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The Dark Fairytale Tarot takes you by the hand and leads you through a dark forest of possibilities. In the darkness, it helps you find a little light, just enough, to make wise choices in your life. Each image invites you to walk through a scene of ambiguity, a journey that will encourage you to define your own truth with no ambiguity.
If you favor a dark or Goth flavor in your tarot decks and prefer using traditional Rider Waite Smith meanings, then you'll enjoy the Dark Fairytale Tarot. The images and the text are both poetic and creative enough to satisfy the most romantic of souls. They are close enough to RWS imagery to make the mental translation easy and sensible. The art is, of course, dark, romantic, and moody. It is also quite detailed, which makes it a little hard for older eyes such as mine to see. If you are familiar with the Mystic Dreamer Tarot, you will have an idea of what I mean.
Here is what I love best about this deck: the spread that comes with it, called The Road through Fairy. I will not reproduce the spread in full but will share the most interesting aspect of it. Part of the philosophy of this deck is that there are many possible futures, which manifest themselves through the telling of the tale. As you begin to talk about and imagine a possible future, you begin to bring it into being. This means you can also see more and learn more about it, so you can decide if you actually want to walk it and bring it into full being.
This spread takes that idea a step further and does something that I think tarot should always do. In fact, I'm a little annoyed that I didn't think of this idea years ago. The directions say to use the spread and do the reading. If the journey aspect or the destination is not satisfactory, repeat the spread as many times as needed until "the right path is found." Each reading will tell a different tale...the "right one" is the one you want to pick, the one that feels right to you.
Brilliant, right? And the cool thing is that you can apply this to any spread or any reading, assuming you agree with the underlying philosophical premise.
The spread is really the only truly brilliant thing about this deck. That doesn't mean it is a bad deck or should be skipped over. On the contrary. It may be the lack of brilliance or struggling cleverness that make this one stand out. I've noticed a plethora of dark and/or Goth decks lately. They all seem to have really excellent art and interesting images. But they often stray far from the RWS imagery. That is not a bad thing, as long as the straying brings something new and useful. But most lack any internal structure and become, in the end, a collection of beautiful images only, not a well-designed divination tool.
While this one doesn't bring (or should I say "force") a new structure, it does bring food for thought. For example:
The High Priestess shows a young female pope sitting in an archway of what we assume is a cathedral crying bloody tears. The booklet says: "The guardian of the gate she can never enter. Her heart is heavy with the weight of the secrets that she keeps. Her wisdom has become her prison."
Really, that is an intriguing idea, one that can really take you to some interesting places.
Many cards and the accompanying text are moving, haunting, and lovely.
In so many ways, this deck does what it should as well as and, to be honest, often better than similar decks on the market.
The bottom line is: if you want a RWS-based dark/Goth deck, this is a great option. It will be easy to read with, since it relies on traditional meanings. It has an excellent spread. The text implies some interesting questions that you may enjoy contemplating. If I were to get just one, this would definitely make the short list.
Name of deck: Dark Fairytale Tarot
Reviewer's Byline: Barbara Moore
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator name: Raffaele De Angelis
Artist name: Raffaele De Angelis
Name of accompanying book/booklet: Dark Fairytale Tarot
Number of pages of book/booklet: 63 pp; 14 in English
Author of book/booklet: Lillie