This wasn’t my first deck, but when I got back into reading the Tarot several years ago after a semi- long hiatus (having children, getting married (then divorced)and forgetting go within,) I adored this deck from the start. I picked it up and it spoke to me. I was able to get accurate intuitive readings, using the lush images on the cards as well as the traditional meanings.
Black describes the deck as ‘poignant images of gentle beauty and human frailty that came from a time of violence, pestilence and oppression, they speak of a truth that is timeless, and a hope that flowers even in the darkest conditions.’
The images she uses in this digital collage deck are from 1200-1500 AD, and a style known as International Gothic, which evolved into the Renaissance. She also deviated from those guidelines and adds other touches when they are appropriate to the image and meaning of the card.
This is one of the primary decks I use and it never lets me down (though we all have an off day.)
This newer deck from Black is unique in that each card is a character, each figure with an haunting and memorable expression. of course, I connect with some of the personalities more than others, but if you pay attention, they speak to you, quite literally.
I have enjoyed the beauty of these cards, even considered some of the images for body art (still am,) but have been so protective of this hard to find, collectable deck that I have yet to actually use it for a reading. I have struggled with this. If only I had ordered two copies of the deck when it was available, I wouldn’t mind using the other, shuffling and wearing down the cards. I may change this as I am questioning my practice of collecting decks and not using them for what they were created for.
Black has created (in my opinion,) truly Gothic decks that feel more lovely and authentic to me for shadow work than some of the more obvious “dark” decks. They are less likely to create fear in people than decks that are more obviously dark and scary. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely *love* the dark sector of the Tarot, and one of my favorite decks is the Bohemian Gothic deck by the Magic Realist Press (which will be studied more in the month of October.) These decks though are (for me) easier to read and speak to me in a more direct way than some of the Vampire decks and Halloween decks out there. I am a huge believer in facing the darker/shadow aspects of ourselves. My daughter was asking me about a question in her homework that posed the question ‘ What is the benefit in accepting the tougher and more difficult parts of our lives?’ which I think is a powerful concept for a ten year old to ponder. It was wonderful that she was considering this, and I tried to answer in a way she could grasp. I told her that the dark and painful areas of life were there, like it or not. If we accept that, then it dissipates the fear and resistance. Most of the pain centers around the fear, so if we embrace these tough times (things like the way we feel when we are ignored by our BFF on the playground, or our feelings are hurt by our beloved brother because he refuses to talk to her,) then the great times (fun, fun, fun, and the satisfaction of a clean/redecorated room) are even more awesome! She is lucky to have had a relatively easy life compared to many. Though she has experience the pain of having a split household from the divorce of her parents, something that she talks to me about, she has not had to deal with abuse or even death (yet.) Obviously the things we consider quite benign feel much larger to her ten year old soul.
Lately my life has been a whirlwind of activity, mostly in the career and marriage sector. As I have become busier, my connection with these darkly lovely decks has become more important. I have been facing my own shadows, I won’t air them here, but suffice it to say, my journal has been working overtime, and my lovely friends and wonderful husband have been quite the support system during these times of change, both tough and wonderful.
I wonder if anyone else has been fortunate enough to connect with these decks? Have they supported your relationship with the beauty of your shadow? (Yes, the shadow is beautiful, it is created by our light)
The month of October and Halloween is going to give me the opportunity to explore darker decks, and things/feelings that may scare and repulse us.
If you are interested in a reading, please contact me. I will likely be using one of these beautiful decks, and if desired, I can send pictures of the main cards that come up if we are not face to face. Thanks for reading.