If you've been in the tarot world for awhile, and unless you've been living under a rock, you've undoubtedly stumbled upon a widely known and regarded deck called The Enchanted Tarot, illustrated by Amy Zerner and written by Monte Farber. Now I don't mean you've owned it or even worked with it, but you've probably come across some of its images in your travels at one point or another.
It's now been 25 years since its initial release and to commemorate, the deck has been repackaged with a few tweaks to breath it new life. I'm in the camp that certainly knew of this deck and had seen it through the years, but never actually worked with it. So when I came into the opportunity to receive this it for prospective review, I was thrilled to dive into without any prior knowledge and to provide, truly, my first impressions of this modern classic.
The package that houses the deck is beautiful and sturdy, and something I would happily display on any of my tarot shelves. But what I love is that you're not confined to the box to store the cards. Personally, if a deck is in regular rotation, I need to keep it in a bag and with this package, they've got you covered. The set comes with a super soft purple velvet bag with gold drawstrings - very Crown Royale and perfectly suited to the deck's aesthetic. It also comes with a gorgeous reference book. And yes, it's a book - not a booklet or a LWB. This is a complete companion to accompany your deck. It's full colour, containing beginners information, spreads and then a full page for each card. What makes it very unique though is the way that each card is broken down. You're given one key word and then multiple categories with which to better understand the card. "The Dream" is like a whimsical, fairy-tale like story for each card. "The Awakening" is kind of like the take away or lesson for the seeker and then "The Enchantment" is a ritual that suits the energy and essence of the card. As someone who enjoys working intentionally with tarot, The Enchantment is such a beautiful edition and something I can see myself using quite frequently in my personal practice. Of course, it also comes with very practical guidance under the "Quick Read" which will provide the general message along with possible outcome.
Artistically speaking, I would describe the cards as vibrant, playful, feminine and full. Even though you can't feel the cards, they are really texture rich which kind of messes with your senses. It plays with fabrics and so each card is like a story weaved unto itself. There is also a lot going on in each scene and for someone who relies on strong visuals to read the cards, I enjoy the fact that I may see something completely new or different on a second or third look. I can also appreciate the colour coding; blue for swords, green for pentacles, pink for hearts, orange for wands and purple for the major arcana.
The card backs are also really pretty and fit the overall theme of the deck. I think that's an important feature that can sometimes be overlooked when accounting for the full design. It's such a shame when a gorgeous deck gets a lackluster back or something that doesn't really fit. In this case, there is a nice flow so I'm happy!
Let's talk a bit about the card size. These are a very large set of cards - maybe even the largest cards I have in my collection. I have to admit, I have a really hard time shuffling these in the way I normally would shuffle a deck of tarot cards. It's not the end of the world, but I have had to alter the way that I shuffle in order to get the job done. While I haven't tested this theory, I'm thinking if you trimmed the borders you may have an easier time. So on one hand, shuffling is more difficult, but on the other hand, when you do lay the cards down, you're greeted with these huge images where you can really see what's happening. I can also imagine these being an amazing teacher's companion. I would definitely use these to lead a class with as they are so large and have that strong presence.
Since I can't show you the whole deck, let me introduce you to a few of my favourites from each suit (and a major): 2 of Hearts, Ace of Wands (love love love), The Magician, 6 of Swords, 10 of Pentacles.
I also thought I'd ask the deck what cards it wanted to show. So, I shuffled and the three cards that came forward were as follows: 2 of Wands, 9 of Swords, High Priestess.
Ultimately, this deck while very delicate with its use of lace and such, does pack a punch. And even though my last observation is totally personal, I do tend to read my cards, no matter the style, through the lens of a classic Rider Waite Smith. So, I'm always looking for the artist's interpretations of these specific core meanings. When I look at this deck, it certainly has its own flavour, but through observation, I'm finding those little nods. Like the character in the 4 of Pentacles clutching her pearls, or the 2 ladies in the 3 of Pentacles working together to carry their baskets of goods. While these are different renderings, I still get that same familiar insight that I'm used to and enjoy.
I'd say these cards would be quite comfortable for the beginner as well as a seasoned reader and with the kit, you get a really full guidebook so no further references required. The 25th Anniversary Edition, published through Race Point Publishing, hits shelves today, and if you like what you see here, make sure to grab a copy!