Let me begin with a short quotation from the booklet that comes with this deck. Read this first, and heed it well:
"The Wicca is a religious and spiritual belief system open to people of all races, genders, and ethnic backgrounds. For this reason, the deck contains persons of various skin tones and cultural origins. You need not be White, Black, Asiatic, or Native American to be a Wicca, nor must you be heterosexual or gay, because all colours and sexual preferences exist in Nature. The nudity or some of the themes touched upon in some cards may be offensive to some or embarrass others. Because fertility and love are an important element of the Wicca path, be sure to ask yourself, 'Why does this card embarrass me?'. The answer may help you to understand still hidden aspects of your sexuality."
As might be expected from the above, the emphasis in this deck is sex and sexuality. There is quite a bit of nudity, and some of it pretty straight to the point. The "Decameron" this is not; while not as explicit, it does addresses the darker side of sexuality, some of it quite graphically -- enough so that it will probably elicit the same line from the prudes and traditionalists as the Decameron. But while the Decameron deck is primarily a satire, this deck is a very serious treatment of sexual themes. Be ready for some disturbing imagery -- but, as the author states, that is part of the point. This deck addresses some very private and possibly sensitive topics; if you are reading for others, you might want to think carefully about for whom, and under what circumstances, you use it.
Polarity is what makes the Universe tick. Things happen and move because of polarity; it is because things attract and repel that the Universe is in motion, and not lifelessly static. Polarity shows itself in many ways, from night and day to the internal structure of the atom. In the sphere of human bodies and relationships, one of the ways polarity manifests itself is sexuality. Sometimes understood as male and female, as love and hate, or in any multitude of other ways, sexuality is at the very core of what makes human life happen. For that reason, it is a very important part of Wicca, a belief system that concerns itself with what makes the world tick. Just as there is no one Wicca, there is no one sexuality either, and that is what this deck is about -- the many ways that polarity, through sexuality, shows itself in human existence.
The deck itself is basically in the Golden Dawn format, following the Rider-Waite, but with some Crowley substitutions here and there -- Strength becomes Lust, for example. Some of the Majors have been changed to accommodate the Wiccan theme: The High Priest becomes The Initiator, The Wheel becomes Time - Maiden, Mother and Crone, Death becomes Transformation, and a few others. They are nonetheless all recognizable as GD variants. The Minors follow the usual Wands-fire, Cups-water, Swords-air and Pentacles-earth pattern, and the illustrations and meanings are for the most part RWS clones. Court cards are Maiden (Knave), Acolyte (Knight), Mother (Queen), and Sage (King). The art work is elegant. The cards have dark purple borders, with the brightly colored images framed in a golden design.
One unique feature of this deck is that there are a number of different 'stories' that run through the deck; not in linear order, but interspersed through the suits and majors. You have to hunt for them to put the story together. One of them, for example, is the persecution of Joan of Arc, or someone very much like her, which runs through several of the Wands and Swords. There is another story concerning the marriage or handfasting of a young man and woman that begins with the deck's equivalent of the High Priest, continuing through the Lovers and Chariot, and then re-emerges in the wands and swords. The multicultural aspect of the deck is not as distracting as it is with some decks, and in fact fits well with the deck's stated objectives.
Quite a few of the cards are what I would call "heavy handed" -- many of the cards force their messages on the reader, rather than inviting interpretation. That is one of my primary objections to the entire Rider-Waite scheme of things anyway, but it does seem that some cards beat you over the head. In fact, there aren't many "light duty" cards in this deck -- it is a very intense deck with strong presentations of its themes. And, to the credit of this deck and its creators, those themes are not the "sweetness and light" tripe that many Wiccan authors try to clothe their beliefs in. No, there is very little clothing in this deck at all, and that applies as much to what it says, as it does to the apparel of those in the cards. I don't read the Tarot in terms of personal advice, but if you do, you might want to think carefully about how and when you use it, as it drives its messages home with great force, and that might upset unsuspecting questioners -- not to mention those in desperate need of being upset!
What I didn't like about this deck is that, while there is a lot of sexuality and sensuality, there really isn't very much Wicca outside of the sexual theme itself. Most of the images have been adapted to the Wiccan theme, but other aspects of Wicca don't play that much of a role in the meanings of the cards. Maybe it just didn't make that much of an impression on me, but I found it shallow in terms of the things I would expect from a Wicca deck - nature, paganism, magick, etc. It could be argued that sex is a major part of Wicca, and that's true, but that is not all that Wicca is about. So, while this deck might be great for questions and meditations regarding sexuality, couples, love affairs, and that sort of thing, it is probably not very useful for other matters of Craft and Earth. Sorry to have to say that; it's a beautiful deck, and definitely a bit on the dark side. I was really hoping more for something that deals with the sexual side of the seasons, celebrations, and so on; this deck is a sexual deck steeped in Wiccan symbolism. That in itself is not a bad thing -- I give it a "5" for its treatment of sexuality, and it does a very good job of examining that subject from different perspectives, and of presenting its message intensely through attractive artwork. I just found it disappointing in terms of treating other Wiccan themes. And as far as the usual "not for beginners" rot, ask yourself what it is you are such an expert at, that you can decide for others whether or not they should see or use this. There is something in this deck that will surprise and challenge everyone.