Reviewed By Karen Lundgren
Painted in watercolor, the Shadowscapes Tarot is a stunning example of tarot art. Each card has an intricate and unique design, unrelated to other tarot patterns such as the Rider Waite pattern, except in name. The artwork has an Asian flair, though the characters in the deck are mostly not Asian. Real and mythical beasts, musical instruments, and the fae are common themes in the artwork. Certain themes accompany each of the suits; wands generally bear growing branches, though in one case antlers stand in for wands. Cups feature fish and ocean scenes. Swords feature birds. Pentacles feature reptiles and other cold-blooded animals (such as a spider). As noted by the blurb on the back of the box, the art has a distinct dreamlike quality.
The accompanying materials for the Shadowscapes Tarot are posh and quite helpful. The box is durable and has a magnetic closing flap. The book is in English only. Entirely in black & white, it features an illustration of each card alongside a description of its meaning. It includes a general introduction to tarot, as well as a description of the structure of the Shadowscapes Tarot itself. There is a very useful description of the steps to follow in conducting a reading, including information on how to hone your intuitive sense of the cards' meaning.
The imagery used in the art might be difficult for some people to relate to, as it seems to rely more heavily on metaphor, detail, and nuance than other tarot decks. The meaning of each individual card might not make an immediate and intuitive impression on a tarot reader, but this is made less of a problem by the book's excellent descriptions of the cards along with their meanings.
The images in this deck are copyright © 2010 Llewellyn Worldwide.