Book Review | Notes From The Pagan Otherworld Tarot | Uusi Studios
|photo © uusi studio
Towards the end of 2016, I backed the Kickstarter campaign by Uusi Studios to create the Pagan Otherworld Tarot. The resulting deck is a delight to use – both in its imagery and card stock quality – and I reviewed it here.
After the deck was created, Uusi announced that there would be an accompanying book* to buy from the Uusi store.
*waggles book at the reader* Of course I did!
So, what can I tell you about it….
The book, written by the deck’s creators – Linnea Gits and Peter Dunham of Uusi Studios – is square, which is a cute detail, and measures 6″ x 6″. The pages are not numbered. Now, much as I love you, I am not sitting counting the pages of a book. *pauses to think* Or I could just be a smarty-pants and head on over to their website to see how many pages it has … and there you go, 210 pages.
Inside, there is an introduction by Linnea and Peter and the remaining body of the book is divided into sections – The Seeker, The Majors, each of the suits, and finally the Luna cards.
Each card image is presented in black and white on the left-hand page, with its explanation on the opposite page. This arrangement makes referring to the book very convenient. The card explanations reveal the deck’s creators’ insights about the cards – often shining a light on the symbolism within the image. The occasional card takes more than one page to outline and when you flip over to read the rest, you get an additional image – detail from the card.
For 83 of the 84 cards (not The Seeker) there are also 3 key words provided. They are good representations of what the cards are about and won’t cause any fainting fits. For example: The Sun – success, recommendation, manifestation. However, not everything is entirely as expected, The Hanged Man, for example, whom I mostly associate with surrender and sacrifice is keyworded with: ‘outsider’, ‘misunderstandings’ and ‘enlightenment’. Likewise, The Star has ‘prophecy’, ‘realisation’ and ‘harmony’. Different, but not baffling! So another up-tick from me.
Since we are all about the Courts here at Tarot Thrones, I have to say that I am pleased with the royal family entries. Their strangely pagan, otherworldly garb is explained and their characters fleshed out.
Here’s a snippet from the entry of the King of Wands: “His entire person is a compass point from which others may obtain their bearing – and like the lion at his feet, feel safe and allowed to be who they are.”
This fits very much with my notion of the King of Wands – someone charismatic and attractive, around whom the world makes sense of itself 🙂
The cards that I was most interested in reading about were the entries for the cards that are not found with any other decks – the Seeker and Luna cards.
The Seeker’s entry is presented at the beginning of the book and I’m happy to see that he does indeed represent the querant. Good guess on my part! I love decks that have got unique Significator cards – saves all the hassle of taking a precious card out of your deck (and thus negating its chances of coming up within the reading). If you do too, take a look at Dame Fortune’s Tarot Wheel.
The Luna cards are added towards the end of the book and explains how to interpret them. For example: The Waxing Crescent Moon’s keywords are: ‘attraction’, ‘gathering’ and intentions. Very nice!
Here’s the $64million question: Do you NEED the book in order to read with the deck?
No, you don’t. BUT, if you want to get the very best out of a deck, I believe that it’s important to know what the deck’s creators envisaged when they designed the deck in the way that they have. And this book does give you that insight.
* Now in its second edition.
Bonnie Cehovet · 14th January 2017 at 3:58 pm
I agree – we don't need the book to read with the deck, but it shows the creative mindset behind the deck, so to me the book is important.
Alison Cross · 19th January 2017 at 2:50 pm
It's always helpful to know what creators have in mind when they design something. Having some kind of book – LWB or a bigger book like this – is really important to have <3