Heavy on bold primary colors with some fresh interpretations of Rider-Waite imagery, the Hallmark Tarot by Darla Hallmark delivers both clear meaning and new ways of seeing the cards. Published by 7th House, the Hallmark Tarot measures 5 x 2 ¾ inches with a matte finish, black borders and non-reversible Hermit’s lamp backing. The Minor suits are Swords (air), Pentacles (earth), Cups (water) and Wands (fire), with the court cards following the Page, Knight, Queen and King designation.
In this deck, a few of the Major Arcana cards are renamed: 8 Passion (Lust or Strength), 11 Balance (Justice), 20 Tree of Life (Judgement) and 21 Universe (World or Aeon).
The glossy booklet accompanying the Hallmark Tarot features upright and reversed meanings by Darla Hallmark, as well as brief commentary on magickal aspects of the Majors from Kelly Danann.
Someone emailed me, requesting that I review this deck. Although I hadn’t heard of it at the time, I was intrigued by the bright colorations of the cards that I saw online and certainly wanted to see more.
When I opened the box to the Hallmark Tarot, I had mixed feelings. I found the bold juxtaposition of some hues masterful and loved the black outlines reminiscent of Hanson-Roberts’ coloring of the Universal Waite deck. But it was truly unlike any deck I’ve ever held.
On one hand, some of the images felt cartoonish or perhaps even childish. Yet, anatomically, proportions were balanced and a sense of movement achieved. Was it the stark primary colors? The black outlines? I just wasn’t sure.
So I worked with the Hallmark Tarot for several weeks. The Death card is wonderfully original—a loosely chained woman transcends a graveyard holding a sword in one hand, as if about to sever the cords tying her to the material realm. But The Devil card seemed to be one of the most ridiculous renderings I’ve ever seen (a green creature with puffy 80s hair and three pink horns looking as if Baby Bop from Barney mated with Ord from Dragon Tales).
Horrifying? Hardly. On the other hand, the creature towers over the nude couple in the forefront—so I suppose that, in person, this pink-toenailed beast may very well be intimidating!
As you can see, The Devil card niggled at me. But I determined to give the Hallmark Tarot a fair shake, despite this problematic (for me) card. And you know what? I was rewarded with several “scary accurate” readings. In fact, I did a “fortunetelling” type reading (something I rarely do) about the possible recurrence of snowstorms in our area (storms that resulted in a 2-day power outage here at my house in subzero temperatures). At my husband’s work, rumors were swirling that the power company was going to shut off our town’s power proactively to avoid transformer damage (?!).
So I did a reading, and the first card (The Emperor) seemed to say “No, this behemoth institution—the power company—has everything squared away and under control now. You won’t lose power.” I drew two clarifying cards, both pointing to electricity (Sword cards), further indicating no loss of power.
And guess what? We didn’t lose power! The Hallmark Tarot came through on this reading and several others over the last few weeks. My verdict is that if you find the illustrations of the Hallmark Tarot appealing and you’d like a straightforward deck for readings or even teaching Tarot (in fact, this may very well be a good deck for kids, Saturday-morning Devil notwithstanding), do give the Hallmark Tarot a try.
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