The Dark Wood Tarot created by Sasha Graham and illustrated by Abigail Larson is a hot little tarot deck hitting the market recently in mid 2020 available for PURCHASE ON AMAZON for $27 USD.
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“Dare to enter the dark wood and discover your shadow self with this enthralling Rider-Waite-Smith-style deck. As you take on the role of a witch entering the wood, you’ll find each card becomes a “vision” of legends (wands), fears (swords), animals (cups), and the natural world (pentacles). These visions offer you deep wisdom, providing a richer and fuller understanding of yourself. Examine your secret desires, your shadowy dreams, and the unknown recesses of your psyche. This deck is the key to your shadow side—the key to a quest through darkness and into the light that reflects your hidden talents and personal power.“-Dark Wood Tarot
The cards are essentially a standard tarot card size with a gloss finish housed in a magnetic durable box with a ribbon and a full colored 304 page guidebook! The guidebook is rather extensive and although I am always on the fence about whether I like a book or not, I think this one is upstanding! It takes you on a journey giving the reader detailed information about the deck, artists and backstory to the theme of the deck. Along with explanations of understanding tarot itself and card spreads, the book gives us a fairy tale story surrounding the Dark Wood, book of shadows, shadow-work, alchemical insight and enchantments. Each of the cards throughout the deck have anywhere from 2-3 pages dedicated to the art and the meaning of the card giving us a story with each depiction, card meaning and shadow side.
The Dark Wood Tarot states it is a deck for shadow work. Shadow work is the exploration of the repressed, unconscious, often frightening aspects of our personality. In the deck, the main character the Shadow Witch is the embodiment of the reader traveling through the Dark Wood as the Fool. You follow her through the Major Arcana like you would a character in a film.
The Shadow Witch moved into the woods because the forest symbolizes unknown, forgotten places. The forest is the outward manifestation of our subconscious life. Darkness is a powerful symbol in the Dark Wood Tarot, allowing us to examine the darkest moments of our life.
Abigail Larson illustrated the Dark Wood Tarot with images grounded in nature, folklore and fairy tales. I can’t put my finger on it but it almost feels like a cartoon film that I know. As a child of the 80’s this deck’s imagery really brings back a nostalgic feel that I can’t quite place… but I love it!
Pictured left is the Wheel of Fortune and the Hermit card from the Major Arcana. These two cards are the perfect example of what, for me, is reminiscent of childhood movie memories.
The Hermite totally giving me Little Red Riding Hood vibes! And the Wheel of Fortune straight up looks out of Sleeping Beauty or Rumple Stiltskin!
Probably my favorite suit in the whole deck is the pentacles! I just love the creativity artistically with the pentacles themselves!
Not gonna lie… it took my brain a second to process it when I first saw it: I totally was like “Why are there banana slices on these cards?!?”
After having that AH-HA moment it not only makes sense why the pentacle is represented as a slice of an apple, but it plays rather nicely in the theme of the Dark Wood deck!
A couple of things I do want to address as far as observations/criticisms:
As this decks theme is following the Dark Witch through the Dark Wood the majority of the deck IS female. Incivility with race, gender or sexuality is really not present so if readers are looking for a deck with these things I imagine they would be disappointed.
Also… this is my personal quorum with the deck… the card stock stinks! Now because they are ever-so-slightly smaller than an average tarot deck I would imagine people with smaller hands would find this a little easier to handle… HOWEVER… (in my opinion) the card stock is super flimsy AND the high-gloss finish make it very difficult for me to shuffle! I would imagine that after a few uses readers would begin to see wear on the deck from shuffling. I personally like to riffle/bridge shuffle and the cards consistently fly out of my hands. I play 78 card pickup more than I actually get to use the deck
I think the overall quality of the artwork, to the packaging and the book itself that one is getting a good value for their money, especially if you resonate with the Dark Wood! Personally I wish the card stock was improved ( I’m a card stock snob I can’t help it ) it’s certainly not the worst stock/finish I’ve seen and I’m certain that many readers will have no issues with it, it’s just my preference.
Do you have or have you worked with the Dark Wood Tarot? What are your thoughts and opinions on this deck? Comment down below and share with the rest of the Squirrel Nest so we can all learn and grow together!
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