Deck Review: Tarot of the Absurd

© Jessica Rose Shanahan

It is rare to have a new deck so wonderfully ingenious and fresh these days. Even though I am a fan of the romantic and ethereal, I do appreciate variety and substance. This deck has recently graced my table, and I believe you can still get copies directly from the author – check out Jessica Rose Shanahan’s site.

This first edition is a limited print of 600, and it comes with an extra card signed by the author. Mine happened to be the 9 of Swords, which, for once, I didn’t recoil in horror upon seeing it.

© Jessica Rose Shanahan

I love the way the dreamer holds the sword in this card, as if she is unfazed and completely comfortable in her night of dreams or nightmares. Like being in a lucid dream where you know that’s all it is and you cannot be harmed because you know it’s just a dream. Perhaps it’s an invitation for me to try and practice lucid dreaming, or change the way I perceive this card. Or simply, to not be afraid of the night, of being alone in the night.

© Jessica Rose Shanahan

The imagery in this deck is new and oddball and fruitloop and whacky, but equally it has depth and substance. I think this is a difficult combination to achieve, and yet it is well blended in the cards, without losing the essence of each card’s message. It is a black and white deck throughout, following the traditional structure of tarot.

The four suits are Coins, Blades, Cups and Sticks. I think the artist’s background as an arborist comes through in the Sticks (Wands) suit. For me, this brought back a few memories as I actually got half-way through an arboricultural degree a few years ago (I am still quite the hippy-tree-hugger enthusiast and get to spend a lot of time at work assessing trees and learning about them!). There is a beautiful synergy between people and trees in this deck, and I love the way this interaction is portrayed.

I think a black and white deck would be a very difficult task, considering there are 78 cards each with its own message. Difficult because of the challenge to infuse a card with enthusiasm, zest, and dynamism in the absence of colour, yet all of this is so abundant and overflowing in these cards. Personally, I think Jessica has done a brilliant job and I hope this deck makes its way to many happy shufflers out there. Enjoy!

© Jessica Rose Shanahan
© Jessica Rose Shanahan
© Jessica Rose Shanahan

5 thoughts on “Deck Review: Tarot of the Absurd

  1. D. D. Syrdal November 3, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    What a marvelous deck. That guy in the 7 of Blades is either getting ready to flash someone, or fencing stolen goods.🙂

    • Monica November 3, 2012 / 9:08 pm

      Yes DD it is rather awesome. I ended up ordering 2🙂

  2. JJ November 3, 2012 / 5:16 pm

    I love the Knight of Sticks and the 9 of Coins. So many fresh things to look at in this deck.

    Did the Digital Dame fall to the allure yet? DD?

    • Monica November 3, 2012 / 9:13 pm

      This one will keep me busy for a while. It is competing with the Victorian Romantic from Baba Studio which also recently arrived, but they are completely different🙂

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