Tarot of the Magical Forest – Hsu Chi Chun and Leo Tang
“In order to understand the language of fables, you simply must imagine you are a child once again and let your imagination lead you into this mystical world. In this way, with the same innocent and childlike craving for discovery, you will seek the simplest and most truthful meanings of the Tarots: the most extraordinary ones that we had forgotten we knew, those that we left behind together with our old books of fairy tales and toys that had seemed so magical to us long ago.” – From the Little White Book to the Tarot of the Magical Forest
An utterly adorable Tarot deck from Lo Scarabeo, the Tarot of the Magical Forest is populated with families of bunnies, foxes, frogs and cats within the Minor Arcana, while all manner of animals govern the forest in the Majors.
White old bear lumbers in the cold, illumined lantern leading the way through the snow. Crocodile Grandmother presides over disputes among the forest creatures, while Johnny Porcupine drives a careening chariot, vowing not to return until from the city until the sun is set. Brother Bat hangs upside down, seeing the world from a new perspective, as the empress Crowned Piglet declares happiness, love and tranquility among the forest populace.
Such are some of the characters gracing the soft, colorful imagery of the Tarot of the Magical Forest. Modeled after the Rider-Waite-Smith depictions, the card illustrations catch these wide-eyed creatures performing all-too-human actions. Whether it’s sneaky cat making off with an armful of blades in the 7 of Swords or the pragmatic fox doling out coins to outstretched paws, this lighthearted deck captures universal themes both mundane and profound.
The Family of Bunnies—nurturing, guileless and sensitive—corresponds to the human suit of Chalices. The Family of Foxes—practical, shrewd and earthy—corresponds to the human suit of Pentacles. The imaginative, creative and passionate Family of Frogs correspond to the human suit of Wands, while the intellectual, communicative and fickle Family of Cats correspond the human suit of Swords.
The Little White Book to the Tarot of the Magical Forest is delightful, especially the text of the Major Arcana meanings conveying the attitude, mission and declaration of each character. For example, Rabbit Swellhead (The Magician) says, “Oh Animals of the Forest, I will amaze you with marvels and magic, with wonders never seen before!” while Red Crayfish (The Moon) thinks, “I am confused in this water that comes from far way and drags me backwards.”
Measuring approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ½ inches, the cards feature a reversible design of a dark forest with sparkling points of light. The Court Cards of the Tarot of the Magical Forest follow the Knave, Knight, Queen and King demarcation.
If you enjoy gentle, comfy decks, you’ll probably love the Tarot of the Magical Forest. Despite its non-threatening nature, it delivers accurate, pointed advice and insights into even the most troubling issues. I’ve used this deck occasionally for the last six months and it never fails to elicit a smile or a chuckle from me, even while it packages the most piercing of truths in its cuddly exterior.