Friday, 25 July 2014

Maroon Tarot Overview

The Maroon Tarot (self-published, 2009) was originally named for the marvelous, intricate borders that were designed for it.  The creator, Maja Zaworowska, then also noticed that the name echoed the surname of the artist, Tomasz Maronski.  I rather like it, the very colour/name seems quite sumptuous!  As for the images, they are fantastical, often misty or with an unusual hue to the light and landscape.  The characters that people it are equally wondrous and fantastical: fairies and more elfin creatures, with artifacts which are elegant and a little otherworldly.

The first card I drew to illustrate the deck shows the way in which the images are on a very grand scale.  It also gives that feel of being on another world, as well as showing the variation from more traditional symbolism.  The World shows a moon rising in an azure sky, between two rocky outcroppings that hem in a lake or part of a sea.  The colours make me think of the saying "The world is your oyster".  Below, there is a depth of emotion and a feeling of constraint, above an incredible sense of openness and opportunity.  It's not quite the usual coming full circle or sense of completion, and yet in other ways it is...

The Court cards are also rather delightful.  They use colour beautifully, as well as much traditional symbolism.  And while not having close ups, the figures do vary in age considerably from the child-like Pages to the often bearded and grey Kings.  Though this King of Wands is less obviously old than some of the others, his throne and crown denote his rank, the red hues of the landscape indicate his suit, and his posture suggests his continued willingness to leap into situations he spies from on high.

The Ace of Swords shows well the misty, fantastical nature of the suit, as well as the power of the Aces.  They always have just a single object, and yet the play of light and shadow, and the surrounding landscapes, add depth to the images.  This card makes me think of the phrase "the truth will set you free" as the sword rises up, glowing, from the mists below.

Finally, we have a Minor, the Three of Swords.  The notion of thoughts which cause us heartache could be read into it, especially from the woman's romantic dress and tragic pose.  Yet, the twisted, nightmare creature above the woman could equally be interpreted in other ways.  These images beg for stories: has she been left as a tribute payment for this monster?  Will she overcome her sorrow at her fate?

And that, I think, is one of the greatest aspects of this deck.  It is fantastical, calling us to let our imagination run wild.  It shows life, yet with an edge of strangeness that invites us to think a little differently, to step outside of our everyday thoughts and preoccupations.


  1. It is a very magical deck, I agree. I remember seeing samples when it was being created and thought how these etherial landscapes would prompt the intuition and mood of the reader.

    One thing I notice in the 3 of Swords is how the artist has either manipulated or drawn from The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse -

    Lovely overview. As always, excited to see what comes next week ... :)

    1. Ah, I thought she looked familiar! Thanks for the link, Steve :)

  2. I really like this deck. It's beautiful and feels magical. I'll have to add it to my wish list. It would make a great gift to myself. :)

    1. How about promising to get it for yourself after your next novel is finished ;)