The Steampunk Tarot

Review by Terri Clement


Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore with artwork by Aly Fell

published by Llewellyn Worldwide,

ISBN:  978-0-7387-2638-0

Not too long ago I found myself downtown Seattle, visiting a friend from out of town. During lunch we got on the subject of Tarot. He told me that had never had a reading, which I immediately felt the need to remedy. Unfortunately, I had not thought to bring a deck with me (I know, shame on me!). As we walked back toward his hotel we happened upon a Barnes and Noble. My friend stated that he was looking for a book and had a gift card and wondered if we could go in. He went one direction to look for his book and I went off the other direction in search of the Tarot section, hoping that they had an interesting deck that I didn’t already have. As I found the section, I quickly spotted The Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell. I had the perfect excuse to splurge and pick up a copy of this deck. We hurried back to the hotel and found a nice quiet little table in the lobby and ripped open the packaging.


The Steampunk Tarot is sealed in plastic and packaged in a large fold top box along with a 312-page manual. There is a cardboard removable insert inside the box that is supposed to hold the deck in place, however once you remove the plastic from the deck, the cards kind of flop around loose inside the box. The addition of a deck bag will keep the deck from slipping around.

The cards measure 4 2/3” tall x 2 ¾” wide. The card borders are done in black. The front side and top borders measure 3/16” and the bottom border measures 5/16”. The title of each card is written in the bottom border. The deck back is not reversible friendly and appears to be a steampunk machine into which a symbol for each suit has been built.

The card stock is flexible and lightly laminated. While each card is flexible the deck itself is a bit stiff to riffle bridge shuffle right out of the box. Many cards seem to pop out while shuffling. It will take a bit of work to break this deck in.


Strength is numbered VIII and Justice is XI. The suits are Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Swords. The courts are Page, Knight, Queen and King.

There are some gorgeous images in this deck, here are just a couple:

The Star features a beautiful woman in a violet corset with a long, flowing black skirt. She is seated on an astrolabe, which is an ancient computing device used to determine the position of celestial bodies in the night sky. The key phrase for this card is “Hush, my darling, hush. Have faith. I will light the way.”


The Four of Wands shows a dark haired woman in a yellow gown, putting garland and ribbons up on four wands while a blonde woman in woman in blue finds a card of good omen among the party items. The core meaning for this card is “Celebrating the culmination of events or the achieving of a goal.”

The Nine of Cups shows a dark haired, tiara wearing hostess behind the bar, while 9 cups are lined up on the bar in front of her.  This image definitely gives the feeling of being welcomed.  …and I do have the say the woman featured here looks a bit like Barbara Moore herself. The key phrase for this card is “Come in and welcome! Your every desire will be served with a warm smile. Order carefully.”


The manual ties together Moore’s back ground in the sub-culture of steampunk as a former gamer and her interest in Tarot. The first 40 or so pages of the manual introduce steampunk, and how to do readings. A majority of the book is dedicated to the cards.  Each card image is given a large illustration in gray scale beginning with the Major Arcana, then moving to the Pips, in suit order and finally the Court card. For each card there is a key phrase, core meaning and a longer more detailed interpretation. The final few pages are dedicated to spreads and a sample reading.  

The Steampunk Tarot is a Rider-Waite-Smith stylized theme deck that is filled with many strong female characters that captures the essence of steampunk. It can be used easily right out of the box by anyone who is at all familiar with the RWS style of deck as the symbolism is easily recognizable. It would also be fun for anyone involved in the neo-Victorian lifestyle.

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