I know it’s trendy to be all emo say “I hate Valentine’s Day!” but you know what? I fucking love it. I love heart shaped chocolates and the heart shaped boxes they come in. I love flowers, stupid frilly lingerie and the color pink.
What I don’t love is bouquets of red roses. I once dated guy who loved to buy me bouquets of red roses like it was this big deal and he was so amazing for doing it but then he’d go and act all paranoid and controlling, like an insecure jerk. So in my books a dozen red roses = asshole.
I decided I wanted to create a new Valentines Day Tarot spread this year – it’s pink, it’s loaded with hearts and it’s for EVERYONE – regardless of whether you’re in a relationship or not. And if you have absolutely no interest whatsoever in attracting a partner, just substitute erotic life for love life, because we can all have an erotic life, right? I hope so!
The Dark Mansion Tarot is an independently published deck by Krzysztof Wasiuk and Magdalena Kaczan (artist). Based on the Rider Waite style, this is a high quality, one of a kind Tarot deck, reminiscent of Tim Burton movies. At the time of this review, it comes in three different versions – standard version, limited edition and large edition. Warning: this is as close as I’ve come to finding the “perfect” Tarot deck!
Delicious feeling card stock
Delightful, atmospheric artwork
Super-easy to read and work with
Absolutely nothing! (This doesn’t happen often)
I first unboxed this deck on Christmas Eve after I’d enjoyed a delicious holiday dinner with my family. I’d just had a few tokes and was high as a kite when I first laid eyes on these cards. As I looked through the deck like a glassy-eyed zombie, I thought oh my god! This deck is incredible! It feels like butter in my hands, ooooh! The cards seemed to be speaking directly to that place inside me where my mind and soul meet. It was a magical experience. I was on the cusp of a full blown Tarotgasm!
Then I thought I’m probably just high, I bet it won’t be as spectacular tomorrow. But I was wrong. The next day I looked at this deck while I was stone cold sober and still thought oh my god, this is one of the coolest decks I’ve ever seen!
I have the standard version, which is what my review is based on. This deck also comes in a fancier limited edition which has larger cards, thicker card stock and a fancier, velvety finish and comes in a wooden box. There is also a large version. Honestly, the quality of the standard version is so good, I can’t imagine needing an even better quality version, but it’s there for you if you want it.
Box – the deck comes in a sturdy, cardboard box (pictured at the top of this page). It’s a nice, pretty box that is perfect for storing your cards in.
Card Stock – Superb! Good quality, luxurious card stock with a lovely matte finish. Print quality is top notch and the colors really pop. One nice thing I noticed – unlike my other decks that have a black background, this deck doesn’t get the little white chip marks on the edges. I’ve been shuffling and using these cards quite heavily for over a month now and they are still black as night!
Card backs – I love the card backs so much! They are cute and mysterious all at once (see below for a picture).
Size – Cards in the standard version are 12 x 7.4cm (a nice size for shuffling). I’m interested to see what the large version is like as I love big decks for their view-ability, but like smaller cards for their shuffle-ability.
LWB – there is no little white book with this deck.
What I love…
I really, really, really love the style of the art. Artist Magdalena Kaczan has done an outstanding job here. This deck feels like it was well thought out and meticulously crafted with lots of attention to detail.
I know a deck is special when each card just radiates a particular vibe or persona and with The Dark Mansion Tarotyou really do feel like you’re entering into some other world when you’re reading with it. The art reminds me a bit of Tim Burton movies, especially The Nightmare Before Christmas (one of my faves!) as it has this really cool atmospheric, Halloweeny feel to it, but not in an overpowering sort of way.
How does this deck read?
Like a charm! I used this deck for my 2019 Tarot forecast reading and I used it steadily for most of the private readings I did in January, as well as my own personal readings. The Dark Mansion Tarot sticks close to the Rider Waite style imagery, making it feel familiar and very easy to read with.
I especially liked the Court Cards, which were brimming over with personality and spark. Court Cards can be tough to read, but I found them a joy to read in this deck.
Who is this deck for?
Everyone. Beginners will have an easy time due to the fact that it’s similar to the Rider Waite in terms of symbolism and imagery. But this is no boring, Rider Waite clone, so I’m sure seasoned Tarot fans will find much to love about this deck!
I’ve seen a lot of Tarot decks over the years and I’ve become a bit jaded and numb. I rarely get all heart-pounding excited about a deck – but I sure did when I saw The Dark Mansion Tarot. This one’s special and I know it will be one of the most used decks in my collection.
Holy crap, it’s almost February! I haven’t even set my New Years goals yet…! I guess I’d better get on it 😉 For this reading I’m using the Hip Chick Tarot. Note: the middle card is called “Creator” and I get all confused in the reading and say that in a Rider Waite deck it’s The Empress. It isn’t! It’s actually The Magician.
The Pastel Tarot is a self published, indie Tarot deck by Gary Shook, creator of other unique Tarot decks such as the Waite Acid Tarot and Retro Pop Tarot. The art style is unique and distinct, using photographic collage which is processed via multiple software platforms. It’s a Rider Waite based deck with a modern feel!
No borders! Yay!
Calming, pastel colors
Modern twist gives this deck a unique feel
Characters feel warm and relateable
Card stock a bit thin
Card backs don’t match theme of deck (note: the artist has re-done the card backs to match the color scheme of the deck, the backs of my deck were just temporary backs)
When I first unwrapped my copy of the Pastel Tarot, I noticed the box said Tarottica and being a bit of a pervert, I immediately assumed this deck would be smutty, although I didn’t recall anything porno-esque when I’d browsed the deck online a couple weeks ago.
I later realized that Tarottica is the name of Gary’s Etsy shop and there’s actually nothing smutty about it. Darn!
My first impression of this deck was “ooh, pretty!” because I liked the pastel color scheme. The soft colors are calming and gentle and make this deck easy really easy on the eyes. The art style feels uncluttered and soft and very accessible.
But upon deeper exploration of this deck, I was intrigued by some of the modern themes and imagery as well as the realness and warmth of the characters populating the Minor Arcana.
Card stock finish is something between a matte and a gloss, like a glotte. Size is pretty standard – not too big, not too small and a nice size for comfortable shuffling and handling.
The card stock is a bit on the thin side and overall print quality is middle of the road. Thin card stock isn’t always a bad thing though, especially when it comes to shuffling – a thin deck feels way nicer to shuffle than a deck made from sturdy stock. This deck does come in a premium version that has thicker card stock, if that’s important to you.
Next up, card backs: I noted in my video review that the card backs didn’t seem to match the deck at all. Gary has since told me that the copy I received is different than the copy that is now for sale and the card backs have been changed to reflect the overall theme of the deck. Perfect!
There is no little white book with this deck (LWB). Honestly, I don’t give a shit about this. I rarely ever look at the LWB, but some people, especially beginners really like a LWB.
What I love…
My two favorite things about this deck are the contemporary feel and the characters of the Minor Arcana.
Let’s talk about the Minor Arcana peeps first…
The Minor Arcana really shines in this deck and I love just how real and warm so many of the people in this deck feel. When I read the Minors, I feel like I actually know the figures on these cards, which helps make this deck feel very readable and accessible.
The Queen of Swords reminds me of Debbie from finance (in the office I used to work at). Debbie was a real trip. And the guy in the Nine of Cups looks just like my old history profs who used to smoke cigars and bring red wine and cheese to class (to share with his students). This makes the minors really easy to relate to, making it a breeze to tap into the energy of the cards.
Some cards depict recent events like the separation of children and parents at the U.S./Mexico border (Three of Swords) and tent cities (Six of Pentacles), giving this deck a very contemporary feel.
How does this deck read?
Sometimes it takes me a little while to really break in a deck and connect with it, but I instantly connected to the Pastel Tarot. My first reading was very clear and direct, making this one of the easiest decks I’ve read with.
In fact, this deck reads like your having a conversation with a good friend – it just feels easy.
Who is this deck best for?
This is a beginner friendly deck since it sticks close to Rider Waite style imagery and would be a fairly easy deck to learn on. But more seasoned Tarot readers will also enjoy this contemporary deck with it’s soft, soothing color theme and personality popping characters.
Here is your 2019 New Years Tarot reading! I look forward to doing this reading all year – it’s one of my favorite spreads to work with and I feel like we are all so optimistic at the beginning of the year 🙂
The deck I’m using is the Dark Mansion Tarot…
I will be offering private Tarot readings for the month of January – if you feel drawn to get a 2019 New Years reading from me, I would love to give you one 🙂
There are three times in the year that I LOVE doing readings for myself – Halloween, my birthday and New Years.
As we enter 2019, it’s the perfect time to check in with yourself: What direction do you want to take this year? What new habits do you want to adopt? What crap do you want to leave behind? You know, all that good stuff!
The spread below is the New Years spread I’ve been using for the past several years. It’s also the spread I’ll be using for my 2019 Private New Years readings.
So pour yourself a glass of bubbly, shuffle those cards and have fun with this!!!