April 19, 2024
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Tarot Deck Review: Edgar Allan Poe Tarot by Sarah Christensen Fu

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 judgement 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 Edgar Allan Poe Tarot by Sarah Christensen Fu.

 

The Cards

The Empress

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Knight

 

Three

 

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Nine

 

Page

From the back of the box:

Do you dare to dream? Edgar Allan Poe Tarot is for those who, like Poe, dream even when they’re awake, see beauty in darkness, and are unafraid to face the shadows of everyday life. This evocative deck follows the pattern of traditional tarot, rendered through the lens of Poe’s eerie characters and works.

About the author:

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Sarah Christensen Fu is the author of the Bad Birthdays: the Truth Behind Your Crappy Sun Sign (2014), and the author/video producer of the adult non-fiction Baby Sign Language book and DVD kit (Thunder Bay Press, Spring 2014). Her first adult novel, A Diet to Die For (Simon & Schuster, July 2013) is written under the pen name Sarah Steding.

Card Stock and Shuffling

Printed on thin card stock, these cards have a gloss finish with rounded corners and are easy to riffle shuffle, even if you have small hands. The cards flex easily because the card stock is on the thinner side; pleasantly, they do not stick together when they first come out of the box. Because the card stock is on the thinner side, they will likely need to be replaced in a few years if heavily used.

Artwork and the Visual Accessibility of the Deck

The artwork for this deck is it’s best feature, the colors are strong and rich. However, the visual accessibility of the deck is very limited, without the explanations in the booklet it would be impossible to discern meanings solely from the images, especially the minor arcana where the creator elected to use pips for many (but not all) of the cards, instead of characters and scenes. This design forces the reader to rely on the accompanying booklet for interpretation. This choice is something of a creative shortcut that makes the deck less appealing when compared to decks that use characters and scenes throughout all 78 cards.

The Empress

The Empress

 Meaning:

The Empress is a strong maternal, feminine power, a card that bodes well for fertility, family, and wealth. This card reflects fruitful and bountiful creative endeavors. If the Empress card appears in your reading, don’t forget to mother yourself by being kind, compassionate, and practical.

Though his own mother died young, Poe gives credit to the power of motherhood in his poem “To My Mother”.

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,

The angels, whispering to one another,

Can find, among their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of “Mother” …

Knight of Hearts

Knight

Meaning:

The Knight of Hearts is a card that represents heroism but also great risk. The Knight has pure intentions but his courage and risk taking may cause misfortune.

The Knight of Hearts reversed indicates bragging, tyranny, and brawling.

The Three of Graves

Three

Meaning:

The Three of Graves signifies the mastery of a craft or art, as the gravedigger has achieved perfection in his trade. This is a card that bodes well for a new undertaking, from a home-improvement project to a self-care kick.

This card reversed denotes ignorance, selfishness, lack of original ideas, or lack of skill.

Explanation of the Cards

The deck comes with a nice guidebook that has six sections: The Life and Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Understanding Your Deck, Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, The Tarot and Poe, and Reading Tarot Cards. The images of the cards in the booklet are in color. The Major Arcana cards each get two pages, one with image and the other with a description, meaning, and reversal. Each Minor Arcana cards is on a single page with an explanation and reversal meaning.

The traditional representatives for each suit have been changed. Eyes replace the Wands; Ravens replace the Cups; Hearts replace the Swords, and Graves replace the Pentacles. Otherwise, the meanings follow the Rider Waite system. There is an error in the booklet, the Three of Ravens and the Three of Hearts have the same text. It is the Three of Ravens meaning that is missing and should match the Three of Cups, which represents celebrating with friends.

Usefulness

The deck is not particularly good for beginners, but is a nice novelty deck. The creator did a good job connecting the works and life story of Poe to the cards. It would be fun deck to pull out and use around Halloween, or as part of an event focused on the weird, macabre, or strange.

Rating

I give this deck 3.5 out of 5 stars. The meanings in the booklet are well-written, and extremely insightful when connecting a card with Poe’s story. The artwork is very suitable for the theme of the deck, and by far it’s best feature. The card stock is thin, so the deck will not last if heavily used use. The use of pips instead of characters and scenes diminishes the deck’s overall value.

Where to Buy this Deck

If you like this deck and wish to purchase a copy, you can do so online or in the store at Barnes and Noble.