Tarot of the Sidhe


By Terri C.

The Tarot of the Sidhe by Emily Carding

Published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., www.schifferbooks.com

ISBN:  978-0-7643-3599-0

The groundbreaking artist in the Tarot world, Emily Carding, who brought us the Transparent Tarot and the Transparent Oracle, brings us yet another visually stunning but deeply insightful body of work.  With the Tarot of the Sidhe (pronounced Shee), Emily introduces us to the Otherworld, and acquaints us with the Elementals of Nature. 

For Emily, this deck started out as an art project with her (then), very young daughter, around Christmas time.  When the project was nearly finished, she realized that she had created the first of 78 cards, Temperance.  The images where drawn intuitively on paper with ink, then watercolor was added, giving this deck a raw and moving image that is filled with energy.  

The Sidhe, is a Gaelic (Scottish, Irish) word for the race of Faerie who dwell in the hollow hills of the same name.  This deck is designed to be the bridge between Fae and human relations.

One of the inspirations, besides the Sidhe themselves, behind this deck is the Great Glyph of the Sidhe, which even though it may be hidden, each card of the Major Arcana contains this image.   This glyph is carved into stone at one of the great Sidhe sites in Ireland and is widely recognized as a potent symbol.   One of the many uses for this glyph is a tool for meditation, to transport one through the gateway into the  Otherworld, where one might be able to interact with the Fae.  For more information regarding this glyph check out The Sidhe:  Wisdom of the Celtic Otherworld, Lorian Press 2004, by John Matthews.

Though the deck has some similarities to a traditional 78 card Tarot the artwork and symbology  is quite different, but should be easily interpreted by the reader, without requiring much extra study.  The suits have been renamed Dreamer (Air/Swords),  Warrior (Fire/Wands), Dancer (Water/Cups), and Maker (Earth/Pentacles).SidheWarriorKing

Justice is numbered VIII and Strength is XI, the Hierophant is called the Elder and the Devil card has been renamed Pan.

The deck is larger and the cards are thicker than standard, measuring 5” tall x 3 ½” wide x 1 ¼” deep.   With the deck being a bit larger, those with smaller hands may have to adapt their shuffling style, if they are used to riffle bridge shuffling.  The cardstock is of nice quality with semi glossy lamination.  The cards are not slick, but fan well.  

On the face of the cards there is a black border, which does not detract from the artwork.  For the Majors, you will find the number of the Major on the top of the card, with the name of the Major on the bottom.  For the minors, you will find the suit and number at the top with a key phrase on the bottom (for example, Gift of Glory – Warrior King – (King of Wands), except for the aces where you will find the associated element, such as AIR, for The Dreamer (Ace of Swords).

The card backs are black featuring the Great Glyph of the Sidhe, which looks like three-dimensional, carved granite.  The card backs, though striking, are not reversible friendly.

The deck arrives in a nice sturdy box, along with an actual companion style, small 96 page soft cover book.  The companion book contains an introduction, which includes:  Creating the Deck, Who or What are the Sidhe, The Cards, and Caring for the Cards.  All of which give many excellent pointers for the brand new reader.  The book also gives a message from each of the Majors, along with artist's notes.  There is a  short poem for each of the Minors, as well as keywords for all of the cards.  Towards the end of the book, you will find how to do a single draw, a 3-card draw and 3 larger spreads.  There are also other uses for the cards described in the book, such as Entering a Card, Meditating, Alter Focus and Magick.

This deck would make a nice addition to any Tarot collection and could easily be used by the beginner all the way through the professional.  Additionally, any fan of Emily Carding, The Transparent Tarot or The Transparent Oracle will be completely delighted with this latest treasure.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - © 2011

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