When I first heard about this tarot deck, it looked very different. The style was more or less the same, but the artist had a change of circumstance that led to a full rework of the Tyldwick Tarot. Neil Lovell ended up changing the whole deck, it looked very different the second time around he made it. The product is literally a labor of love, because you can see how much of himself he put in this project. The concept is flushed out, it has thought put into the small details and its nuances, which are part of what I like so much about it. I first saw it sometime in 2008 if I am not mistaken. There were only a few images up on a web site that had looping music and took names for deck reservations. I found the images quite lovely, because they gave you a sense of place without showing people in them. You could tell what kind of people would inhabit these rooms, and I found that absolutely enchanting. I placed my order asking for deck #16 and punched in an e-mail that isn't even in use anymore. The years spilled one onto the other and I never heard back from Neil, but I kept a close eye on the conversation over at Aeclectic. We waited and waited; somehow, we never lost hope that it would be published. Finally he made a Facebook page that I have been shamelessly stalking since. We got the word that it would be published this year, and so wait we did. It wasn’t easy, but I think he had it hardest.
The day I got the package, I rushed inside with it and locked myself in my room. I took care in not ripping anything, but it was very hard for me to contain my excitement. The cards glide easily, you can fan them out without much of an afterthought. They are standard size and will fit any hand easily. Their gilding is exquisite. I’m sorry, I know that’s a big word, but that’s what it is! It is sleek and not at all chunky. It’s hard to resist when the material makes it so easy for you to spread them over any cloth you fancy. Something that makes it easy to read is that the — unobtrusive — borders remind you of which suit it is with the color. It’s hard to confuse the suits together. The Major Arcana is generally centered around a human figure. The only card without a title is Death, I’ll bet you get a traditional kick out of that. Also, Strength is 11 and Justice is 8.
I was very surprised to find such a strong human element in the cards since they lack living people. That doesn’t mean they lack human figures or emotions, though. You can see masks, a shadowed visage here and there, and some full human bodies. I would like to clarify that they feel otherworldly, but not entirely detached. The faces really speak to me, more so than the room they find themselves in because it IS their room. I feel like they are 'guardian spirits' or 'sprites' found in their surroundings. It's very strange; I have not felt this in a tarot deck before. The silence in the room screams. Intuitive readers will get a real big kick out of that.
The cards that really push the composition inspire me most. There are some in which there is a lot of white space; I find them true to their number and suit. Many will have trouble figuring out the meanings without prior RWS knowledge, but then I don’t think this is a deck that is really going to aid all beginners until Neil publishes a book about it. It feels like you need to be familiar with the RWS to really appreciate this deck, and since it is a limited edition anyway, I find it to be as exclusive as a collector’s item. If you connect with it and you have no previous knowledge, though, I strongly recommend you give this a shot. There is certainly room for exploration if you are an expert reader, which means a novice will find more than enough substance to stay occupied in tarot studies. After all, the person who pointed out this deck to me was, in fact, a beginner to the tarot. You don’t need to be an elite pro to appreciate beauty, and this tarot deck is valid proof of that.
INTERVIEW WITH THE TYLDWICK TAROT:
Two aces. This spread is mostly Wands dominant, pertaining to creativity, fire and passion. That's quite appropriate given this tarot deck's background, isn't it?
♡ What is your most important characteristic?
Ace of Cups. As stated before, this is a labor of love. It spreads Neil’s love for tarot, his vision as he intended it to be; but also leaves it open to whatever the reader feels. There are no boundaries or limits, the deck is a newborn and is ready to take on the challenges of this world with pride.
♡ What are your strengths as a tarot deck?
Seven of Staves. This one made me laugh because of how true it is. This tarot deck had all of the odds opposing it, and it still managed to make it through. It is an assembled army of 78 soldiers that really wanted to make it. They wanted to go out into the world to explore and protect, and I am proud to say they sure accomplished it.
♡ What are your limits?
Queen of Staves. The Queen of Staves is actually staring right back out at us as if we were interrupting her afternoon tea with a very important guest. Her gaze says it all; “don’t you dare cross me!” The tone I can imagine her saying it in is quite scary. It’s not a deck for the skeptic or the disrespectful. If someone gets impatient because the rooms don’t speak to them, that will be the sign to meditate a little. Get grounded so you can actually start to feel what this deck is trying to say. You won’t have the familiar RWS figures holding your hand the whole way. Oh no — you’re on your own! If you don’t have the confidence, this deck is not about to hand it over freely. You need to earn it through trial and error.
♡ What are you here to teach me?
Ace of Wands. Passion, passion, passion. There are many patterns present that are not obvious to the eye at first, but that will make themselves present the more you look into them. Look for different symbols that stand out in every reading, regard them as queues to light the way of your journey.
♡ How can I best learn to collaborate with you?
The Hanged Man. Just sit back comfortably and let it come to you. You don’t always need to be the one that leads the session. When you are grounded (or up-side-down) and paying attention to the signs, they come to you naturally. You will find answers in methods that were not effective before, but that’s part of the journey. Most importantly, it’s how you learn.
♡ What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
Two of Wands. It seems balanced out, neither loud nor quiet. It will be there when you need it, but it won’t be pressing you to constantly check it if you don’t. I feel strongly that the balance is in recognizing when you need to quiet your mind to tune into what it’s really trying to say. I live my life so fast sometimes that I believe I really must try that.
♡ Which card do you want to show off?
Four of Wands. I laughed so hard again! It shows an artist’s work space. That’s clever! This is a work of art. It is! It doesn’t look like it was crafted by someone at first glance because it’s just so perfect. But once you lean in and you look at the little details, you will start to see that it was built up out of many photos and made to fit a system. There was a lot more work put into it than meets the eye, so respect it. It deserves the respect.
♡ How do you see me?
Three of Wands. This is true. I’m leaving home soon and moving far away, so I am in a transitional point. This ship is a symbol for an adventure and a long voyage. Seeing it in a box resonates deeply with me, because I am a wandering soul that feels caged up. Seeing the ship in the box stands as an accurate depiction of how I have felt the past three years of my life. As if by coincidence, this tarot deck reminds me that it’ll soon be time to roam free. I will be taking this tarot deck along for the journey, so let’s see how it’s perception changes along with mine.
♡ How do you see yourself?
Nine of Swords. This one was unexpected. I had to think about it for a while, because I could not immediately draw a connection. Vertigo Tarot had the same card for me, but for the Tyldwick Tarot itself it takes a new connotation. I feel like there was a lot of doubt the deck would come out, but it managed to in the end. I do not know Neil personally and I do not wish to act as if I know this for sure, because I don’t. I’m just going to respectfully interpret the card as a deck of very heavy ideas. There is a lot of feeling bottled up in this creation, as well as many ideas that are striking. You can expect to be rattled when you read with this deck… I was when I conducted this interview, and it’s my first draw from it!
Wow. That was really special. I felt very connected to the manner in which the cards speak. The tone is serious even though to me the message was quite clear. I anticipate using it in personal readings for myself. It would be a delight to read with it for other people, but I don’t want to exploit a tarot deck that I feel is a real jewel in my collection. I’m not going to keep it tucked away in a box, though. This deck is going to see some mileage. Come 2020, I think it will have been worn down with lots of love.
I want to note also that this deck has experimental qualities. It can be mixed and matched with oracles, or left as its own sacred unit. I particularly enjoy using it alongside Kat Black's Golden Tarot, and mean that as a compliment. I feel like the styles converge, even though the time spans definitely do not. If human figures are necessary, accompanying the Tyldwick Tarot with the Golden Tarot could be somewhat of a treat. I will make a post later to prove this point, because I do believe strongly in it.
I realize that my admiration for his work has made me seem a little deranged whenever I wrote reminders to him. I don't apologize for that, it is my duty as a tarot lover and modest collector! I hope he understands… Sorry, Neil Lovell. I love your work!