12.27.2014

Tarot Mucha

I've long loved the art of Alfons Mucha, and this tarot deck certainly reflects his work. Also, while staying true to the traditional themes of tarot, Tarot Mucha makes some interesting choices to set it apart.

Click to enlarge

Above, left to right, top row: Knave of Cups, 6 of Pentacles, 3 of Swords, Devil, 8 of Wands
Bottom row: Knight of Cups, Judgement, Queen of Cups, Lovers, 10 of Swords

You'll see in the sample that the court cards (particularly for the Cups, which is why I featured them here) are somewhat dour, at the very least serious, and the Knave and Knight of Cups actually appear a bit angry.

In addition, the image for the 6 of Pentacles carries an air of haughtiness on the part of the man giving charity.

The change to the Devil makes good sense to me, however, in that in this deck she is shown as something beautiful, something that entices, yet those wings and that tail show she has another side that may be less pleasant.

In the case of the Lovers and Judgement, the looming angel figures are thematically dark, harkening perhaps to the original idea of angels as fearsome creatures.

In the sample you'll also see figures have been added to the 3 of Swords, the 8 of Wands, and an additional figure to the 10 of Swords. In the 3 of Swords, the somewhat gender neutral person has a visage that shows a mixture of sorrow and anger as s/he displays the traditional heart with three swords running through it. The image fits the emotion of the card beautifully. But the 8 of Wands—a card I've always had a happy association with—shows a woman seemingly under barrage of the flying staffs. She appears shocked and afraid. I know the 8 of Wands can mean something unexpected and sudden, but I've usually thought of it as pleasant; here it seems almost related to the Tower. As for the 10 of Swords, which traditionally shows a man on a beach having been run stabbed ten times by the swords, in this deck there is a second figure either actively assaulting the defeated man or (depending on how you look at it) removing the blades from his body. Either way, the result is the same, and still fits with the usual meaning: It's all over.

These are not the only differences from more traditional decks (by which I suppose I mean the RW and its myriad spawn; certainly these days there are so many variations that one can hardly say any deck is "traditional" any more), just some key ones that jumped out at me and I found interesting.

The little booklet that comes with the cards includes not only good descriptions of each card's meanings but a few new twists on spreads. I tried the Seasons spread:


Spring: What needs creative expression? 6 of Cups
Summer: What needs to slow down? Queen of Swords
Autumn: What is ready for harvesting? 6 of Wands
Winter: What needs shelter and care? 10 of Cups

I leave the interpretations to you!

I do like this deck, which comes in a lovely little box. I'm going to enjoy getting to know the cards a bit better. But while I was expecting something light, there is a seriousness to Tarot Mucha. It is not frivolous, nor does it try to put a positive spin on bad news. This is a matter-of-fact deck. If you want something frothier, try Doreen Virtue's Guardian Angel tarot instead.

1 comment:

Trisha F said...

I've never got into Tarot, though I am a sucker for decks of cards in general - have a huge playing card collection. But it would feel wrong to buy a tarot deck just for the sake of adding to my card collection. :)

But I think they are such beautiful creations.