The Tell-Me Tarot, conceived by Arik Eyal and illustrated by Nir Cassuto, is a straightforward deck that not only depicts fully illustrated imagery, but also key words and divinatory meanings right on the card.
In addition, most cards either have a positive designation (+) or a negative designation (-), with several neutral (no symbol).
Designed with the beginner in mind, the keyword shortcuts and meanings printed on the card serve as a great memory aid and intuitive prompt. The imagery is colorful, pleasing, non-threatening, and dynamic.
The Tell-Me Tarot cards measure approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches with an almost reversible, stylized sun/moon/stars motif on the backs (if you look closely, you can see that the pattern isn’t entirely reversible).
This deck doesn’t come with a Little White Book, but instead contains four cards that explain how to word questions and use several spreads.
Here are several examples of keywords, designations, and meanings printed on the cards:
• The Empress = Abundance (+) – Abundance, prosperity and success in response to your inquiry. Fertility and possibility for pregnancy.
• The Hierophant = The Healer (+) – Ability to teach, advise, and heal. Signifies a calling to help people or seek expert advice.
• The Devil = Fears (-) – Desires and fears could overcome you. Think positively and have faith in yourself.
• Death = Termination and Renewal – Let go of past patterns, people, or activities in order to allow renewal and personal growth.
• Six of Swords = Assistance – Your receive help and assistance to solve a problem. Your situation changes from stormy to calm.
• Two of Wands = Mid-Phase – You re between accomplishments and future goals. It’s time to pause to consider future ventures.
• Four of Cups = Open Up (-) – You are emotionally closed and ignore all the love that surrounds you and is offered to you. Open up.
• Queen of Pentacles = Stability (+) – You establish long term security. You are practical, stable, and enjoy comforts. No need for changes.
Most of the divinatory meanings are quite good, but I feel that the negative and plus designations are not only confusing and unnecessary, but could become a roadblock to learning the cards and remaining open to the energetic continuum that exists within each.
For example, The Tower equates with Positive Changes (-), but experienced Tarot readers will tell you that while the *result* of The Tower can bring renewal and wonderful changes, the process of getting there via the lightning bolt is usually anything *but*. It would have been much better to call this card “Drastic Change”, and leave off the (+) entirely.
Another confusing example is the Two of Pentacles compared to the Seven of Cups. The Two of Pentacles equates to Indecisiveness (neutral designation), advising “You are indecisive and have difficulty making commitments. Decide and commit in order to find fulfillment.” I could buy this interpretation (although I think the Two of Swords would have been more appropriate).
But in a similar card, the Seven of Cups (equating with Confusion), the advice states “You are multi-talented, with too many options. In order to succeed, you need to focus on one choice”. Yet, for some reason, this card has a negative (-) designation.
While a great idea with an admirable presentation, I feel that the Tell-Me Tarot deck would have been better served had the negative and positive designation symbols been left off altogether. This way, whether a card’s energy—or the actions taken in light of its appearance in a reading—ends up being beneficial or hindering, constructive or destructive, could be determined by the querent (or deck user). This deck would be great for those interested in learning the Tarot, including children, making the Tell-Me Tarot a nice adjunct to beginner books. The expressive imagery alone invites speculation, storytelling and intuitive insight. However, one risk in this type of deck is that the student will find it difficult to create his/her own interpretations down the road because the ones provided have been cemented in their consciousness.
Below are 15 images from this deck:
Illustrations from the Tell-Me Tarot deck reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright © 2008 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.