The numbered suit cards are illustrated in a style typical for many Japanese decks  

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The numbered suit cards are illustrated in a style typical for many Japanese decks, which is to say they show patterned arrangements of suit symbols. For some reason, Japanese Tarot artists are not prone to adorn their pip cards with ornamentation or scrollwork, such as we often find in Italian, French, and Spanish decks. Still, this simplicity is aesthetically attractive, and I can even picture these cards being extracted from the larger deck and used for traditional card games.
This set may not win over with every card, but it does have some elegant illustrations. It is also beautifully produced, with thick glossy cards that should last a very long time. Since I bought this set a few years ago, I am not sure of its current availability but I suspect it can be bought through Japanese retailers. The Miracle Tarot also appears from time to time on Ebay, usually at prices comparable to American book-deck sets.
The Tarot World Magazine is a new addition to the Tarot world. The front and back pages, done in ‘glossy” style, feature art from diverse decks, and act as wonderful bookends for the columns, articles and reviews contained within. The theme for each issue is focused on a randomly drawn card - the card for this issue is the Lovers. The cover for this issue features artwork by Jae Davis, along with the following quote from an interview with one of the leading lights of the Tarot community, Rachel Pollack: “That got me thinking about Tarot and thinking “what else can you see in these pictures?” (It is all about the pictures, you know!)
The scans featured on the inside of the front cover are the Ace of Swords from the Miracle Tarot (Hakusensha, 1993), the Nine of Cups from the Universal Wirth Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2007), and the Medicine Wheel from the Herbal Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 1988).
The scans featured in the Empress Gallery (the inside and back of the back cover) include the Devil from the Dark Tarot Deck (Jose Noe Figueroa Angulo), the Two of Cups from the Karacol Tarot (Henry Chaplin), the Magician from the Staleknight Tarot (Vijay Rathinasamy), the Ace of Swords from the HP Tarot (Elly Pieper), the Sun from the Mystic Dream Tarot (Heidi Darras, available September 2008 from Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing), and the Queen of Discs (Patricia Notthafft).
Featured in this issue are articles on enhancing relationships (Swati Prakash), the Pages (Christine Cover), Tarot and the stages of child development (Gayla Uslu), Storytellers: Test of Love (a story by Desiree Atchison), reading in public (Valentina Burton), and numbers (Kenneth Norris).
The columns include an incredible interview with Rachel Pollack done by Stephen Winnick, a sneak preview of the Paulina Tarot by Christiana Gaudet, working with a Tarot journal (Stephanie Arwen-Lynch), the origins of the Court Cards (Nico Mara-McKay), reading the Tarot from home (Catriona), the World card and the planet Saturn (Issac Bradfield), obtaining teaching venues (and students!) (Winter Wren), and the Hermit (Part 2 of a 4 part series by Paul Hughes-Barlow).
Deck and book reviews include the Universal Wirth Tarot (Amy George), the Herbal Tarot (Debbie Rossignol), The Only Tarot Book You’ll Ever Need (Janet Boyer), Miracle Tarot (Winter Wren), and Tarot Theory & Practice (Catherine Rowan).
Special articles include Cooking With Tarot (Francesca Booth), BIT Snapshot: Hillary and Bill Clinton (Janet Boyer), and Spread Collector: Celtic Cross by the Numbers (Winter Wren).
The puzzle page contains a cryptic message of its own! At the bottom of the page we see the following:
“Hidden Symbols: Hidden throughout this magazine are 8 of the symbols discussed in Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone’s new book “The Secret Language of Tarot”. Can you find them?”
In her “Letter From the Editor”, Heidi Snelgrove introduces new staff members, discusses the new Empress Gallery (which features Tarot artwork from new artists), and a separate project from TWM Publishing – the 2009 Tarot Professionals Appointment Book.
I had the same problem with this issue of TWM that I did with the first one – that it took forever to arrive! There has been a notable improvement in the typographical and grammatical errors (although I do have an issue with the featured snippet from Paul Hughs-Barlow’s article, and in his bio he has an identity crisis that I am sure that he is not aware of!).
The TWM is a project in and of the Tarot community. It has the capability of becoming something that truly reflects the needs and wants of this community. In order to do this, input – in the form of suggestions, reviews, articles and artwork are needed. What would you like to see in this magazine, and what could you contribute? The only limits here are in the minds of the members of the Tarot community!

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