REVIEW | The Spacious Tarot: An invitation to reclaim your space

Love your Spacious Tarot? Cathou has also created a gorgeous selection of simple spreads to help you dive deeper.

I didn’t expect to have a crush on the Spacious Tarot.

I looked at her from afar. She seemed cool. She looked intelligent. She came with great recommendations: Carrie Mallon has been a remarkable contributor to the tarot community for many years. But I had some doubts. She looked a little too plain. Simultaneously, I thought she could do with an appearance less colourful, more straight to the point, to go with her overall minimalism. I didn’t get her message.

Love at first sight

She was on the list of the encounters I hoped to make someday without giving it too much thought. A possibility rather than a priority.

It turns out I was too quick to judge! As soon as I got to meet her, quite unexpectedly, she charmed me with her wittiness, her sweetness, as much as her looks (we can all agree that looks do matter when it comes to decks, right?).

Her personality traits matched the environment. Bright as Brighton, where I was on holiday. Quiet and spacious as its pebbles beach. Moving as pebbles, actually. She also got me right away. She understood my elated mood – inspired by friendships, the sea, a land that speaks to my heart. She held space for me to uncover my deepest cravings, the ones I only manage to face in front of a sea. She guided me through it: true and raw whilst comforting and soft. Much like the touch of her surface. I embarked on a romance with her!

Please note I use she/her pronouns to identify the deck because that’s how I experience it. It doesn’t mean the Spacious Tarot is gendered in any ways. On the contrary, gender-neutrality counts amongst its outstanding qualities!

Spacious healing

Before moving on to the review, for readers who work with deities, here is a spread I channelled in Bath, UK, before I visited the Roman Baths and Goddess Sulis’ sacred spring. It was my first reading with the Spacious Tarot. It proved potent and incredibly healing.

    1. Sulis opens her arms. She embraces me. Her healing energy.
    2. What she welcomes.
    3. How to give it to her what she welcomes of me.
    4. A votive offering to her

An inner roadmap

The Spacious Tarot is all about space. Obviously! Its space is vast yet safe. It’s about landscapes, cosmos, weather conditions, night, lakes, soil. We don’t get lost in those spaces though. As they reflect our inner realms, they contain us. It feels safe. Safe enough for us to go explore. Safe enough to hold trauma, fears, uncertainty. It centres. Because there are only rare human traces and a few animals (mainly on “court cards”), the scenery invites us to introspection. The cards mirror the sacred spaces where our possibilities unfold.

Far more than showing many facets of what space can be, the Spacious Tarot HOLDS SPACE. It lets us be. That’s how it centres. That’s how an ideal tarot deck works according to me. Its neutral imagery is the key.

Indeed, visual representation of people in most decks is off-putting for me due to lack of diversity. Not only is it infuriating to use decks that are still so white, so thin, so able-bodied, so cis, but also, more simply, characters can act as a distraction that prevents me from jumping straight into the card. In the Spacious Tarot, The Fool’s jumping board promises access to every card!

If you prefer intuitive decks avoiding figures, it should charm you.

Carrie Mallon’s outstanding insight on tarot makes it an intuitive deck that’s far from abstract or too original to follow. On the contrary, it is comprehensive. One can see how her tarot knowledge feeds each card. It’s simple, but it doesn’t miss anything to be a very deep Waite-Smith-inspired deck. Annie Ruygt’s subtle illustrations enable us to instantly feel at home in every card. Because details are quite limited, it is possible to reclaim the space in each card and dream it as our own.

If tarot cards are portals, then the Spacious Tarot is a key to step into spaces. Spaces we’ve wandered at night forever. Spaces still left to discover and explore. So many potential places. It’s an inner roadmap – an invitation to find out how wonderfully spacious we are.

A note on the editions

Carrie Mallon and Annie Ruygt have announced some changes in the second edition. The most important to me is:

“A few of the darker cards have been brightened, including the Wheel of Fortune, The Hermit and the High Priestess. The linework on a couple of cards has been very subtly changed (Guardian of Cups, Ace of Cups). The Five of Pentacles is the most noticeable change, it has been reworked so that the creature is more clearly identifiable as a wolf!”

The darker cards were very beautiful though much harder to read as everything appeared to hide in the shadows. No doubt those slight improvements will improve the deck and the Spacious Tarot experience!


  1. Claude says:

    I’m not sure if y’all see this, but I wanna thank Beth & co. for this lovely safe space, and Cathou for her guest blog posts! I got into tarot last summer, and as a QWOC, this has been an invaluable resource and spotlight for some beautiful decks! I’ve been enamored by Beth’s takes on card meanings, that I got the digital e-book for easy reference.

    Cathou’s love letter to the Many Queens Tarot convinced me to pick it up, and I’ve been enamored with its energy, especially on new moon readings or evening check-ins. And just a month ago, I took the chance on The Spacious Tarot after coming back to this post! Cathou’s description and experience with it made me feel like it may be just the deck I was looking for. Working together with the Alternative Tarot course that I started last week — from which I’ve been getting so much out of already! — I feel like I’m creating a better practice for myself little by little.

    All of you: please keep doing what you’re doing! Glad the spring sabbatical was re-energizing and wishing you the best ???

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