Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot

Deck by Karen Mahoney and Alex Ukolov
© 2004 Magic Realist Press

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                Priestess in Baroque Bohemian Cats TarotKnight of Cups in Baroque
                Bohemian Cats Tarot3 of Wands in
                Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot
The Lovers
                in Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot2 of Swords in Baroque
                Bohemian Cats TarotAce of
                Pentacles in Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot

                Bohemian Cats Tarot DeckThis is a whimsical deck for cat lovers or collectors.  Of course, the images were created through digital art and photography, so rest assured that no cat was annoyed or harassed in the making of this charming and beautiful deck.  In other words . . . no cats were actually dressed up -- you can imagine how a cat would totally hate playing "dress up!"

The Baroque Bohemian Cat's Tarot is a delightful and fun Tarot deck to use.  There is a royal feeling through the imagery of cats attired in glorious costumes amid luxurious surroundings.

You'll find cats of all breeds, colors, shapes, and sizes in the images.  The cards are beautifully detailed in all aspects.  As there is no nudity in the deck, it's a Tarot deck that can work well for children.

This might not be a perfect deck choice for the more serious minded Tarot reader, but readers like myself who enjoy, appreciate, and use many varieties of decks (including the cute and whimsical ones such as this) can still maintain the proper degree of seriousness in a reading.

It should be remembered that Tarot is designed for fun, too!  And when a deck brings a smile to our faces, it doesn't have to take away anything at all from a reading.

A 208-page book with black and white illustrations accompanies the deck (when you purchase as a deck/book set).  For each card "A Cat's Interpretation" is also included, which actually contains some real wisdom versus just being funny.  Initially, the author intended this to be added for the sake of humor and whimsy, but then she saw how they were useful at giving a fresh and sometimes thought provoking point of view on the more conventional meanings for the cards.

Karen Mahoney, author, indicates:  "I offer them as worthy of a little reflection, as well as being fun.  Sometimes the world seen according to a cat's viewpoint and behavior can be an oddly revealing place."

In the book, interpretations are offered for all of the cards.  You'll find notes on the source for the materials presented on each card as well.

The cards are bordered in flowers.  The Minor Arcana suits are designated by a small emblem in the bottom right-hand corner of the cards.  The Major Arcana cards are not numbered but do include the card's title at the bottom of the card.  The reason for this was because of various decks that will interchange Strength and Justice cards or other "trades" for traditional placement of the cards.

Hermes in
                Baroque Bohemian Cats TarotThe cards do model the Rider Waite Version of the Tarot -- but in "cat fancier's style" of course.  And thus, a beginner could use this deck to learn and study the Tarot.

This deck presents an additional card within the Major Arcana.  It is called "Hermes," but is not addressed in the book.  This can be used as a "wild card" or be considered a card of good luck . . . or it can be left out when doing readings.

I was very curious why there was no mention about the Hermes card in the accompanying book, and after researching this, I learned that this card was a last-minute addition to the deck AFTER the book had been printed.  The author indicates that this card "sneaked" its way into the deck by chance as a last-minute whim.

Decks are printed with 80 cards, which leaves room for one title card and one extra.  As the author was fond of this particular card idea, she used it as the additional card, Hermes.  She fully expected that many people would simply use the Hermes card as a book mark, a decorative extra, or a give-away card . . . but she learned that it was a card that tends to come up frequently in readings when it is used as a working card.

Some information about Hermes that can be used for interpretation of this card if one chooses to read this deck with the inclusion of this card:

Hermes is a card named for the god of tricksters and the unexpected.  In Tarot, the Magician card is often directly associated with Hermes the god, and the Hermes card in the Baroque Bohemian Cat's Tarot seemed to have had its own unique sense of luck and chance as well as creativity and sudden insight.  Hermes is considered to be wilder and more risky than the Magician, and while Hermes does indicate an ability to invent, create, and take risks . . . it also tells you not to rely on a specific outcome.  Things could indeed turn out a little differently than you expected.

Upright:  Chance, probability, the unexpected.  Things that delight and surprise you.
New opportunities and skills that will feel both sudden and "heaven-sent."  Changeable outcome (probably to something that is better than you initially thought it could be)

Reversed:  Things that lead to disappointment.  Bad risks.  Changeable outcome (probably to something that is less-than-desirable).

Another way that this card could be handled if it comes up in a reading is to draw an additional card to go with it after all the other cards have been laid out in the reading.  This can enhance the meaning for a specific situation.  I generally don't like "wild cards" in a reading, but this has been an exception, and I do include the Hermes card when I read with the Baroque Bohemian Cat's Tarot deck.

Karen Mahoney is also the creator of The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot and also The FairyTale Tarot Deck, not to be confused with the "Fairy Tale" Tarot deck by Lisa Hunt.  The latter mentioned deck separates the words "fairy" and "tale," while Karen Mahoney's deck combines the words into one.  That's an easy way to remember which deck is from which author.

Update 2011:  Sadly, it looks like the Baroque Bohemian Cat's Tarot has gone out-of-print.  What I have found from experience is that if you are wanting a particular deck, don't sit on the decision for too very long . . . or else the deck my go out-of-print and become hard to find.  When you do find an out-of-print deck, you will often pay a lot more for it than if you had purchased it while it was in mass production.

Deck Details - Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot

Number of Cards in Deck: 79 cards (23 Major (unnumbered) / 56 Minor)

Size of Cards: 
3" x 5" -- The cards are larger than standard.  A side-to-side shuffling method works much easier and seems more comfortable than trying to shuffle from top end to top end.  The cards seem durable enough to stand up to long-lasting use.

Included with deck: 208-page companion book illustrated in black and white

Major Arcana:
  Fool, Magician, High Priestess, Empress, Emperor, Hierophant, Lovers,
Strength, Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, Hanged Man, Death, Temperance,
Devil, Tower, Star, Moon, Sun, Judgment, World

Suit Names:  Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles

Court Cards:  King, Queen, Knight, Page
Back Design of Cards:  Baroque Bohemian
                  Cats Tarot Card Back

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