Deck, you can pull just one card. Along with striking, Asian-influenced imagery, each of the sixty-four cards features an I Ching hexagram. Collectors of art and divination decks will be delighted to add this gem to their collection.  Here are four sample cards:

I Ching Dead Moon Cards

47 Swamp over Water | 46 Earth over Wind | 44 Heaven over Wind | 52 Mountain over Mountain

Larger views of these and additional cards are in the Alternative Views gallery for the I Ching Dead Moon on our online store.

Tarot – the Early Years

Step into the history of the Tarot with this article by our own Chuck Boe, M.A. He introduces us to the earliest known decks created for the Tarocchi card game in Italy, and then in moved into France and became more recognizable as the Tarot we now use for divination.

Chuck Boe

Chuck Boe, M.A.

Chuck received his Masters Degree in Human Development from Saint Mary’s University in 2008, with a focus on Goddess Studies and Tarot.  He began his Tarot studies three decades ago, in 1981.

The Earliest Decks

In my research on the Tarot, I have learned that the Tarot began in Italy some time between 1410 and 1442, when the major arcana cards were added to the four suit deck that existed in Europe since the 1300s. The Tarots birthplace is mostly likely Milan. In a letter written to Queen Isabelle of Lorraine by her agent in 1449, he describes two Tarot decks he acquired for her. These decks originally were created for Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan (1392-1447). The oldest desk was designed by his astrologer, Marizano of Tortona, sometime between 1412 and 1425. A third deck was created in 1441, by the painter Sagramoro, who was hired to create a deck as a gift to Visconti’s daughter, Bianca (1425-1468). She was given the deck at a party in her honor. Unfortunately, none of these three decks or individual cards survive.

Cary Yale Visconti Tarocchi Deck

Cary Yale Visconti Tarot ReproductionThe oldest Tarot deck still in existence, again created for Visconti, is housed at the Yale University Library. It is known as the Cary-Yale Visconti Tarot. It contains sixty eight cards, nineteen are believed missing. In order to reproduce the deck for current students and readers of the Tarot, these missing cards have been recreated. This deck was originally created by the artist, Bonifacio Bembo, in 1445. There are six royal cards in each suit: the King, the Queen, a male and female Knight, and a male and female Page. The major arcana includes Faith, Hope and Charity along with Temperance, Strength, Justice and Prudence. These are the seven cardinal virtues. None of the major arcana are titled or numbered.

Modern decks have 78 cards, but the Cary-Yale Visconti deck has 86. Visconti cards are larger than standard tarot, as well.  The reproductions measure 3-3/4″ x 7-1/2.”  Since each deck was originally hand-made, it is no wonder the corresponding reproductions are so large.

Visconti-Sforza Tarocchi

Viscont-Sforza Tarocchi DeckThe next most complete deck in existence was created for Francesco Sforza (1401-1466) who became Visconti’s heir after marrying Bianca. This deck is known as the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, as well as the Colleoni-Baglioni or Francesco Sforza or even the Visconti-Sforza Pierpont Mogan Tarocchi. Trumps and face cards have a gilt background, while the “pip” cards have a flower and vine motif. The original cards are now divided between the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, the Accademia Carrara, and the Colleoni family of Bergamo, Italy.  This deck is available as a facsimile reproduction of 74 extant cards from the 15th century plus four cards recreated to replace cards missing from the initial deck.  This deck, too is jumbo-sized, at 3 5/8″ x 7.”  In the box, it’s about the size (and weight) of a brick.

But when did the card game of Tarocchi become Tarot and what form did it take? In 1449, Charles VIII of France invaded Milan. Milan remained under French control until 1535. The Tarot spread to France during this time. Still, some scholars believe differently, since tha Tarot of Marseilles differs somewhat in size and style from the Visconti decks. Read more about Tarot de Marseille elsewhere on the web>

Tarot of Marseilles

Tarot of MarseillesIn 1507, Tarot decks were being manufactured in Lyon, a city near Marseilles. This French style deck became known as the Tarot of Marseilles. There are no extra cards, just the standard 78, and the images, reproduced from woodcuts.  These illustrations are less ornate and more familiar to the modern day Tarot enthusiast.  One difference from most modern decks is the way the pip cards (the numbered cards for each suit) do not have story illustrations. They are closer to playing cards.  “In the Tarot de Marseille, the pip cards in the suit of swords are drawn as abstract symbols in curved lines. On the even numbered cards, the abstract curved lines are all that is present. On the odd numbered cards, a single fully rendered sword is rendered inside the abstract designs. The suit of wands is drawn as straight objects that cross to form a lattice in the higher numbers; on odd numbered wands cards, a single vertical wand runs through the middle of the lattice. On the tens of both swords and wands, two fully rendered objects appear imposed on the abstract designs. Cups and coins are drawn as distinct objects. Most decks fill up blank areas of the cards with floral decorations. ” Wikipedia

All three of these decks, the Cary-Yale Visconti Tarot, the Visconti-Sforza Tarot, and the Tarot of Marseilles are still being reproduced. These decks offer great insight and knowledge into the history of the Tarot. They are all for sale at the Eye of Horus Tarot Shop. They make great gifts and purchases for Tarot, Art and History enthusiasts.