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Tarot of the Celtic Fairies

Tarot of the Celtic Fairies
Designer:Eldar Minibaev Publishers: Lo Scarabeo 2010 Size: 600mmx 1200mm (2.50" x 4.75") Price includes shipping.
Price: £19.95
Points Price: 200
Reward Points: 20


Of all the fairy decks I have seen over the years I really think this is probably my favourite.  There is nothing twee or cute about these illustrations –just as there is nothing twee or cute about the world of faerie itself.   Inspiration is drawn from the legends and lore of fey throughout Europe, and all cards are associated either with specific fey, or with groups of the same.

The deck itself follows roughly traditional lines – the Majors are familiar, and Courts are the traditional Page, Knight, Queen, King.   But the illustrations carry some uniquely challenging interpretations of standard concepts.   The fey are faithfully represented throughout, and this reflects profoundly into the designs, all of which are presented from the ethereal perspective of Faerie.   If you choose this deck, and you currently know little about the subject area, I am quite sure these cards will prompt a fascinating search for more information.  

The artwork, by Eldar Minibaev, is bold and striking.  Every illustration is highly detailed.  Whilst each veers away from standard types of imagery, intuitive understanding is still conveyed in studies of the complex pictures.

The Chariot, for example depicts a shining white unicorn, with a rearing winged horse in the background.  This card is attributed to the Pucca – a shape-shifting creatures both revered and feared in folklore.  This connection turned me to considering the terrible destruction from which the triumphant Chariot  emerges, finally succeeding.

The Hanged Man is another thought-provoking card -  human child gazes in wonder upon a fairy suspended by his ankle from ivy.   The fairy returns her fascinated gaze with a curious scrutiny of his own.   The keywords of this card are Perspective and Reversals.  Now that took me off in a contemplation of the highly spiritual aspects of the Hanged Man, so often overlooked.

Amadan, Bringer of Strokes, dominates the Tower, brandishing a flaming bolt.  And the Dagda soars into the sky above fruitful fields to greet a rising sun.  Further study on these beings would expand the understanding conveyed by the images.

Wands become Spears, one of the Feys’ weapons of choice.  I particularly enjoyed the 5 – two fairies battle each other, apparently oblivious of the REAL lurking danger which looms above.

Cups are renamed Cauldrons.  The 5 is evocative, with a fairy depicted sitting dejected at the foot of a Celtic  stone cross.   I was struck by the dark force apparent in the Knight of Cauldrons, where the Grey Man  shrouded in his destructive fog.

I noticed one peculiarity in the booklet accompanying the deck – it states that a sneaky brownie steals a sword from a sleeping human warrior – I think not.   The supine figure has blood trickling down his side and the brownie’s sword is bloody too.

Pentacles are renamed Stones.  The 10 made my chuckle – it depicts a clurichaun  determinedly dragging at a sack four times his size as golden coins spill from a tear.

This is a really interesting and intriguing deck – very enjoyable and thought-provoking.

Hanged Man
The Sun
Ace Spears
5 Spears
5 of Cauldrons
Knight Cauldrons
4 Swords
10 Swords
Ace Stones
10 Stones

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