Tarot of the Divine by Yoshi Yoshitani

Tarot of the Divine: A Deck and Guidebook Inspired by Deities, Folklore, and Fairy Tales from Around the World is a gorgeous and thoughtfully composed 78-card deck with a wide selection of stories that fit the meanings of the cards beautifully. I’m enjoying spending time with this colorful, creative deck and seeing all the layers of each card unfold. If you need a brush up on the basics of tarot, check out this review of the Jane Austen deck, which explains tarot structure.

Every card has an image from a fairy tale, folktale, legend, or myth/religion in a palette that features a lot of teal and orange, blue and red. The cards are labelled at the bottom (they correspond to the most common card meanings, those used in the Rider/Waite/Smith tarot) which is a relief since it’s not always obvious which card means what. The images are exciting and exuberant. Even the box is lovely and sturdy, a significant cut above the flimsy tuck boxes that so many decks come with.

the box, showing a woman crossing a bridge under the full moon

The best thing about this deck, however, is that by using a broad range of iconic story-based images from all over the world, the deck provides gender, racial, and sexual inclusivity along with extra layers of meaning, Take, for instance, this card:

The Tower card shows Rapunzel and her prince falling from the tower

The Tower Card is usually associated with a traumatic, catastrophic total change. It also suggests that the accomplishment, the life, that the querent has built has been built on an un-solid foundation – maybe one of dishonesty or denial.

Using the story of Rapunzel reinforces that suggestion, because when Rapunzel is exiled from the tower, and the prince is thrown from the tower, the lie that the witch was a benevolent caregiver is exposed and Rapunzel has to rebuild her life from scratch in the outside world.

However, using this story also brings out the positive aspect of the Tower card, which is that once something rotten falls, something more honest, more positive, can be built in its place. Rapunzel and the prince find each other, his wounded eyes are healed, and they live happily ever after – something that could not have happened if Rapunzel had stayed in the Tower.

Beneath the Moon
A | BN | K
I’m a little torn about how to grade this because the deck isn’t really a stand-alone purchase even though that’s not obvious when you buy it. The deck comes with a lovely booklet, and you could probably use it just based on the booklet and some Googling, but to get the actual stories behind each of the cards you will want to buy Beneath the Moon: Fairy Tales, Myths, and Divine Stories from Around the World, by Yoshi Yoshitani, the author and artist who also designed and illustrated the Tarot of the Divine. It’s a lovely book and you won’t regret the purchase, but it does increase the cost and isn’t billed as something that you should automatically get along with the deck. I adore the deck and the book, but I feel that the book is so vital to the understanding of the deck that it’s a bit disingenuous to price them separately.

Overall I’m very happy with Tarot of the Divine and with Beneath the Moon. I love the art, the storytelling, the broad inclusion, and the seamless matching of cards to stories. I feel that this deck offers some wonderful and unique reading possibilities. It’s especially well-suited for avid readers, with its focus on written and oral lore. Take your time with this deck and enjoy the many layers in these meaningful, fun, and evocative cards!

The Fool The Little Mermaid), Temperance (Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara), and The Empress (Our Lady of Guadalupe)

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  1. 1
    Nicole says:

    So many amazing tarot decks coming out now! The Literary Tarot is fundraising on Kickstarter now, and it’s having an all-star cast of famous authors (mostly SFF) pair cards with classic literature.

  2. 2
    nagarajas says:

    So once upon a time in 7th grade science class my really cool art friend was like “someday I wanna draw a tarot deck” and a billion years later I saw this on insta and was like “Wait a minute…” and it was literally the coolest thing that’s ever happened to me.

    I don’t think the deck necessarily stands without the book, but I think the book can stand without the deck, either as a well illustrated folktale book or something to read and contemplate once you’ve drawn a card from a different deck.

    Also, while the stiffness of the deck makes it kind of hard for me to shuffle, it makes a thwippy riffle shuffle noise like no other.

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