This deck is published by Bear & Co.
This first thing to say about these cards; they are physically big. The LWB (which is neither L nor W, by the way) tells us this is deliberate, to make them easier for children to use and to make it easier to absorb all the details of the images. Below I've measured the box and the cards against the Light Seer's, which is standard tarot size, to give you an idea of the differences. The box opens with a sort of drawer at the side.
The cards have a reversible sun design on the back.
The Majors and each suit have their own border design, as a cute little extra.
Each Major has been renamed for a fairy tale that embodies the qualities of that card. When I first heard about this I was a little skeptical; surely a fairy tale can't be everything that the Majors are? I'm pleased to say I was wrong. The cards have been matched superbly with the fairy tales so that they make perfect sense. They are quite Eurocentric…that may be a bonus or it may not! I'm in Ireland, so these are the stories that I grew up with and know best, so it was easy for me to see the links.
And if I hadn't seen them myself, the fabulous LWB would have enlightened me. This feels like a real book, so to speak, hefty and comfortable to hold. The authors talk about what led them to create the deck – it's a really interesting story. There are several layouts, mostly (as far as I can tell) invented for this deck. They're quite complex, too – the largest uses 22 cards! It'll be a while before I tackle that one.
Now we move into the card meanings. Each card has a full page, black and white reproduction of the image. Now, I don't know if this is just my copy, but I found the images in the book grainy and hard to make out all the details. Normally I love having the images in the book, but in this specific case I found it easier to prop the card itself over the image. It could very well just be my book, though, so don't let it put you off.
There's a brief explanation of how each fairy tale matches the Major card, with retellings where necessary, and then a section with the meaning and guidance. These cards are not designed to be used reversed and there are no reversed meanings given; the book specifically says that if any cards end up upside down, which they may do depending on your shuffling method, you should read them as if they are right side up.
For those still learning the Majors, the explanation also tells us the traditional name of the card.
The Minors have been renamed to match the fairy tale theme. Wands are now Magic Wands and the ten cards all feature fairies. Swords are Swords of Truth and feature children on adventures. Cups are Winged Hearts and feature mermaids and mermen. Pentacles are Earth Crystals and feature gnomes.
While these ten cards are what might be called generic scenes, not from any specific tale, the Court Cards are specific characters. They've been renamed from the traditional Page, Knight, Queen and King to Child, Seeker, Guide and Guardian respectively. As usual with me, it took a little while to get used to those, but I mostly have it down now.
Each Minor card has a full page image and a page of description and meaning. Although you can use these cards with the traditional meanings, they have been assigned new, different meanings in this deck.
Here are some of my favourite cards. I'm still picking out different details – for instance, in the back of the Fool/Little Red Cap card, the Devil/Wolf is curled around a tree just as he is on his own card!
I think this is maybe not a good beginner's deck, as the differently named Majors would make it hard to move to another deck afterwards. But for someone who has the basics down and wants to expand their practice, or someone who wants only one deck to work with, this is a great choice.
I'm really enjoying these cards. Because they're bigger and trickier to shuffle, I find I'm more inclined to pick just one or two to study instead of shuffling through the whole deck as I do with others. The fairy tale theme does make them easy to follow, and I'm loving the colours and the general look of them. This is a great deck and I think it'll make a fantastic addition to my arsenal.
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