Thursday, October 02, 2014

A Look at Five Round Decks

What do I love about them?
  • My eyes like how they look.
  • My brain seems to think they're more complex and interesting than rectangular cards.

What is challenging about them?
  • Shuffling! Pretty much have to do the smush-around-on-the-table method
  • Cutting off borders is well nigh impossible unless you're willing to have slightly uneven edges, or just happen to have a die cut exactly the right size hanging around.
  • Scanning them in straight! You'll see what I mean.

Which ones do I have?
  • Motherpeace 
  • Circle of Life
  • Songs for the Journey Home
  • Daughters of the Moon
  • Tea Leaf Fortune Cards (not a tarot deck but too interesting not to include here!)

How did I choose which cards to feature here? Purely selfish.
I've experiencing a lot of stress right now, so they needed to be:
  • soothing
  • visually unchallenging
  • possibly humorous

1) The Motherpeace is the mother of all circular decks, co-created in 1981 by Karen Vogel and Vicki Noble. It's published in two sizes; I have the larger 4.5" deck.

It can be called a "feminist" deck in that it uses more female images than the earlier somewhat white-European-male decks. It's not in any way anti-male, however.

It's also more inclusive of various body shapes, ages, and colours.
The court cards are Daughters, Sons, Priestesses, and Shamans. The suits are the usual Wands, Cups, Swords, with Discs instead of Pentacles.

2) The Circle of Life (2007) is a beautiful and unusual deck drawn by Maria Distefano which could really use a companion book (I think) to explain some of the more mysterious images.

Maria's images are often crammed with tiny details, such as the beetle on a string here in the 7 of Pents. Because I'm going for the most restful images in this post, some of her more complex compilations aren't here. Sorry about that!

Colours are luminous without being gaudy. I must admit that I'm smitten by the artwork!

The suits are standard except for Chalices sitting in for Cups.

3) Songs for the Journey Home hails from New Zealand and is the work of artist Dwariko von Sommaruga and writer Catherine Cook. It first came out in 1993.

The colour intensity is slightly muted, giving the deck a feeling of gentleness. I was lucky enough to find the larger cards (4"); only a smaller size is available now.
The suits have been renamed to align with the four elements: flame, wave, wind, and earth.
The courts move from Innocence to Awakening,
Creating, and finally Resolving.

The Minors are referred to as"Songs", like the 4 of Flame Songs here. They're singing us home, wherever that may be.

4) Daughters of the Moon by Ffiona Morgan and other illustrators is a self-published deck first offered in 1984 and reprinted several times since then.
She's changed many of the Major Arcana names, like The Dreamer here as the Fool card.

We see Maiden, Mother, Crone instead of the more common four Courts.
With saturated colours ranging from bright to darkish, these are the largest of my round decks at over 5" wide.

Her suits are Flames, Cups, Blades, and Pents. As the title implies, this is a deck using mostly female figures.

5) Tea Leaf Fortune Cards (2011) by author Rae Hepburn and illustrator Shawna Alexander is a whacking big pile of 200 cards! Although I don't use oracle decks for reading, I do find many of them attractive and intriguing. Besides, there's the obvious tea connection here!
The pictures are uncomplicated and cute. Round like a tea cup, the cards are pretty small at just over 3" wide.
Visually it reminds me of a Lenormand deck, and some of the card names are the same as well.

This week I just want to pack up my tent and a case of wine, and watch the sunrise from my trusty hammock!