It is a full 78 cards deck following the Rider-Waite-Smith system.
The Fool is 0, Strength is 8 and Justice is 11.
Suits are renamed as follows:
Acorns – Wands
Shells – Cups
Feathers – Swords
Crystals – Pentacles
Court cards are Page, Knight, Queen and King in each suit.
The back of the cards show two water lilies and is completely reversal-friendly.
The set is really good quality, as expected from the publisher. The cards are nice to touch and on the thick side, printed on matte paper. They shuffle well and fit my hand smugly, although they are a bit wider than the average tarot cards so they might take some time for some of us to adjust to them.
The book is the same size as the cards with 105 pages of jam-packed information on how to use the deck. It has a short intro, card meanings and explanations, spread suggestions and space for notes at the back.
The box is sturdy and very decorative; I don’t think I will need a bag for this deck any time soon.
Paulina Cassidy is well known in tarot circles for her decks. After the Paulina Tarot, Joie de Vivre Tarot, Witchlings Tarot and Faerie Guidance Oracle, The Spiritsong Tarot is her fifth deck and it showcases Paulina’s usual, gentle art style. Soft pastel-colour paintings depict well recognisable animals with wonderful, soothing backgrounds. The whole deck has a very quiet, whispering kindness to it; you can almost hear the animals passing through a forest, making barely audible noises as they ruffle some leaves or step on dry twigs. It draws you in to the beautiful, peaceful world of spirit guides.
Despite their soft colours, the cards are still vibrant and well distinguishable. Even in a bigger spread they will be well readable; their softness doesn’t take away from their individuality. One of my personal favourites is the Firefly on the Five of Shells. Its glow warms the soul even if – or maybe because – it isn’t a harsh, screaming cascade of reds and oranges.
The deck combines tarot and the shamanic practice of asking animals for guidance. Each animal is associated with a quality that was in turn matched to the corresponding tarot card. Even without reading the book, it is absolutely clear why each animal was chosen for its card; the connections are very strong and intuitive. Gazelle as the Fool, because of its leaps of faith, its youthfulness and its vulnerability. Hummingbird as the Sun because of its vitality and high energy. I am really happy with these associations; they are so easily understandable, even for a non-shaman like myself.
Some of the cards have been renamed to better suit the concept of the deck. We have 0, The Traveller/Fool; 5, The Shaman/Hierophant; 6, Love/Lovers; 13 Transformation/Death; 15, The Shadow/Devil; and finally 20, Awakening/Judgement. I am not overly fond of changed Major names, but these do match the theme of the deck so I am still all right with them; they feel justified rather than ‘too scared to write Death on number 13’.
This isn’t a deck I would use for life’s material problems. The Spiritsong Tarot is a deck for soul searching, for spiritual hide and seeks; these cards are above life’s loud hubbub and are ready to help you calm down, centre and help you hear your guides’ voices. It really has a wonderful healing energy, a gentle helping hand when you feel a little lost in life’s jungle.
The spreads suggested at the back of the book concentrate on resolving issues and what you can learn from the experience. They are rather helpful, well thought out spreads. You can see a picture of my go at the “Spiritsong Star” spread below. You can tell my question was of spiritual nature just by looking at the cards, haha. The Positions:
1 The present situation – Six of Feathers
2 The cause of the issue – Nine of Feathers
3 Changes needed to resolve your issue – Three of Crystals
4 Your own strength needed – Two of Crystals
5 Other challenges to overcome – Ace of Crystals
6 The likely solution – The Emperor
I usually prefer darker and louder art, but this deck has grabbed my soul and is pulling me into the forest to play with all its inhabitants. I am giving it five stars for quality, concept and art! It’s well worth to have it in your collection, people! And this is said by a Marseille lover! 😉
Publisher U.S. Games Systems, Inc
Written and Illustrated by Paulina Cassidy