Back in 2008-2010, I worked at Barnes & Noble and took full advantage of my employee discount. Aside from rocks, pogs and stickers, I hadn’t accumulated many collections of much. If a deck looked good to me, I bought it. I already had the Victorian Romantic and admired Baba Studio for their quality. Loving the gothic and sumptuous look, it was mine when our copies arrived.
So I’ve had this deck for a while. It may not get as much play as my Russian or RWS, but it’s given me much when it comes out. I came up with the name “Moonthrall” and had many stirring, contemplative dialogues with it by pulling random cards in succession.
Here is my original review from back in 2009.
Compared to the Victorian Romantic (whose artwork put me off at first because they differ so much from card to card), the BG is borderless and the scenes expansive. They feel real and the lighting, coloring and styles are pretty consistent. You can feel night coming on in the bluish tinge of dusk on many of the cards.
That realness is from photographs- some with the handtinted look of antique portraits. Like the pair of little children on the 6 of Cups, holding flowers and standing in front of a grave. Who’s? The framed picture on the grave’s cross features the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus- probably their mother. A charming vignette.
It’s easy to go deeper or psychological with these to see what currents run underneath the reading. But some can be inspiring or just fill you with lunatic giddiness- I thought of my business’s name by drawing some cards.
My favorite cards will illustrate the macabre and oddly humorous feel of this deck:
The Queen of Wands Striking- her bright rose colored gown pops out from the gloomy ballroom. The large room with the chandelier reminds me of the Crystal Room at college, where we had concerts and gatherings. She looks like she’s having fun dancing alone.
The 7 of Cups woman has an indulgent, mischievous grin on her face- holds a beautiful glass of red “wine” and strands of dark pearls and gazes up at the full moon.
The 4 of Wands Three women hang out in their yard at night and look very happy to see you. Almost too happy. Hey, I like going for walks at night, too.
The 2 of Cups Like a scene from the Munsters- a nice distant cousin is courting the “normal” one. What with his slicked back hair and shiny button up boots, he’s a catch.
And the Knight of Wands just reminds me of the hunchbacked cousin from Addams Family Values- the one Wednesday has to dance with. The old formal getup, creepy gaze and red bouffant must do it.
Much of this deck is RWS based, but all offer other ways of going in completely different directions. Through the imagery and overall feel, you’ll have many opportunities to see things you wouldn’t in any other deck. Like a horrified skeletal man who may have just realized he’s entombed in a catacomb. Oops.
I highly suggest getting the kit. You will not find shoddy history or a plain old celtic cross layout in this book. Written by Karen Mahony, it goes over tarot’s origins and the basics of reading but adds so much more. There are upright and reversed meanings, detailed image explanations, snippets from literature, poetry, original photographs used, sample readings and an essay by Dan Pelletier (of tarotgarden) on “dark” decks. A huge collection of useful reading for this deck and to expand your knowledge of tarot.
See card images, tarot bags and stay up to date on new editions at the Bohemian Gothic’s own site.