I first saw Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot about a year before it came out advertised on Llewelyn’s page after they had become the decided publisher. I swiftly fell in love with the cards available, and I followed the artist’s blogging of his continued creation of the cards.
Every new post- I loved, and as soon as I was able to pre-order it, I did. When I received the deck, I did a review here: Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot Review. But, the subsequent months of using the deck, I fell quickly out of love and ended up trading the deck.
Below follows my overall (updated) impressions and review.
Starting with the card quality itself– they are the new Llewelyn cardstock which happens to be amazing! They are thin enough and small enough to fit in my small hands (about the standard deck size), and they are sturdy enough to hold up to my continuous riffle shuffle. The symbolism in the card backs I loved immediately, and as you come to find the animals correlate to the suits and elements within the deck.
Next let’s talk art: they are brilliantly colored, the characters are large enough to see their faces and body language well, and the deck includes people of all different skin colors, and sexual orientation. At large, this art has been absolutely stunning. The banners with the card names are small, simple, and not distracting. They shimmer in a way, which was a nice touch.
Below I will show you a few of my favorite cards.
The Cons (and why I ultimately gave this deck away): I couldn’t get over the Hanged Man, The Hierophant, The High Priestess and The Devil. I know, it’s probably a personal issue. In my video review (linked above), I did state that they were a personal challenge for me to overcome and perhaps that’s what this deck had to teach me. I am being honest in that it moved past personal challenge for me, into a realm of complete dislike for the deck in its entirety due to these cards screaming the dogma my society has raised me in. I couldn’t stomach it.
My problem with the Hanged Man is that he has runes on his cage- an ode to Odin hanging from the world tree to gain the wisdom of the runes, but instead of hanging for
Some of these, I feel the art is lacking. I don’t care for the Hanged Man, as there are runes carved on the tree, but this feels like a blatant disregard for the myth of Odin hanging on the world tree. The High Priestess feels energetically off to me. Her and the top row I could’ve learned to deal with and work through.
However, the last row are some of my favorite cards in most decks. All three having great wisdom to teach us. The Devil while often perceived negatively, is so grotesque in this deck that I personally cannot find the positive, and to read this card positively based on foundational knowledge of the Devil, would mean stepping outside of what the art in these cards tell me. I find that limiting.
Worse is the Hierophant. When I first started learning tarot I had a hard time with the Hierophant but the energy has come forth for me as a guide- not a heavy handed traditionalist. It is the blank formless face of tyranny whipping others of different beliefs into submission and obedience. I can understand that the Hierophant definitely points to this at times- but again this card left no room to move outside of that meaning where appropriate.
These cards made it unbearable for me to use the deck. Energetically they felt discordant to the rest of the deck, and to my own values.
I see many people use this deck with no issue, and when I see it come up in groups they are always having spot on and meaningful reads. I myself used it for spirituality related questions before passing it along, and it was great for that.
Also, this deck has Swords as fire and Wands as air which was a break for me- but I loved how those suits were presented that way. I think if you use the deck it’s worth trying to perceive them that way as fire and air are so evident in the art. (See Below)
Overall, the deck is gorgeous, but just wasn’t the deck for me. I hope that if you use it and give it a go, that you enjoy it. If you find a different way of approaching those difficult cards, I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts.