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Review: The Fey Tarot

The Fey Tarot box and sample cards from Llewellyn

Artwork by Mara Aghem
Written by Riccardo Minetti
Published by Lo Scarabeo, distributed by Llewellyn Worldwide
ISBN 0-7387-0280-3

The Fey Tarot distills the best of both worlds in tarot and the art of Japanese anime and recombines them into something new and exciting. Written by Riccardo Minetti, featuring the artwork of Mara Aghem, this deck is wonderful for both the young at heart and in age. The tarot presented here is lighthearted and kind, “bringing no shadows.” However, this lightness does not eliminate the darkness of traditional tarot decks; instead, The Fey Tarot subdues and twists the negative card meanings inwards. In doing so, this set becomes easily accessible and understood by children.

“The Fey Tarot is a deck full of life,” writes Riccardo Minetti, the author of the enclosed book. There cannot be anything closer to the truth. The bold colors of the cards contrast with the simplicity of the design, creating a uniquely magical and deftly detailed series of story-cards. Each whole card is alive; from the attention paid to the expression in each creature’s eyes to the way the fey’s world blends into the card. Using a combination of unique and bold color palettes, Mara Aghem brings the center focus of each card straight into the emotions the images evoke. Every creature’s face, every part of their actions, contains realistic emotions. Each card becomes a theater for the mind?s eye; where the fey perform on center stage teaching their lessons and showing their perspectives and views of the world and the meaning of life. The cards beg to be played with and explored.

The book is also a masterpiece. At 156 pages long, it delves deeper into the concepts and ideas that made this deck possible. It begins with the core foundations and beliefs of the artwork, going straight into designer Aghem’s mind showing how she developed the cards’ sketches and emotions. Then it introduces the mysterious history of the tarot, and how the fey are a perfect match for this divination tool. Lastly, the cards themselves are described in detail, Minetti adding layer upon layer of insight and meaning into the simple but intricate artwork. The book ends by showing 4 unique spreads to use the cards with, from simple 3 cards on up to complex 8 card designs.

The Fey Tarot is a great addition to tarot enthusiasts’ collections. This is the product of the first collaboration between Minetti and Aghem (hopefully not the last). This deck marks a new perspective on deck design for the new millennium. It also moves away from traditional meanings of the cards giving them a fresh and playful twist. I would also recommend this deck as a great way to introduce young children to the modern world of the tarot, as it presents a very accessible and non-threatening view of the tarot and its concepts.