Confession: I don’t really know how to review a tarot deck.
That’s why I pretty much always end up doing an interview spread with a new deck, rather than a proper ‘review’. But I’m gonna try now, because I want to show the world how brilliant The Gorgon’s Tarot is.
First off, the creator, Dolores Fitchie. No point gushing on again here, I’ve published an interview/meeting/write-up-of-a-very-awesome-afternoon with Dolores right here.
Second – the cards. The deck I’m holding in my hands right now (okay, it’s on the table beside me) is not the version most of you will end up buying. Mine is huge! A mistake on the publisher’s (Schiffer’s) part – the first batch was an impossible-to-handle 5in diameter deck which Dolores describes as ‘a coffee table deck’. The now-published edition is a much more manageable size!
So – what are they like?
Thick and heavy – perhaps weighty is a better word. Laminated with a gloss plastic which means they don’t shuffle too easily, but I think they’ll break in okay.
They’re circular – inspired by an early deck in Dolores’ collection, the Motherpeace Tarot – which makes them really interesting to read with. If you ‘do reversals’ for example, then the infinite variety of possible angles with a circular card adds a whole extra level of interpretation to a tarot reading.
Stylistically, the cards are entirely monochrome, except for the occasional splash of red (this really appeals to me as it’s the same principle I apply to my growing collection of tattoos!) The illustrations have been created using a few different computer apps and have this really distinctive, strong style – not quite cartoons, they feel more like a really great graphic novel. And one lovely detail which Dolores pointed out to me is that each card has one small element which overlaps the border – a flower bursting out here of a fishtail escaping there.
They’re peppered with animals and mythical creatures – rats, shoggoths, dogs, fish, sheep, snakes…every card has a little helper or some tiny observer. As you use these cards more and more you really feel very grateful to these creatures for hanging out and keeping you company.
This is a very ‘woman focused’ tarot deck.
For me it sits somewhere between an Ursula Le Guin fantasy novel and a celebration of your inner goddess. Most of the cards, aside from some of the kings/knights, feature women, and that combined with the stark, black-and-white illustrative style creates this real indomitable feeling of female strength.
I had to laugh (because otherwise I would have cried) when Dolores told me about a man who popped up on Aeclectic Tarot to complain that he felt ‘left out’ by the female-focus of this deck. But I digress.
There’s also an extra card!
The Blind Gorgon gives her name to the tarot deck and represents you, me, Dolores – any person who picks up a deck of cards and wonders what she might learn next:
And the more she knew, the more she understood how little she knew. And so she kept going, until she came upon a brick wall of glut and then and there she reflected that, on occasion, knowing so very much is just like being blind.
The book which accompanies this deck is something else entirely. It’s witty, insightful, clever, touching and often just straight to the point. Whilst there are helpful keywords/ideas for readers, I really love Dolores’ brief, to-the-point explanations of what this or that card is doing in your reading:
Cheer up, for here comes a candle to light your way out of your slumber. It springs straight out of a volcano and comes wrapped in wisdom. Never mind the possible preliminary shock. It’s all for the greater good. (Ace of Wands)
She tames with her love and pacifies with her serene grace. Her strength is the irrepressible, invisible power of Nature and she operates from a heart at peace with itself and all its many rooms (dark cupboards and shadowy cellars included), using her unadulterated instincts. She neither has nor inspires fear. (Strength)
Where to buy The Gorgon’s Tarot
To finish, here are a few of my favourite cards: