The LLewellyn Tarot

Deck and Book by Anna-Marie Ferguson
© 2006 Published by Llewellyn

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The Lovers in
                the Llewellyn TarotTwo of Cups
                in the Llewellyn TarotAce of Swords
                in the Llewellyn Tarot
                in the Llewellyn TarotThree of
                Swords in the Llewellyn TarotQueen of Pentacles in the
                Llewellyn Tarot

The Llewellyn
                TarotThe Llewellyn Tarot is a tribute to the Welsh heritage of Llewellyn Publications' founder, Llewellyn George.  Wales is a country that has been known to hold some of the most enchanting stories and legends from the British Isles.  It's a country famous for history, culture, and language.  The Welsh country was also home to Llewellyn George who founded his publishing house in 1901.

The Llewellyn Tarot celebrates over 100 years of continued publication.  Talented artist, Anna-Marie Ferguson, has created a visual delight that holds to Tarot tradition.  I was able to connect to each beautiful image in this deck.

While every picture is not a replica of the traditional Rider-Waite system's images, the chosen scenes for the cards convey the concepts of traditional Tarot.  Even a beginner could enjoy this Tarot deck in his or her studies.  This is Anna-Marie Ferguson's second Tarot deck.  She is also the artist for the Legend: Arthurian Tarot.

The cards of the Llewellyn Tarot are illustrated in a similar mystical, watercolor style as was the Legend:  Arthurian Tarot.  The cards have a smooth finish with an "almost" reversible back.  I say "almost" because the dragon in the center of the compass is what makes the backs not completely reversible.  However, this is not something to stop me from using reversals with this deck -- or really any deck, for that matter.

The author notes that she feels that fewer people use reversals these days, and although she doesn't advocate the use of reversals from her own beliefs, she includes reversed meanings out of respect for those of us who do use reversed cards in a reading.  She could have put her book together without reversals as some writers do, but having a choice is always nice!

Each reader will have her or his own preference and feelings about the use of reversed cards.  I just happen to be a reader who believes in the importance of reversals to be allowed the opportunity to come up in a reading.  My own philosophy is that reversals can shed further insight or understanding of the potential for possible blocks along one's journey.  They don't necessarily have to be negative if they are reversed, just as a card isn't always positive just because it falls in the upright position.

The Llewellyn Tarot CardsThe cards come as a boxed set with a 264-page companion book.  The front opening book-type box is lovely with the image of the Wheel of Fortune on the front.  The companion book includes information about Welsh mythology.  For each card, a black and white image is presented with traditional interpretations beneath it.

For the Major Arcana cards, a story of the associated mythology is provided.  Upright and reversed meanings are both included for every card.  At the end of the book, the author has included a glossary and a pronunciation guide.

In this Tarot kit, you also receive a lovely golden brocade Tarot bag embellished with rustic-orange beads dangling at the bottom, and at the top are gold tassels at each side of the drawstring. 

The cardstock is somewhat thin and is flexible, but I think the cards will hold up reasonably well if one takes good care of them.  They don't look or feel cheaply made, but the cardstock of some decks are a bit thicker and would suggest longer lasting use than this set.

It was easy for me to fall in love with the Llewellyn Tarot cards!  They definitely rank among my favorites.  I love the richly expressive artwork that brings the cards to life and  feels very familiar and comfortable in my hands.  I don't find these cards to be hard to shuffle even though they are a bit larger than standard, measuring 3-1/4" x 4-1/2".  I have long fingers which are surely helping me, because those with shorter hands might not find these cards as comfortable to handle and shuffle as I do.

But when you love a deck, you'll find a way to shuffle that particular deck, even if it is oversized.  I wouldn't consider these cards "oversized" at all -- just slightly larger than standard.

Each of the Major Arcana cards contain the number and name of the card on the bottom border.  In the top border is the Welsh name of the character or myth associated with the card.  These myths and characters are as follows:

The Fool - Peredur
The Magician - Gwydion
The Priestess - Ceridwen
The Empress - Rhiannon
The Emperor - Bran the Blessed
The Hierophant - Taliesen
The Lovers - Dream of Macsen Wledig
The Chariot - Manawydan
Strength - Twrch Trwyth
The Hermit - Myrddin
The Wheel of Fortune - Arianrhod
Justice - Lady of the Fountain
The Hanged Man - Enchantment of Dyfed
Death - Arawn
Temperance - Keeper of the Well
The Horned One - The Wild Herdsman
The Tower - Bala Lake
The Star - Branwen
The Moon - Lake of Maidens
The Sun - Llew Llaw Gyffes
Judgment - The Sleepers
The Universe - Cadair Idris

I highly recommend this deck to anyone who likes to work with traditional Tarot structure but prefers something more engaging and beautiful in the cards than what the Rider-Waite tradition offers.  Anyone who likes a good myth behind the Tarot stories will enjoy this deck as well.

I would also not hesitate to recommend the Llewellyn Tarot to a new student of the Tarot, because the images convey the same feelings and meanings as does traditional Tarot.  And of course, this deck is such a treasure and a treat that collectors are sure to want to include it in their cherished collection of Tarot decks.  If you buy it for purposes of collecting, don't be surprised if you end up actually using it instead of just "collecting" it!

From the back of the companion book:

Bringing Mythic Moments to Life

"Powerful magicians, otherworldly priestesses, fierce warriors, and fair maidens come to life in The Llewellyn Tarot.  Based upon the myths, legends, and culture of medieval Wales, The Llewellyn Tarot Companion adds additional layers of meaning to these powerful images.

Each card in this enchanting tarot began as a delicate watercolor painted by Anna-Marie Ferguson, acclaimed artist and create of Legend: The Arthurian Tarot.  Inside, you'll find detailed descriptions of each card in the major and minor arcana, as well as divinatory interpretations for both upright and reversed positions.

The major arcana depicts major deities and mythic figures from Welsh legend, and this companion guide includes a descriptive retelling of the mythological moment captured in each trump.  The minor arcana cards depict scenes from daily life and are based upon traditional imagery."

Deck Details - The Llewellyn Tarot

Number of Cards in Deck: 78

Size of Cards:  3-1/4" by 4-1/2"

Included with deck: Companion book (264 pages) and a golden brocade Tarot bag embellished with rustic-orange beads at the bottom and tassels on the drawstring

Major Arcana:   The Fool, The Magician, The Priestess, The empress, The Emperor,  The Hierophant,
The Lovers,
The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Horned One, The Tower, The Star, The Moon,  The Sun, Judgement, The Universe

Suit Names:  Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles

Court Cards:  Page, Knight, Queen, King

Back Design of Cards:  Llewellyn Tarot
                  Card Back

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