My Favorite Tarot Decks of 2020
December 30, 2020 Jamey Hampton 0 Comments
I started doing tarot reviews last year and since then, I’ve realized that they’re my absolute favorite thing to review. It’s just so rewarding to really sit with a new tarot deck and spend some focused time trying to understand it. Not only has it made me appreciate the tarot more to see so many artists’ unique takes on it, but it’s also produced some of my best work since I started writing reviews! I did less tarot reviews than I expected in 2020, but I don’t think it’s because the popularity of indie decks is lessening at all—some decks that I was looking forward to have just been pushed back into 2021, probably due to pandemic-related complications. That said, the few decks I did get to review were really something of beauty.
I would love to continue doing tarot deck reviews in 2021! If you are an artist with a self-published tarot deck or you’re planning on kickstarting one, and you’d like a thoughtful review of it, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
It’s always exciting for the tarot community when a new indie deck by a popular artist comes out, and particularly so when it’s a project I’ve been excited about for so long! I’ve been following the progress of Trungles’ Star Spinner Tarot since about 2015, when I first saw the gorgeous four Lovers cards. (Yes, there are four distinct designs to represent the Lovers! I’ll talk about that more later.) I already own another deck designed by Trungles, the also-very-popular Very Little Tarot, which is extremely cute but only has minimal symbolism. The Star Spinner Tarot, on the other hand, is considered his “flagship” deck, with larger cards and more detailed art, and it was sure worth the wait.
The first thing that anyone will notice about the Star Spinner Tarot is the gorgeous art, apparent before you even open the box. From the very first card, the artistry is impeccable: clean detailed lines, bright vibrant colors, expressive faces and beautiful settings. Flipping through the cards for the first time was an absolute joy; they stand on their own as pieces of art, but also tie together to make the deck feel unified, almost like a story.
The tarot world is getting a scientific makeover with the Women of Science Tarot, a new deck out September 8th from Massive Science and MIT Press that honors inspiring women scientists, physicians, mathematicians, and programmers, and their contributions to the scientific fields.
Every time I talk about a new tarot deck, I mention how popular indie decks have become in the past few years, and I feel like MIT Press putting out their own tarot is the conclusive proof. MIT, which was recently ranked the best university in the world, is famous for its engineering and science programs. It’s not the first place I’d expect to dip into the esoteric arts. This is addressed on the very first page of the accompanying guidebook, which notes that the deck is meant to reflect “curiosity about how the world works.”
Eisner-winner Tillie Walden is the most recent cartoonist to get caught up in the world of indie tarot—her new deck, the Cosmic Slumber Tarot, is the latest addition to Liminal 11’s growing catalogue of tarot and oracle decks. And a wonderful addition it is!
I really appreciate a strongly themed deck, and the theming of Cosmic Slumber is thoughtful and compelling. The inherent link between dreams and the tarot is profound. Messages from the tarot aren’t always clear, and it can sometimes be difficult to pull meaning out of what feels like a random concoction of symbols and patterns. Thinking about tarot through the lens of dreams, where I don’t expect logical consistency, feels like giving myself permission to marinate in the abstract, rather than getting frustrated when there isn’t always a clear meaning. The focus on dreams and the subconscious is present in every part of this deck, from the descriptions in the guidebook to the art to the unique spreads.
I’m already looking forward to 2021’s tarot offerings, particularly from Liminal 11’s catalogue. (In particular, the White Numen Tarot got delayed until early next year and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!)
The end of the year is always a great time to rest and reflect and that makes it a great time of year to do some tarot readings. I hope you all give yourself that chance to rest and reflect, and I’ll see you in 2021! 💚