Friday, 5 September 2014

Isidore Tarot Overview

As I mentioned on Monday, the Isidore Tarot (by Bethalynne Bajema) is based on the artwork of J.J. Granville.  So, we find many quirky beasts and insects, neo-Victorian clothing and artifacts, and a touch of the bizarre.

Take the Sun, which shows an elongated horse, a mini-tin pot dictator instead of a naked boy, and a calm yet somewhat frou-frou Sun above.  There are also sunflowers, yet they are low to the ground, changing the feel of the card a fair bit.  This card speaks less of innocence, yet still expresses new energy and a desire to explore the world - look at how high that horse raises its foreleg.

The Court cards are very well done, in my opinion.  Like the Queen and King of Cups that we saw on Monday, there is plenty of symbolism to be getting on with, though the images are far from busy.  So too, here on the Page of Coins, we have a rather dapper bird in a mustard coat, holding his Pentacle and looking quite pleased about it.  One finger points to the Coin, as though to say: Here, look at this!  Small flowers bloom around him, connecting him to the element of earth, and to new beginnings in the physical plane.

I also love this Ace of Swords, a hand reaches out holding what looks like a carving fork.  On top of it is a crown, with gems in a colour that matches the sleeve of the hand.  This is a far more "civilised" version - the hand is obviously clothed, there are matching accents and plenty of elegant detail in the fork.  And yet, the card itself remains quite simple and clear, which is a theme of all the images.

As for this Six of Wands, isn't it fabulous!  A donkey wears a wreath, and rides on the back of a zebra, while other donkeys stand around, gazing at this victor.  The six wands rise up around the donkey, intricate yet clear, and in a pattern that is tidy, yet not entirely symmetrical.

This deck is very readable following RWS tradition, and has a lovely simplicity to it, despite the detail of the main elements.  The only downside for me is that, despite quite nice cardstock, the deck came without rounded corners.  So, half an hour with my trusty corner-rounder was required before being able to use it.  The yellowish tones of the deck appeal to me, a bright, yet autumnal palette that suggests sepia, while being far more colourful.  And the quirkiness of the artwork, the strange juxtapositions mixed in with a clarity of design, makes it an interesting reading deck. 


  1. It's an interesting one, isn't it? I like the fine details. It's refined and elegant.

    A funny coincidence. I was searching all over the web for a face to draw yesterday and finally found an antique 'moon'. It was a surprise to tune in here this morning and see the exact same face in the sun staring out at me after I'd spent time drawing it last night.

    1. Yes, I can imagine it being right up your street, given previous conversations about the benefits of animals in a deck (similar to your silhouettes, they give a freer space for interpretation).

      And how funny that the face is also the man in the moon! Are you going to post up your own moon drawing?

  2. This is a lovely deck with a lot of detail. Although I wouldn't chose it for myself I do see the quality of the artwork and appreciate the amount of symbolism
    # Steve:I love it when these things happen :D.

    1. Well, I can't see it becoming a favourite of mine (this year, that spot goes to the Tarot de St Croix). Still, I do think it a very nice deck :)