Shapeshifter Tarot

Deck Illustrated by Lisa Hunt; Accompanying Book by D.J. Conway and Sirona Knight.
© 1998 Llewellyn Publications

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Sorceress in
                the Shapeshifter Tarot9 of Cups in
                the Shapeshifter TarotGoddess of
                Air in the Shapeshifter Tarot

                Shapeshifter in the Shapeshifter Tarot9 of Swords in the Shapeshifter
                TarotAce of Pentacles in
                the Shapeshifter Tarot

                Tarot Book and DeckThe amazing illustrations of these cards show the wonderful talents of Lisa Hunt, a very gifted artist.  Through her exceptional drawings, she breathes life into this fascinating Tarot deck.  The images are done in pastel colorings surrounded by a blue border on each card which portrays figures that are half animal and half human . . . which represents the idea of "shapeshifting."

According to D. J. Conway and Sirona Knight, authors of the Shapeshifter Tarot book which comes with the cards, shapeshifting is the "assuming of a certain creature's characteristics, traits, and talents for a limited time."  The full-length book included with the cards is a very useful tool, as it talks about the symbolism of each card and relates those symbols to the traditional tarot card.

There are three main themes presented in this deck:
    1) The public theme -- that of the shamanic practice of shapeshifting
    2) The pantheon of Irish/Celtic Gods and Goddesses
    3) The cycle of life and death, past and future, rebirth, and past and future knowledge

This is a deck that people usually either love . . . or don't like at all -- not a lot of "inbetween" I've noticed.  The deck strays from tradition by using 81 cards instead of the standard 78, however, for those who like this deck, that is not a deterrent, but instead adds to the meanings and quality of the deck overall.  The titles of the 3 new cards are among the Major Arcana and are:  The Double; The Journey; and The Dreamer.  These cards are explained in the book.

Excerpt from the back of the book:

"When you look at the world through other eyes and hear through other ears, you are changed.  This is the power of the Shapeshifter Tarot:  to broaden, deepen, transform you.  To uncover traits, characteristics, potentials that have lain hidden until now.  To awaken your connection with wind, water, earth, and every living thing."

"The Shapeshifter Tarot speaks a language your spirit knows.  Listen to the messages it brings . . . and see all your life's pathways, possibilities, and dreams with a clearer vision."

A small quibble that I personally have with the deck is that it uses the Swords-Fire association, whereas I prefer to see the elements associated with Swords-Air and Wands-Fire instead.  However, if you are a reader who prefers the Swords-Fire association, then this trait will likely appeal to you.  For those who are seeking a reading, it's probably not going to matter one way or the other on how the elements are presented in a Tarot Deck.  As a Tarot reader myself, I have not found this to be a problem in reading these tarot cards -- it's something I can overlook, considering how much I like the deck otherwise.

I tend to prefer borderless decks, and I think this one would have been even more stunning without the borders, but that is only my opinion.  I'm sure that some readers do like having borders on the cards.  I'm just not crazy with the blue borders of this deck, but I don't let that distract me from the beautiful work in this tarot deck.

I have heard of beginning Tarot students picking up this deck as a first deck and learning Tarot with it.  I really wouldn't recommend learning Tarot that way, but if it works for you, then it is the right way, regardless of what works for others!  I do think this deck would present quite a challenge as a first deck, but if used as a second deck, the process of interpretations may make more sense to a new student of Tarot.

If the imagery and ideas from the Shapeshifter deck are appealing to you, it's probably one you will "love" as a reader or a seeker.

Other decks by artist Lisa Hunt:
You can visit Lisa Hunt's website at: Lisa Hunt Art

Deck Details - Shapeshifter Tarot

Number of Cards in Deck: 81  (25 Major / 56 Minor)

Size of Cards:  2 3/4" x 4 5/8"
This deck is easy to handle and shuffle.

Included with deck: Full-size instruction book, 237 pages.  A very useful tool for this deck.

Major Arcana:  Initiation, Sorcerer, Sorceress, Mother, Father, Knowledge, Lovers, Power, Courage,
Seer, Circle, Nature, Shapeshifter, Rebirth, Balance, Choice, Serpent, Star, Moon, Sun, Transcendence, Double (card 21), Journey (card 22), Dreamer (card 23), Oneness

Suit Names: Cups, Wands, Swords, Pentacles

Court Cards:  Goddess (King), God (Queen), Warrior (Knight), Seeker (Page)
In this deck, the Goddess takes the "kingly" position in the court card family.

The court cards are numbered as follows:
  •  Seeker = 11
  •  Warrior = 12
  •  God = 13
  •  Goddess = 14
Back Design of Cards:  Shapeshifter
            Tarot Card Back

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