Vanessa Tarot

Vanessa Tarot
by Lynyrd Narciso

Published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Review by Karen Shelley

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“Vanessa Tarot provides scenarios for examining our fantasies, fears, decisions, desires, and choices.  The sassy but sage characters…playfully reinterpret female roles, occupations, and social stereotypes from the housewife to the witch, and the princess to the scientist.  With humor, glamour, and an attitude of adventure, this charming deck invites readers to explore life through the fanciful imagery of tarot.”   – from the LWB IntroductionI wasn’t going to get this deck because the images I saw looked too “young” for me, but who am I kidding?  I always try to get my hands on any new deck that looks remotely interesting.  The images looked intriguing with modern cartoon illustrations, and I admit that sometimes I can use a dose or two of “young.”

Lynyrd Narciso uses nice clean lines within a modern theme that I suspect will appeal to teenage girls, although any woman young-at-heart may enjoy the refreshing take on the cards.  And I say “girls” and “women” because this deck is illustrated almost exclusively with the female gender.  Young girls, older girls, professional girls, sassy girls, and everything in between, from the Hierophant to the Kings.  Men appear on only five cards as supporting characters in the cards you would expect The Lovers, The Devil, Two of Cups, Ten of Cups, and Five of Swords.

This is a light and fun deck that is not as shallow as some would think; there is symbolism found in these cards if you give them more than a cursory glance.  The High Priestess sits on her throne with an owl on her right side for wisdom, and a mirror in her left hand, as if to remind us that we need to look within for our answers.  The Emperor shows us a powerful woman delivering a speech, and the Hierophant is a school teacher sitting on her desk in front of her Sunday School class.

Justice is a woman judge with a gavel in her hand.  Her podium has an emblem with a scale in front of two crossed swords pointing upwards.  Her earrings are tiny little scales, as if to make sure everything she hears is weighed fairly.   The Devil shows a half-naked woman next to her lover, who just happens to be handcuffed to the bed!  The Moon shows a young lady who is being offered lobster on a plate, and she’s ready with her fork.  Her hair covers her eyes as if to shield her from the illusions the moon might show her.

The Five of Wands has five bridesmaids fighting over the bride’s bouquet toss.  The Ten of Wands gives us a young girl studying late into the night with stacks of books surrounding her.  In the Three of Swords a woman sits on her sofa.  Behind her the moon shines in the night sky and she looks as if she fell asleep crying on the couch and woke up to find out the sun has gone down already.  (I can certainly remember crying myself to sleep over boys, falling asleep on the couch, and waking up many hours later.)

Now on to the necessary details.  The cards are a little smaller than average and measure 3 3/4” x 2 3/8“.  The cardstock feels sturdy enough and it has a nice matte lamination, which means no shiny, sticky, smelly cards.  And the best part of the overall package is the box, which is actually a purple tin decorated with the High Priestess on the lid.  I really love this design as I can carry it around with me and not worry about the cards or box getting damaged or frayed.  It would be great if more decks came with this packaging!

The backs of the cards are purple with pinstripes and have blue stars in varying sizes.  They are reversible and do not have the US Games copyright in tiny print.  Yay!  The Major Arcana title names are standard with Strength as VIII and Justice XI.   The suits and courts are standard with Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins, and Page, Knight, Queen, and King.  And I know this is a little thing, but I really like the typeface on the borders which adds to the modern feel of the deck.

The Little White Book (LWB) is better than most.  Each Major card has a little description of the image and a set of meanings for upright and reversed positions.  The minors are listed by number, so the Aces are grouped together, then the Twos, and so on through the Kings.  There is a little summary of each number and then the upright and reversed meanings are given for each suit within that number.  The LWB includes a suggestion to pull a daily card and also includes the simple Triangle Spread, better known as Past, Present, Future.

The target audience for this deck is female teenagers and maybe young ladies in their early twenties.  I would also recommend this deck for women who like the modern illustrations and are looking for a little light-hearted fun, and of course the Tarot Collector.

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Illustrations from the Vanessa Tarot deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA.  Copyrights  by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  Further reproduction prohibited.

EarthAngel2911 and For the Love of Tarot © 2004 – 2007  All Rights Reserved

Written  12/Apr/07
Updated 04/Nov/07

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