“The beauty of medieval art and symbolic nature of mythology serve as the inspiration for the creation of this tarot deck…Themes of alchemy and astrology suggest the magical nature of medieval thought, the same ideas that initiated the art of tarot reading.” – From the Little White Book
When I saw the Death card from the Hudes Tarot online, I knew this was a must-have deck. It is truly one of the most beautiful Death cards that I’ve ever seen, incorporating an unfurled butterfly juxtaposed against the pelvic area of the skeleton—an area symbolizing conception, gestation and birth. Creative, transformative regeneration—a concept not always integrated in Death card imagery.
Susan Hudes created her namesake Tarot by combining luminous watercolors with antique maps, constellation charts and marbled paper, which adds a decidedly three-dimensional feel to this seamlessly collaged deck.
From the sky-clad lemniscate above the Magician’s head to the smooth, cool marbled face of the Moon, Ms. Hudes’ compositions are inviting and intriguing. I love some of the unusual perspectives, such as the bird’s eye view of the boat in the 6 of Swords where we get to peek down at a man about to row while six swords lay scattered in the water.
In the Cups suit, the Court Cards show figures holding golden goblets filled with not water, but aquatic representations from maps. And the rich, raspberry-colored discs in the Pentacles suit are simple, but striking.
The cards from the Hudes Tarot measure approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches, and while the design on the backs is attractive, it is not reversible. The suits of this deck are Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles while the Courts follow the Page, Knight, Queen and King ordering. The Little White Book for this deck is unusually brief, offering only a few upright meanings for the cards, which were gleaned from Wisdom in the Cards by A.L. Samul—a commentary on the Hudes Tarot. If you prefer well-crafted collage decks, especially ones that employ cheery hues and flowing watercolors, the Hudes Tarot will more than meet your expectations. It is a very readable deck, so it’s an excellent choice for those new to Tarot. Experienced readers who favor Rider-Waite-Smith imagery will likely make fast friends with this deck, as well. Absent of nudity or darker imagery, this deck is also well suited to readings for children or those spooked by traditional renderings.
Below are 12 images from this deck:
Illustrations from the Hudes Tarot deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright © 1995 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited.
Content copyright © by Janet Boyer. All rights reserved. This review was written by Janet Boyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission.