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Tarot of a Moon Garden

Tarot of a Moon Garden
Designer:  Karen Sweikhardt  Publisher:  US Games 1994  Size: 700mm x 1200mm (2.75" x 4.75") Price includes shipping.
Price: £19.95
Points Price: 200
Reward Points: 20


This deck, designed by Karen Marie Sweikhardt back in the early 90’s, rightfully deserves its place among the classic interpretations of the stand Rider-Waite.  The introduction sets a context for the deck in the imaginative idea of what might have been on the Moon – before we got there of course.   Mythical creatures, verdant flora, secret caverns and fairy castles abound in the images – and the moon and stars feature very strongly. 

Brightly coloured, and often just a little tongue-in-cheek, this is a deceptively ‘pretty’ deck in some respects.  It has none of the darker overtones you see in some decks, but this makes it fairly easy to miss the strong occult and symbolic inference incorporated into many of the cards – particularly the Majors.

There is extensive use of dragons, unicorns and winged horses as well as vividly coloured butterflies (watch the antennae – very carefully used to imply and extend meaning – for example, take a look at the heart-shapes they form on the 2 of cups compared to the almost stag-like quality elsewhere).

Sword hilts are wing-spread dragonflies – remarkable combination when you consider the turbulence of Swords, and the symbolic associations of dragonflies, which are often held to indicate the growing wisdom to integrate emotions with rationale.  

The Staffs in the deck are the trunks of trees in an enchanted forest, giving a combination sense of strength and power, but also of revealing secrets as you examine what lies beyond the wooded vistas – I did though miss the absence of fire in this suit.  The deck tends to rely on a lot of blue, violet, aqua and green tones which I suppose would rule out the possibility of a nice big bonfire.

A lot of people refer to this Tarot as a good starter deck – I am not convinced I agree.  Whilst many of the images are easy to deal with intuitively, in some cases I think the message has perhaps been overpowered by the theme a little too much for a complete novice.   However somebody who has already used one of the plainer decks - like the RW – may very well find this a springboard into more complex symbolism.  

The LWB suffers from the usual lack of information, and in some cases I quite strongly disagree with some of the keyword-style interpretations – for example the Fool is summed up as “Thoughtlessness.  Extravagance.  Lack of Discipline.  Immaturity.  Irrationality. Insecurity.  Frivolity.  Delirium.  Frenzy.  Enthusiasm.  Naiveté”.  And that’s just for the upright ;-).  Whatever happened to purity and innocence I ask myself.   The spread included is a version of the Celtic Cross.

All in all this is an enchanting deck, full of fascinating little surprises.  I know it fairly well, yet I still manage to find additional and thought-provoking touches which lead me to consider the interpretation of a card at a slightly different angle than before – and that is, after all, what we look for in the end with a deck – isn’t it?


Ace Staffs
6 Staffs
2 Cups
7 Cups
Ace Swords
5 Swords
3 Pentacles
Knight Pents

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