This deck was a happy accident for me to find. I found it online, and from my understanding the artist isn't a major tarot buff — living proof you don't need to be a tarot wizard to make a successful tarot deck. The Poisoncage Tarot is a 22 card (Majors only) deck that reads beautifully. Designed and illustrated by Rann, the illustrator/manga artist for X-Down and a series of other projects. She's absolutely wonderful! It is very exciting to know she will be working on the Minor Arcana of the Poisoncage Tarot as well. This is a modern adaptation of the Tarot of Marseilles, and was originally just an illustration as a prop for one of her narrative works. It sparked some wild interest in the artist community, and now she's got a self-published tarot deck. That's inspiring, isn't it? It makes me wish that I devoted some time to my own tarot deck, which is slowly being drafted. Bringing ideas to life is a bit of a challenge if you do require constant motivation or deadlines to finish.
The cards are quite big, roughly postcard sizes. The paper finish is medium gloss and the backs are reversible — and also quite gorgeous. The booklet explains that the keywords are broad and recommends looking meanings up online. In my opinion, a nice afterthought but not a necessary component of the package. Since our orders were late for shipping, we got a complimentary pin with our deck. It's a really cute button with a girl in it, no doubt one of Rann's original characters. The real value of this deck is in the illustration work. The deck is manga style but refined, and definitely rare since it is a limited edition in a run of about 500. I'm lucky enough to own two copies!
What I like the most about this deck is that I have an excuse to focus on Majors only spreads. It is a popular gypsy tradition to do the Romany Gypsy Spread. I like the divine/transcendental aesthetics of the Major Arcana because that's what I understand them to be there for. Minors cover the more mundane aspects of our lives. The Majors allow us to see which stage our soul is at in its divine development. The characters don't really interact with one another, instead they face the front. This grounds them in the present, with their messages directed straight out at you. It could be a little intimidating if you're dealing with a tough situation, but it is precisely at times like these that you need to hear things up front and as they are; with no sugarcoating. That's why people should get tarot readings in the first place — to gain a more thorough understanding of their lives. The tarot is wonderful for seeking solutions where you don't immediately see answers.
The images in this deck are quite powerful. Theu transmit the mood even though their poses are as static as statues. Perhaps the lack of dialogue amongst them is what makes them so serious in nature. They're quite sober. To me they represent an ideal staple for principles and archetypes of the tarot.
INTERVIEW WITH THE POISONCAGE TAROT:
♡ What is your most important characteristic? The Hanged Man. In this card, a man is suspended from the branches of a tree. He is up side down but he is peaceful, and while the world around him springs to life and everything remains in order, he is in another place. The look on his face and the rays emanating out of the halo around his head are indicatives of meditation. Inner peace, enlightenment, and new understanding over the same things we're already used to. It takes a little extra effort for this, but this card is saying that it is possible.
♡ What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
The Wheen of Fortune. There are gears in this card, each turns in a different direction and for a different purpose. Coiled around the wheel is a snake that stares menacingly at a sorceress holding the wheel up. Her eyes are closed, she's keeping the wheel from turning. This is an indicative of putting a stop to time to pause and consider where the next turn will be taking us. With the accent of the halo on the wheel, this card feels more about taking control of the unexpected gifts life gives us, rather than letting go and waiting to see what happens. This tarot deck helps you take control of your circumstances.
♡ What are your limits?
The High Priestess. A woman of unconventional beauty sits under a veil, immersed in the material she is reading. The scroll is a sign of ancient wisdom and secrets, it is of her own penmanship and includes secret knowledge that others are not yet ready to hear. The card glows with purple or psychic energy. She holds a pen to correct or update the story from the scroll.
The High Priestess card is very inactive. It watches over everything and is aware of everything, but says very little. Perhaps it withholds the facts until they are needed or until we are ready to hear them. Notice the crescent moon charm over her third eye, the same that she carries in her strange hair do.
♡ What are you here to teach me? Justice. The woman present in this card is blindfolded. She holds a sword and the scales. Her armor doesn't look very comfortable; rather, it looks constricting. The sense that I get from her is that she abides by a strict code of ethics and law, unyielding and merciless in the right circumstances. She can't see anything so she will have to rely on her heart and her logic to decide when it is necessary to use the swords or the scale. It's important not to get emotionally tied up in matters of justice. This is what the card teaches.
♡ How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
Temperance. The girl in the card sits on a swing even though she has wings to keep herself suspended. Ribbons descend from the heavens with containers for water. As she holds onto them, she concentrates on having the contents come out of the containers to mix together in alchemy. Letting things flow by themselves without touching them directly is important to collaborate with this deck. She is the one responsible for the exchange, but she does not force it. She waits for it to happen patiently.
♡ What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
The Hermit. The mist wraps around this hooded character as he walks up a mountain trail. He has his walking stick for his own support as he follows the light of his gas lamp wherever it may take him. He doesn't seem preoccupied with his surroundings, he trusts himself to be completely alone.
This is a lone ranger, not a deck meant to be used in conjunction with others. It stays true to its internal light and knowledge until it is no longer needed. It doesn't matter the time of day, to this card there is no time.
♡ Which card do you want to show off?
The Moon. Often this is the card that I look for first, then the Emperor and the Hierophant. As the village beauty bathes in the light of the shower with her accompanying animals, her gaze is distractedly wandering away from the viewer. She doesn't even seem to notice there is a crustacean crawling up her tunic. The psychic rays of the moon extend throughout the village, staining it with the colors of psychic intuition and dreams. This is a card of illusion — and madness — for many. It is my personal favorite.
♡ How do you see me?
The Sun. This card reminds me of my childhood, when my parents used to say, "you are living through the best time of your life right now!" It didn't feel like it because I was a very lonely child. I always wished for a little boy to play with, and lately that has been a subject that I have been sharing with my significant other. He said that he also wished for a counterpart to have adventures with. We have noticed that we would have filled that role in for each other perfectly, but 20 years away from the desired time. We have entered what feels like a golden period, which makes sense as this golden Sun extends his rays of joy and happiness over the unsuspecting children. It is an agent of positive energy touching those around them.
♡ How do you see yourself?
The Fool. This Fool is charming, he is definitely more handsome than other Fools in other tarot decks. He seems confident in himself, and he is accompanied by a trusty dog that watches over his every move. The dog fulfills the role of his conscience, looking over his actions and making sure that everything is in order. The day hasn't even started yet, but the Fool is ready to embark on his journey. He holds his sack over his back with everything he owns. Who knows where he comes from? The only thing that matters, though, is where he is going.
I quite like this deck!