Newly published tarot and oracle decks arrive on Amazon, Etsy, crowd-funding platforms, and in bookstores every month. Today there are literally thousands of decks to choose from, including out-of-print decks as well as published ones. Reviewing a deck is a subjective judgment intended to help readers determine if they want to own the deck.
The critical review of a deck for AskAstrology involves looking at the quality and size of the cards, visual accessibility of the art, quality of the companion book or booklet, and potential usefulness in professional practice. This month I have chosen to review the Happy Tarot by Serena Ficca from Llwellyn Publishing.
From the publisher:
Happiness can change the world. With its bold colors and absolutely fresh art style, this deck makes NOW the perfect moment for exploring your very own spirit of happiness. Featuring a plethora of honest smiles, sunshine, and optimistic characters, Happy Tarot is destined to change your life for the better.
Card Stock and Shuffling
Printed on medium card stock, these cards have a glossy finish with curved edges. They are easy to shuffle, and ready to use when you first get them out of the box. If the deck is used heavily it may need to be replaced after a few years.
Artwork and the Visual Accessibility of the Deck
The artwork is fun and creative! It really is a very cute and playful deck. The deck, like so many, mimics the Rider Waite Tarot and Pamela Colman Smith’s composition for the cards. If you are familiar with the Rider Waite deck, this will be an easy deck to start using.
The King of Candy Canes (Wands)
From the booklet:
Meaning: A charismatic leader who speaks the truth and holds to his ethical ideals. This person can be trusted with power and will not abuse it. You can find happiness by using your power for the greater good.
4 of Cups
From the booklet:
Meaning: If you continually refuse what’s offered to you, you may find yourself isolated and lonely. It’s fine to refuse what doesn’t feel right, but don’t get into a habit of saying no. You can find happiness when you say yes to a good offer.
From the booklet:
Meaning: Distance and perspective can help you see more clearly. When you can hear your own thoughts, you have more to offer others. You can find happiness in meaningful solitude.
Explanation of the Cards
This deck does have a companion booklet that is, surprisingly, very good; and the explanations are simple and direct. The final sentence of every interpretation begins with, “you can find happiness …”. So, for the Fool, “you can find happiness by trusting the universe to take care of you.” For the Magician, “you can find happiness through applying your will toward your desires.”
As a professional reader, I can say that this deck is excellent for both personal and professional use; it certainly works for reading in public spaces. The artwork is … well … super cute. Instead of wands, you have candy canes. And in the cups, you have pudding. If you want to introduce someone to a tarot reading in the “gentlest” way, then this deck hits the mark.
I would recommend the deck for personal use, collecting, and general professional use. This deck is creatively drawn; on the plus side, even the most difficult cards do not feel as threatening since all the characters are cartoon children, cute animals, and brightly-colored scenes.
The deck is quite good, visually-speaking. The art conveys the meanings in a consistent way, making almost no derivations from the Rider Waite compositions. The companion booklet that comes with the cards provides very poignant explanations. The flexible card stock makes shuffling easy right out of the box. Truthfully, I give this deck five out of five stars.