Jolanda Tarot is the creation of Rose Bjorkman, illustrated by artist Hans Arnold. The deck is published by AGM AGMuller, and comes in a stock standard box that contains 78 cards and a little white book (LWB).
I first glimpsed this deck a while back on Submerina’s blog, and liked what I saw. My recent addiction to the Annikin Divination site confirmed this is a deck I’d rather enjoy, and my intuition was right. In the couple of days I’ve had it, it’s been truly enchanting to shuffle a deck which, while based on the Rider Waite Smith, actually has many original, quirky and very witchy interpretations. There is a brief sentence about Rose that mentions “Through her life-long committment to the art of the seeress and to the use of tarotcards as a tool to work magic, she has become one of Sweden’s leading experts on the subject.” This should give you a hint this deck has a definite magical influence in its drawings (though, naturally, I think every deck has that, but I feel in this case it’s more overt). In particular, there is an abundance of animal symbolism which will keep the tarot enthusiast busy and content to discover. There is also a great deal of nudity, though I personally have no issues with this.
Unfortunately, the LWB is rather useless. This is especially given that some cards have different and original takes on the Rider Waite Smith, yet their meanings in the book are more appropriate for the original Rider Waite Smith cards.
As a quick example, take the 6 of Cups – in this deck, the meaning for this card is more fitting with one of its lesser known descriptions of “soulmates”, yet the LWB gives “memories, past influences, nostalgia, longing, childhood passed.” And all of these can ring true, but when I look at the actual picture, I get a definitive “soulmates” feel from it. The cards themselves have a great feel, with a slight laminate texture. They seem to be very thin, though I think they will last well. They have a mauve border that in my opinion could be shrunk a little – if only to make the beautiful paintings bigger and give them a bolder voice. The back is not reversible, and features a dragonfly lady holding what looks like a crystal ball, or a full moon. The colours throughout are very rich and well chosen – if you like this sort of illustrative style, you will love this deck. I made an instant connection with it, and the readings have been brilliant.
Personally, the only thing missing from this deck is a decent accompanying book. There is mention of the book Jolanda’s Book of Tarot and Magic, but I cannot find any information that it will be printed in English. Naturally, there are advantages to not having a book, since you are encouraged to develop your intuition and rely on your own interpretations. Still, I think it would be a great addition to have a reference and learn about some of the animal symbolism from the creators’ view point, as well as the actual creative process behind this tarot deck. For example, why is there a Panda on the Emperor card? To me the Panda is a peaceful vegetarian bear and rather incongruous with my ideas about the Emperor archetype.
If you like what you see below, you will definitely enjoy shuffling this work of art. I look forward to sharing my readings with this deck in the near future 🙂