Are you drinking a pumpkin spice latte or ginger honey tea? Is your house smelling of cinnamon and your porch slowly getting covered in golden leaves? Then the time is just right to discover the Halloween Tarot!
The Halloween Tarot is the perfect colourful and entertaining deck for your Fall readings.
The deck is faithful to the Rider Waite Smith system. The symbolism is adapted to the spooky world of a Halloween night, but reading this deck is very easy if you have a little experience of Tarot. The familiar characters that are the High Priestess, the Emperor or the Hermit are replaced with zombies, vampires, scarecrows and other skeletons. Black cats haunt the entire deck and are present on every single card. The moon and stars play a major role as well, connecting the characters to the world of the night and shining in the thick surrounding darkness.
The pitch black background makes the rich and warm colours pop, helping us spot the many details on each card. And that’s probably one of the best things about this deck: all the details. Spot the eyes in a jar and tomb dust on a shelf behind Temperance, a witch cooking in her lab. Don’t miss the funny mouse on the Wheel of Fortune, the expression on the face of the Gargoyle on the Tower or the Egyptian Sphynx, a direct reference to RWS, on the Chariot. And the list goes on, turning this deck into a real treasure hunt in which you can spend hours looking for symbols that will enrich your readings.
The beauty of the deck is that it is amazingly buzzing with life.
The minor suits are probably my favourite part. It’s often the case with thematic Tarot. The Wands are replaced with Imps, the Cups with Ghosts, the Pentacles with Pumpkins and the Swords with Bats. These suits immediately make a lot of sense when it comes to their associated elements. The Imps come from Hell, their world is made of fire. The Ghosts’ element is water as they are linked to our subconscious, our dreams and emotions. The Pumpkins grow in the earth. Like the Coins and the Pentacles, they relate to the material world. And the Bats of course can fly, their element is the air, just like the Swords.
When you unpack this deck, you know you’re in for a treat. A whole universe of flashy colours, intriguing houses and funny characters. Or…not so funny. I remember my almost first impression was that some of these cards can be a little unsettling, depending on your sensibility to such things.
Making the most of the Deck
You can really use this deck like any other and read for yourself or your friends easily. I have done several readings for myself, friends and family to test the cards and they spoke to me loud and clear, no warm up needed. They also feel good in the hand, the size is perfect and the printing is of good quality. They make for really pleasant readings. I wouldn’t use them in the middle of April and I don’t use them for sitters. I’d recommend making the most of them from September through November when you really feel and enjoy the shift of the seasons. They carry a wonderful atmosphere and they are just gorgeous. You can ask direct questions, do a classic Celtic Cross or even a weekly reading and they will work great. You can also use them for guidance and inspiration. Just draw one to three cards and let the little devils speak to you. And of course, be sure to do some special readings on Halloween if you have people coming over. Everybody will be amazed at how effective and entertaining this deck can be.
The Hanged Man
I love the fact that the Hanged Man is a Scarecrow. The Hanged Man in Tarot is many many things and one very disputed and discussed figure of the deck. But one thing that definitely belongs to this figure is a certain blockage. A situation stuck. And often for one reason, obvious or not: fear. I see the card of the Scarecrow as a wonderful representation of how fear can paralyze us and keep us blocked in a situation or “position”, which can easily become unsufferable. Even when, sometimes, our fears are not even rational. There is nothing so scary about a scarecrow when you look closer: just some old clothes, a broom and a hat. Maybe dissecting our fears or the reasons why we cannot move forward would often lead us to the same conclusion; That our fears are often worse than the actual danger we imagine.
This card actually reminds me more of the Marseille representation of Death as the RWS. The Skeleton is basically a gardener. More than a killer, he is helping things grow. To prepare the future, you have to make room and let go of the old, let go of the past. It is a very happy and positive card in this deck. From the earth where the deads are buried we can grow pumpkins (new riches), the plants and flowers are blooming and strong. The animals strive. It is a card full of life that speaks of the cycles of life, the seasons, inevitable changes and the peace of mind that comes with their acceptation.
The Haunted house has been struck by lightning. The ghosts are panicking, fleeing and flying out the windows. Some are stuck and look like they are crying for help. The cat’s hair is raised on her back. Really bad things are happening. But the interesting part for me is the gargoyle. It is bored. It seems that if we could hear it speak it’d say something like “I told you so”. Making this card a strong warning. You are being warned and should better take this into account.
The Black Cat is present on each and every card and it is no surprise that the Black Cat gets the best number in the deck. At the center of the night, the star of Halloween dances with the elements. It is her time. Her night. The representation and symbolism are very in line with classic decks and I like how 4 animals come represent the 4 elements, keeping the card balanced and powerful, but a little spooky as well.
The Companion Book
I hate to say there is one thing I’m not too crazy about, and that’s the companion book. The supposedly historical background about Pagan cultures is often wrong or taking easy shortcuts. For instance any “information” about the Celts is mostly incorrect or very incomplete. Okay, it’s not a history book, but some of it is off. For instance, you’ll read in the intro that the Celts covered the UK and what is nowadays the North of France. But the Celts were a complex ensemble of Pagan people covering the whole continent, including the entire French and Spanish territory and going as far as what is now Turkey. They were only less impacted by the Latin civilization on the British isles… but that would now take us too far! The whole thing feels a little too much like a Hollywood TV show view of what ancient European cultures were, mixing up the Celts with the Norse, specificities from the Angles and the Saxons etc. My advice is, take it all with a grain of salt and keep in mind that if you know Tarot and own any good book on Tarot cards meaning, you’ll find your way around very easily anyhow.
In the next 4 weeks, I’ll share with you 4 Halloween spread tutorials tailored for this deck to prepare the celebration, so stay tuned.