Deviant Moon Tarot Book

Deviant Moon Tarot Book Review
By Allan Ritchie


Deviant Moon Tarot Book
By Patrick Valenza

Published by U.S. Games Systems Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-57281-687-9
Retail:  U.S. $39.95

There are many positive reviews of the Deviant Moon Tarot book. I almost thought that I would not write a review. The facts are simple. If you are a fan of the Deviant Moon Tarot then you will likely get the book. The price of the hardbound guide will not deter the fans. I am writing this review for those who are on the fence and for those who might overlook the treasure that this book is to the tarot community. To simply call this a companion book is a disservice to the work and the contribution Patrick Valenza makes.

 U.S. Games has produced a quality product. They could have made the choice to bring this book to the market at a cheaper price. The recent release of the Chrysalis Tarot companion guide is an example of what we have come to expect. The Deviant Moon is on a wholly different level of quality and execution and therefore the price point is higher. For some this cost will be prohibitive but for the student of Tarot, Tarot decks and deck creation this book pays off the investment price.

Solid binding, full color pictures, parchment background on each page, and illustrated end papers all contribute to the sheer physical attraction of the book. Holding the heavy volume in hand and flipping through the pages examining the multitude of original art and representation of each of the cards is compelling and engaging. It has the weight of textbook yet the color and dedication to the graphic design has the opposite mental connection.

We tend to scoff at the Little White Books that come with decks. They are created for the base level audience. They are for the first timers that do not have a grasp on Tarot history, theory or practice. They are rudimentary entry point to find a way to understand meaning of the card. It is expected that in any companion book there is some of this defining of a card meaning but in deeper more meaningful detail. The Deviant Moon Tarot book meets this expectation. As Valenza goes in to detail of images, characters and depicts on the images as it relates to meaning. Conveying this information with a bright, full color, detailed image of the card the readers is able to see and connect the information.

In my time with companion books the rare few that transcend becoming essentially Big White books for me are those that bring the reader into the creative process of the deck. Patrick speaks with a clear voice throughout the book drawing the reader alongside to discover his history with Tarot, childhood memories, artistic development and discoveries. In time reading the book takes on the feel of looking through a family scrapbook or photo album complete with photos of himself as a child and then of his own children used as models for the deck.  This intimate connection with the deck creator is enriching to all those who use the deck but as a student of Tarot it reads as a biography to one of Tarot current prominent voices.

The Deviant Moon Tarot book feels comprehensive. Containing the initial sketches of some of the cards done in the 1980’s then to photographs of the physical locations that served as inspiration and textures for the card images and then concluding with a chapter on the choice to abandon the suit of Coins for Pentacles the volume gives the reader the background for the choices that he made in creating the deck. The Deviant Moon has a special appeal to many in the community and on its own this book too will have its place in the modern Tarot canon. Personal, endearing and informative the Deviant Moon Tarot book is a great addition to any tarot library.

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