by Gary Hall.

Gary Hall describes himself as a Magick enthusiast interested in Tarot imagery, as well as animation and having a career in art.

Publisher: Sterling Ethos

Recommended retail price: £18.16 to £20.43

Date of publication: 2021

Country of origin: United States

Theme: 1930s Animation

Art style/medium: Vintage Rubber hose cartoons

Tarot system: Waite-Smith plus two extra cards

The packaging is original and has a good “vibe”. The box opens at the bottom like a box of matches, revealing another box with the deck inside. Both boxes are colourfully decorated with the cartoons used in the cards, the sun in the inner box and the star inside the outer box.

The guidebook is a sturdy hardcover with a foreword by Leah Moore. Each Major Arcana card has a separate page, with a small representation of the card; for the Minor Arcana several cards share one page with a few lines per card. The explanation on each card is presented as a short story, where the author gives you the main ideas of the meaning for each card. Even the “darker” cards are given a positive inspiring meaning. Cards like the Nine of Swords, for example, include a lit candle and the character has its eyes open; all the swords are there, the black background too, but that candle brings hope and light into its meaning as well. As a contrast, the Three of Cups was a bit of a shock for me, because the figures holding the cups are skeletons, are they laughing? The sublime decoration of the skull faces could link it with the Mexican “Día de los Muertos”  (Day of the Dead Ones), which is seen by Mexicans as a happy, festive occasion. The book does not mention reversals. The book also includes two pages about how to read Tarot and provides four spreads.

The cards are made of “heavy duty” stock, which is a plus if used frequently; however, the deck is wider than a regular Tarot deck which may make it difficult for people with smaller hands to shuffle and handle. The deck is bulky on its own and much more so within its box, making it not a top option to carry in your handbag.

The deck has 78 cards plus two extra cards that the author calls Exclusive cards: Happy Squirrel and Sad Squirrel. They are placed between the Major and Minor Arcana and no explanation is given about how to use them or why the author created them. In readings I excluded these cards while using the Celtic Cross but included them when I had to aspect or open another card in the spread.

The artist gets as close as possible to the same colours and iconography as the Waite-Smith deck, which helps the reader connect with the cards’ images and meanings.

As a way to introduce myself to the deck and “break the ice” I did a small deck interview.
 
Q: What represents your voice as a deck? How will I use you best?
 
A: Seven of Swords. The character is holding the swords with one hand, and his finger is in front of his lips while looking back walking away on tiptoes.
 
Question someone’s deep intentions and true feelings to uncover what is secret, hidden or not ready to face the situation. Give the message to be careful not to hurt themselves or others with what they are hiding and inspire to look back and see if they are actually dealing with something in the best way possible. The deck is opening itself to go deeper into what is not seen or clear.
 
Q: What kind of topics do you prefer to discuss?
 
A: The Magician. The character is dressed like a magician performing in front of an audience of flowers. It is an all seeing eye, with a high hat with different symbols – stars, moon, infinity.
 
All things are possible; use the tools available to you. Happiness and success come by hard work. You will use your imagination. I understand that all topics could be discussed—as I start working with the deck, the deck is opening to work with me in all topics.
 
Q: What kind of topics do you prefer not to discuss?
 
A: The Sun. The bright yellow sun is all over the sky, happy and smiling. A baby flame-sun is also smiling and waving as it rides a smiling horse; even the sunflowers are smiling.
 
A very positive card. Throw away constraining conventions be free and do not let things get in your way. There are no limitations or constrains on the topics; all topics are open to discussion.
 
Q: What is the best way to work with you?
 
A: The Star. An unassuming star is pouring the water from two jars, one over the grass and the other on the water. The star is stepping on the water but the shoe is not inside the water while the tip of the other shoe is inside the grass. Seven stars are in the sky and I can’t help but notice a pink flamingo on the tree behind the Star.
 
Open up and make a significant addition, shed your inhibitions, listen carefully and you will hear the mystical messages.
 
The Interview spread had three Major Arcana cards out of four, which give us an idea of Higher Meanings, deeper truths and messages that are stronger energy and much more relevant or significant.
 
This reading resonates with the feeling this deck gives—positive, powerful and meaningful.
The deck opens itself to work with you, there are no limits. It helps clients feel comfortable and open themselves so the reading can go deeper and smoother. The deck also invites readers to trust themselves and use their knowledge, their intuition and their gifts, and open themselves to get the messages the deck is willing to convey.

Although Gary Hall uses an old theme, 1930s animation, I find the deck very original and extremely friendly. In my opinion, this deck can be used when reading for very young people, teenagers or people that might be sensitive to the representation of more traditional decks. However, some clients that have experience with other Tarot decks may feel that the reading is not serious enough when inquiring about serious topics. One of my clients mentioned that seeing a reading with these cards was like watching an old Disney animation film about your life—nothing is too serious, nor too dramatic.

If a person wants to read the cards for him or herself and does not have previous knowledge about Tarot, this deck could be a very light introduction to Tarot, but I would not recommend that someone who is serious about learning start with this deck and its guidebook only because the guidebook is very limited.

Because this deck’s theme comes across as a cartoon that regular people can relate to, this deck is great to go “incognito”, like when reading in a public place and not wanting to attract the wrong type of attention. I have read in a semi-public place, and people came to look at the “cartoons”; when they realised it was something else, someone mentioned she was afraid of Tarot cards but these she would not mind.

One aspect of this deck that was initially an issue with one of my clients is that part of their “vintage” look is to make them look like someone with dirty fingers has handled the cards. Luckily, these smudges are in the same spots in all the cards so I was able to show my client that it was part of the look and not someone else’s marks. I now explain beforehand that it is part of the look and it hasn’t been an issue since.

In general, I had good feedback about this deck from my clients.

Reviewed by: Enay Enaytzadah

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