Soul Cats is published by Llewellyn. It released early this month in the US and will release towards the end of the month in the UK.
Llewellyn publish their decks in large, book sized boxes, made of sturdy cardboard with a magnetic closure on the right hand side. The cards sit in a well with a ribbon to help get them out. (Quick note: I've seen other reviewers talk about the smell of the cards. It's not unpleasent, but it is there, and it's already fading from simply having the cards out and using them. If it bothers you, just leave them out in the open for a couple of days and they should air out nicely.) The cards are standard Tarot size and should be easy for most people to handle; they have a nice feel, slide and shuffle easily, and so far show no signs of chipping, bending or tearing.
The book is thick, well bound, with glossy pages. It starts with an introduction; the soul cats are spirits who came to help us humans find our way forward. It moves on to talk about activating and using the cards before moving into describing the cards themselves.
Starting with the Major Arcana, each card has a whole page reproduction of the card, in full colour. This is fantastic as the image is even bigger than the cards, making it easy to pick up on symbols and small details. The facing page has some general advice, then specifics for upright (guidance) and reversed (protection) meanings. After the Majors, it goes through the Minors in similar detail.
The cards have a beautiful design on the back. It's almost entirely reversible; the reflections in the eye are slightly different on each side, but you'd need to be studying them very closely to notice the difference.
The cards are borderless, with the title printed at the bottom. The Majors include the number, in Roman numerals.
The Minors don't have any kind of matching colour palette to tie them together, but each Minor is represented by a specific breed of cat. I'm taking this from the LWB as I'm not very good at cat breeds (mine have always been moggies): Cups are Bengals, Wands are Bombay, Swords are Siamese and Pentacles are Maine Coons. The Majors are all mixed breeds. Court cards show the Soul Cats as they truly appear; all the other cards are a mix of true appearances and glamoured to look like regular earth cats. Several of the cats are very cat like – see the wonderful Tower below – and some are rather unearthly – that Ace of Swords is looking straight into your soul!
The Court cards have certain similarities across suits – the Kings all have that little beard, the Knights all wear gauntlets, the Pages are all winged and wearing goggles – but each suit has its own symbol (difficult to see in some but always there!).
Overall the colours are mostly on the subdued, pastel side of the spectrum, lending this deck a gentle, soft air. Here are a few of my favourites:
I've found the deck to be quite mild and friendly in its' advice. Some of the meanings given in the book are different to the 'usual' meanings; you can learn the new ones, or, if your memory is as bad as mine, use the 'usual' meanings, it will suit either. The images are close enough to RWS that it could be a first deck, but the altered meanings might confuse someone who learns on this one and then moves on to another.
I'm very fond of this deck and I look forward to performing many readings with it.
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