“Successful Tarot readings are based on insight into what you *do* see, and whatever flashes of insight into your own life the pictures may offer you. In fact, think of yourself as the black cat that appears in every card of the Halloween deck. He is your touchstone, and travels through the deck with you as your companion.” – From the companion book
For quite some time, I’ve had my eye on The Halloween Tarot deck and book set by Kipling West (illustrator) and Karin Lee (companion book and LWB author). Although I assumed I’d be pleased when I eventually bought them, I had no idea just how thrilling it would be to actually SEE the deck! While the outstanding cartoon-like artwork of The Halloween Tarot is colorful and clever, I wasn’t prepared for the intuitive and symbolic richness of the cards. Designing many of the cards based on Rider-Waite iconography—but tweaked and twisted to incorporate themes from Halloween, old monster movies, circus images, and the German-made “Vegetable People” that were popular Halloween toys/decorations in 1920’s America—Kipling West has given Tarot an influx of fresh perspective—while still paying homage to ancient esoteric symbolism.
As I went through the deck one card at a time, I noticed how certain phrases popped into my head—a silent commentary to the arresting depictions—and a very good sign that this is a deck that would “speak” to me.
From the terrified man strapped to the ever-turning Wheel (and the target of knife-throwing!), to the experimenting mad scientist in The Hermit—the jolly Pumpkin Man careening through paved cemetery roads in a hearse (The Chariot) to a chained Frankenstein fixed on his cement throne (The Emperor), associations both practical and divine made themselves known.
Reading the delightful illustrated 137-page companion book was more than just a treat: it provided solid, yet innovative, ways to see and interpret the cards (including upright and reversed meanings). While you *can* buy The Halloween Tarot by itself—and it *does* include a LWB by Karin Lee—the companion book found in the box set is a not-to-be-missed traveling companion through this particular deck.
The suits of the Minor Arcana are Ghosts (Cups), Imps (Wands), Bats (Swords) and Pumpkins (Coins)—and the Court Cards follow the Page, Knight, Queen, and King rendering. The whimsical orange and black card backings are fully reversible, depicting a black cat, spider, smiling skulls, bats, vines, stars, full moon, and an all-seeing eye in the center.
There is no nudity in The Halloween Tarot, nor are the images gruesome or threatening—making it a *wonderful* for deck for children. (My 8-year-old son is enraptured with both the cards and book!) But make no mistake: the light-hearted appearance of the cards belies the abundant symbolism nestled within the images, as well as the rich repository for intuitive insights. I was blown away by a three card reading I performed with this deck, mostly because two of the cards contained specific (to me) references about a book I was reading—a direct answer to my unspoken query about my spiritual path. So if you’re tempted to think that The Halloween Tarot is only for holiday readings or as a quirky, light-weight addition to a deck collection, think again: this is a great reading deck than can also speak to weightier matters!
If you’re a huge fan of Halloween, there’s no question you’ll love this deck. However, even for those who *aren’t* rabid for this particular holiday or its accoutrements, a charming, readable deck awaits you—no matter *what* time of the year!
Below are 10 images from this deck:
Below are 10 images from this deck:
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