Shakespearian Tarot, Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki
Although not an “oldie” by the standards of our dearly beloved Thoth, Rider Waite Smith, and Marseilles Tarots, the Shakespearian Tarot is a deck that appeared before the Tarot “revival” set in and the deck publishing industry began to truly boom. Nearly a decade old, this deck from the creator of the Servants of the Light Tarot is “golden” because it’s a delightful themed deck that synthesizes the beauty, poetry, comedy and tragedy of England’s beloved Bard with the archetypal themes of the Tarot. The imagery is intense and evocative, with each card illustrating a scene from one of Shakepeare’s plays, accompanied by a quote from that scene that gives insight into the card meaning. Thus, the lucky and fortuitous nature of XVII The Star is evoked by the quote from Much Ado About Nothing, “A star danced, and under that I was born”; and in XVIII The Moon we find an image of beautiful, ethereal Titania and handsome Oberon (“Ill-met by moonlight, proud Titania”) bathed in moonlight, their mere presence suggesting an otherworldly quality and their story one of trickery, confusion, deception and lunacy. Certain scenes from Shakespeare are so well-known that they immediately inform the reader of the card meaning – such as the brutal betrayal and murder of Julius Caesar on the Ten of Swords.
The Shakespearian Tarot is elegant, with slightly smaller cards than average, and comes packaged in a sturdy box with a companion book. It is now out of print, but is a charming and interesting addition to any collection. It may take a Shakespeare fan to be able to use the deck to its fullest potential, but once you’ve used it, you’ll understand the myriad, labyrinthine plots of the Bard more clearly, and be provided with never-to-be-forgotten associations for the cards.
Aquarian Press, 1993.