The Dark Wood Tarot by Sasha Graham and Abigail Larson
Reviewed by Jennifer
Once upon a time in the Catskills of New York lived a Tarot Diva we all know as Sasha Graham. Whilst residing in this beautiful part of America she decided to create a Fairy Tale style Tarot Deck alongside award-winning gothic artist Abigail Larson. But whilst the fairy tales we have all grown up with were wonderfully light and fluffy, they were far from the way they were originally written and told.
In her deck, Sasha has envisioned the darker side of the fairy tale realm –not the cutting your toes off so your foot fits the glass slipper kind of darkness – but the kind where the shadows follow and watch you even in the darkest of areas, the darkness of our own shadows that belong to each and every one of us.
“The Dark Wood Tarot is a traditional Rider-Waite-Smith style deck, but it arrives at your fingertips with an extra dose of delicious darkness,” says Sasha Graham.
And it does. In her deck, The Dark Wood Tarot, we are being lured into the darkest of forests to meet with the shadow side of the familiar faces and creatures we all thought we knew.
As we reach to open the magnetically fastened box of tarot delights, note Red Riding hood on the lid; she looks awfully like Sasha, don’t you think, with her long brunette locks and big brown eyes? As you pull back the lid you will find inside a beautiful full colour guidebook and the accompanying deck of tarot cards.
The book is just divine, its glossy pages give it a luxurious feel. Each card is depicted as a full-page image which, combined with the gloss of the page, makes the images shine and contrasts nicely with the more muted finish of the images on each card. The card stock is light and easy to handle.
The card backs have a stunning gothic design, the style for which Abigail Larson is renowned for. The olive green and black colour palette speak of darkness and evil queens and has a glossy finish to enhance them. The front images of the cards, whilst they look shiny, I feel they have a subtle texture which helps the cards to not stick together during use…this doesn’t stop the lively ones from jumping out though!
The book is laid out in a way I find appealing, the card descriptions being at the back and the spreads towards the front. I like this layout, but it may not be for everyone. The beginning of the book helps you to read the cards from a darker perspective, to treat each card’s shadow side as you would a reversal in other decks. Whilst you can still use the Dark Wood Tarot as you would most other decks, the allure of the way this one is designed is to help us change our usually positive yet cautionary way of reading and to get right down to the dark side of our lives; the side we rarely dare to venture into.
The spreads within the book make you stop and think and think hard. Our dark sides are often painful, that’s why we try not to ‘go there’. Yet with time and reflection, the Dark Wood Tarot could help us heal from deep within, to restore us once more from the hurts of the past, to deal with the troubles of now, and also to ease what is yet to come.
I really like this deck, it comes to us at a time of world confusion and suffering, of anger and sorrow, all of which needs to be repaired and healed. Let this deck be a tool to help you heal your own personal world, even if it only helps repair a tiny part of it.