From afar the imagery looks kind of bleak and subdued but look closely and you indeed enter a deep and magical world. These cards create a silent yet talkative place and lets you journey in a new imaginative realm. The card are unique because they contain artwork on both sides, one side in full colour and a near reflection in black and white. I say near reflection because the black and white side has slight differences which will engage you even more. The cards do not always reflect Rider-Waite symbolism in an obvious way because we are looking through the eyes of a secret forest but the cards do communicate the RW system in a more insightful way, if perhaps a more subtler way.
A very interesting and engaging deck and one that needs time to be studied and thought about. Its not immediately readable and might not be good for a newbie but is definitely one worth buying.
As I quickly scanned through the deck, I thought - oh, it's a fairy deck. No, they are not fairies, they are insects. They are bugs! Upon closer examination, I also saw salamanders, and owls and bushes and foxes... there are even people on some of the cards. This deck can be worked as two decks, as each side of the card has a similar design, one in "color" and the other in black and white. There are subtle variations in the designs, and in some cases they are opposites, in others they are the same. Let me say that this deck is very similar to other Lo Scarabeo decks in it's lack of use of bright color. I think it was supposed to be "earth toned" but the colors seemed drab. The artwork, watercolor and wash, is "suggestive" in some areas, yet very well defined in others. There were designs I got right away, and some that I failed to see the association. Working with the cards also proved to be a "challenge" and I found myself referencing the book and looking at how to interpret the designs rather than having the usual flow and ease of working with a deck. Even after a few readings, some of it clicked, some did not. If you really want to work with this deck, there will be a learning curve. The images are interesting, intriguing for some. The meanings can be found, but for some it will require digging. Some of the designs are clever and unique and well thought out. But the deck lacks consistency in my opinion. And color. Some of the insects could have been rendered a bit more colorfully and maybe with a touch more detailing. The figures are mostly abstract, and I understand that in many cases. You should look at this deck completely before purchasing it. It has pros and cons, and that is probably the biggest issue with this deck. It does not seem to be consistent in design or content. And again, my own issue with the color choices which diminishes its interest value even more. It might appeal to a small market but overall it is a curiosity and not a practical, working deck. boudica
This is my favourite Tarot deck. The cards are beautifully illustrated, and use (mostly) traditional Rider-Waite symbolism. I would warn anyone buying this as their first-time deck that the images take some getting used to - I for one discarded the book in favour of finding my own interpretation of what the cards meant. (For example, I read the meaning of "Temperance" as the marriage of intellect and emotion: the image is of a fairy angel pouring water from one container to another, and the background is yellow - corresponding to air, and thus intelligence, in the Wiccan tradition.)
Don't be put off by my mentioning fairies - the cards are down-to-earth enough for anyone who doesn't like them, and fantastical enough for people who do! I used to be violently allergic to them myself, but since starting to read this deck I've mellowed a bit.
The deck is two-sided, with one side of the cards illustrated in full colour and the other showing black and white sketches of the colour images. Personally I don't use the two sides (I close my eyes and deal them out so that the colour sides are up), but I can see the usefulness for anyone who wanted to utilise both sides.
All in all I'd recommend this deck to anyone who doesn't mind slogging a bit to find the meanings of the cards (and I would seriously recommend throwing the book out as soon as you get it). I've got it for my best friend for Christmas in the sure and certain knowledge that she'll love it.
The pictures are quite dark in hue, but not bleak..the colours include rich reds, earthy browns, gold tones, and verdant greens. They offer a vision of faery far from the pink and sparkly confections we are used to...these faeries are linked with nature, dreams and the mysteries of the mind....
the deck is loosely based on RWS with pictoral minors but the mixture of Faery/Animal/Plant imagery adds a whole new layer of meaning as well as atmosphere. There is a feeling that you are entering a dark yet sun-dappled forest, filled with truths you already knew but must rediscover...
One thing which might attract some people and repel others is the 2-sided nature of the deck. The second side is black and white, and offers a slightly different vision from the coloured side...the lwb explains that you can read the two sides as emotion/rationality...or conscious/unconscious....or current/potential. Of course this means the cards have no 'backs'...This might be too weird for some, but personally I just close my eyes and dive into the mystery!
There is no 'big book' with the deck, only a lwb in 5 languages, with extremely brief keywords and one spread. This is no major drawback, as this deck is very intuitive and personal. If you long to uncover the secrets of the fae, then buy this deck!
The cards are artistically based on renaissance-type colours, the deep, earthy, reds, yellows and greens, very similar to medieval tarot card colours. Personally I found this a joy, and more appealing than more in-your face packs currently on the market. Being designed by Italian artists possibly influenced in a Raphaelian direction!
The designs of the cards sparkle with an animalian charm of faery life amongst mother nature, with Barn Owls hunting, Lizards crawling,and all sorts of real, and imaginary creatures, drawing your intellect into the cards, and firing your imagination.
Underlying all the fabulous images in the cards is, I believe, the resounding message of spiritual development. If the artists have tried to give us a pack of tarot, to help us wake-up our intuition, then the've succeeded wonderfully with this pack. I can understand those who believe that this tarot is obscure, and not easy to read, but personally I think the effort is well worthwhile, and the rewards ample.
All in all this Tarot of the Secret Forest does exactly what it says in the title; it is a genuine tarot in that it teaches, it has secrets, and it is all about nature, and the forest life.....thank you for reading this opinion. masterrimo3san.