U.S. Cards Games System sent me the Halloween Tarot deck and companion book …
for review. I love absolutely love Halloween! My goal was to post The Halloween Tarot before the spooky holiday. However, the Halloween Tarot doesn’t have to be restricted to Halloween. A few days later I started reading The Easiest Way to the Learn Tarot-Ever!! and I was stunned. In The Easiest Way to Learn Tarot Ever!!, the author suggests that, as a starter deck, you use a Rider-Waite deck and/or the Halloween Tarot created by Kipling West. I was surprised because the deck appears to be a novelty deck but Dusty White, the author of The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot, held it as high esteem as the Rider-Waite decks. (I also received the deck and book set of Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite.)
As soon as I saw the Halloween deck mentioned in that book, as a semi-equal deck to the Rider-Waite, I realized the treasure I now owned. I have two of the few decks that The Easiest Way to Learn Tarot-Ever!! suggests that a Tarot user buy and I’m honored that U.S. Games System, Inc. was kind enough to add these two to my collection.
The Halloween Tarot was created by…
Kipling West, whose favorite holiday is Halloween (I wasn’t too surprised by that revelation). There is a book that is a companion to this Tarot deck that is sold separately, but I do have it for review in this post as well. The deck comes with the traditional little white book, but it doesn’t go as far in depth as the Halloween Tarot book does. I’ve gone over my first reactions to the Halloween Tarot deck in theory but as soon as I opened the tin the cards came in, I was caught in lust.
This deck compared to Lenormand…
The cards are only slightly larger than the Maybe Lenormand and Under the Roses Lenormand that I own. While I love the large, weighty Tarot cards that are so common in most of the decks that are produced, this meant that The Halloween Tarot deck fits comfortably and significantly less weightier in my purse. Because I’m able to tote these cards around comfortably in whatever book bag I’m using that day, I had more opportunities to use these cards. In fact, this is most likely going to be my go-to Tarot deck when I’m away from my desk.
In The Halloween Tarot companion book it goes into further depth about the possible meanings of the cards but it let’s you come up with how they relate to the specific situation.
Let’s look at the cards…
They are printed on sturdy paper that won’t be easily damaged (especially considering that the cards came in a brightly colored tin). The graphics are well printed, you can’t see the many dots that litter the page to create the drawings that are so creative and dark. And, for that matter, when I say “dark” I literally mean that these cards are dark. Each card depicts a creature–usually a humanoid–with a black background that has several stars and, always, a black cat.
The black cat:
The black cat is explained in The Halloween Tarot as a touchstone, a companion that will lead you along through the Tarot. The book also goes on to say that “Sometimes he reflects the meaning of the card, but sometimes he’s just a casual observer.”
The cat in the Halloween Tarot deck is displayed in every single one of the cards. I noticed something about the cat. It was always looking at the main player in the deck, which drew my eyes to the most important figure that I should be paying attention to. In that respect, it was like a shortcut in my reading. If I was stuck, as it occasionally happens, I was able to follow the cats gaze to see what I should be looking at. There is one card that drew my attention: the Two of Imps, the equivalent of the Two of Wands in the traditional decks. The cat in the Two of Imps was looking at the massive figure holding the two Imps. My eyes were drawn to the two figures fighting but the cat was looking at the main dish. When I looked at the figure I felt the commanding presence and saw that it was in a position of power where it could resolve conflict.
As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I was also sent the companion book.
This book provides a background of Halloween and the authors special connection to it. Then, the author informs the reader how the tradition of Halloween developed through time and how the Tarot came to be connected to Halloween. I found out, through the Halloween book, that the tradition of Halloween began with the Celts and warped through decades to create the modern Halloween. While the Halloween book is longer than the LWB (little white book) gives you plenty of information, that information is expressed through three or so sentences about what the card could mean.
The Halloween Tarot book goes into incredible depth and explores the art of the card, the possible meanings, and the “divinatory meanings.” I was quite pleased with the latter, in that it helped the reader come out of a bind if their intuition isn’t all that up to par in the moment.
A typical reading leads you through chapter 3 of The Halloween Tarot, presenting an example routine to follow when reading. It’s as specific as telling you to unwrap your tarot from “its silk or cotton cloth (keeping it unscathed by outside influences) and gives you the deck to shuffle so that your essence will somehow rub off on the cards” (pg 21). This is something that is not often addressed and I was pleased to find that The Halloween Tarot companion book goes into such detail. While it does suggest specific things to do while reading/how to read, it doesn’t limit you to that.
As is true with every Tarot book I’ve read (and, trust me, I’ve read a lot) the book offers a few different card spreads to get you started. The rest of the book is sorted into the Major Arcana and their meanings and then it goes through the four suites, aptly named “Imps”, “Pumpkins”, “Ghosts” and “Bats” to match the theme of the deck. The book dedicates a whole page to introducing each of the suits as you read and practice.
Then, at the end of the book, are several pages for “notes” though it was much too few for me. (I opted to take notes in my Tarot journal.) I found that the section “More books about Halloween and Tarot” was very clever, addressing both children and adults.
Who would like this deck and/or companion book?
- Those looking for a unique deck
- a smaller deck
- a deck that’s easy to tote around
- a book that delves into the history of this great craft
- someone who is looking for a brief history of Tarot and Halloween
- those looking to understand the Tarot in regards to this spooky holiday