‘Tis the season for long nights, warm drinks, and going within. What could be more perfect for that then lovingly caressing the perfect tarot deck for this introspective time of year? As I mentioned in my post My Tarot Decks for Autumn, I’ve been using a different deck for each month. Celebrating the passage of time with reverence is one of my favorite parts of my Pagan practice, and this just helps me attune to the season and its energies.
I’ve also listed some new readings in my Etsy shop, including my Wintertide reading (which focuses on going within and self-awareness), and a year ahead reading. There will be more coming, as I have some ideas marinating. 🙂
But let’s get to the fun part. These 3 decks are newish to me, and I’ve LOVED working with them. I will be writing about the deck interviews I’ve done in the coming months.
For December, I wanted a deck that was colorful, opulent, and celebratory. I wanted it to invoke the celebrations of Yule, but without being over-the-top Christmassy. So after doing my research, I finally decided on the Tarot Illuminati by Kim Huggens and Erik C Dunne. Opening this box was a real treat. The colors are just as vivid and exciting as I had hoped. The book is solid and juicy, and I really love the way Llewellyn is boxing their cards these days. Everything is self-contained in a gorgeous, magnetic closure box that just looks magickal on my bookshelf.
As far as the art goes, it’s very mythic in nature, and it brings 4 cultures (real and imagined) forward as the suits. I love that, as each suit feels like it really is telling its own story. I love reading with it, though if I’m doing a reading with a lot of cards, the images are almost too colorful and too busy. It definitely doesn’t skimp on the pretty details.
For my December subscription readings, I’m pairing this deck with runes. The runes provide a nice counterbalance with their simplicity and directness, and the shiny blue of my set carries the opulence forward.
For January, my deck choice was easy. When I first saw the Prisma Visions tarot by James R Eads, I knew it would be perfect for the dark, moody days of this month. You see, January is simultaneously a really important and a really difficult month for me. It’s my birthday month, and I have a love/hate with my birthday. Add in loads of seasonal depression and cold-heightened pain, and it’s a mixed bag for me. But throughout all that, it tends to be transformative. January is when I really spend time with myself and make decisions about how I want to handle the rest of the year.
When I first got this deck in the mail and opened it, it just felt magickal. There’s just a vibe that radiates from it that is difficult to describe. The cardstock is thick and substantial, and the cards are edged in silver instead of gold, which I love. But the most important thing is the art. Instead of art created on a white, beige, or black background, this has a base color of navy blue. That’s just the first thing that sets the art apart. The art style is also incredibly unique, kind of impressionist with beautiful brush strokes and permeated with light. They evoke the dark evenings of January perfectly.
Because January is so difficult and important, I feel like this is going to be an incredibly important deck to me as well. It shows the beauty in the starkness and cold of January, and it’s simultaneously comforting and distant. I highly recommend this one, even if my description doesn’t really do it justice. The box is also stunning, and you can order a set that includes a beautiful lacquer pin.
For my January oracle, I’m using The Enchanted Astrologer oracle by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. I like looking at the astrology of the coming year in January, as well as doing a year in advance tarot reading. So I feel like this ties in really well for this time of year.
I wanted my February deck to have that same starkness, but with a flash of heart. So the XIII tarot by Nekro works perfectly. The art is very dark and gothic, primarily in black, white, and grey. What made me really want it for February, however, are the flashes of red in the artwork. It reminds me again of the starkness of the long winter nights, and cold, grey days, but with that deep red of love that comes from Valentine’s day. It’s dark, but still has elements of romance. And the details are stunning.
The packaging isn’t anything special, and I tore the box when I first opened them. I’m really getting used to the better packaging of indie and Llewellyn decks, so this was a bit disappointing. I forgot about all of that when I saw the cards, though. They’re not too big or thick, which my arthritic hands appreciate when I’m doing a lot of readings. But they’re still decent quality, and I’m looking forward to working with them more.
I’ll be spending more time with these, just because I want to spend time looking at the art. I’ll be using lots of candles in these readings, in honor of both Imbolc and Valentine’s Day. The deck oozes romance of a darker nature.
To keep with the romantic/gothic vibe, I’m going to be using a charm oracle with the cards. I like the idea of magickal trinkets, especially around Valentine’s Day with the romance of jewelry as gifts.
Take a look at these tarot decks, or let me know if you’ve chosen other decks and why. I love learning how other readers choose their decks, and I wonder if you’re more likely to choose cooler, moodier decks for this time of year, or warmer, cheerful decks. At any rate, I wish you lots of comfort, coziness, and the warm beverage of your choice. Blessed be!