What’s this? What’s this? There’s magic in the air…Jack Skellington
That’s right Squirrel Fam there IS magic in the air ! Just in time for the 2020 Holidays the Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot deck has been released! It’s time to jump and scream for joy! For all of the fans of Tim Burton’s movie the Nightmare Before Christmas I suspect you are really going to enjoy this Tarot Deck!
First I will give an introduction to the deck, then we will take a look at all the cards and finally dissect the deck and give my thoughts and opinions around it. As always I will make sure to include any appropriate links so that if you want to see more, read more or purchase the deck you may. This will be an affiliate link, so if you decide to purchase, at no additional cost to you this does help out me and my content!
The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck created by Author Minerva Siegel and illustrated by Abigail Larson. Abigail is also the illustrator of the Dark Wood Tarot. Disney’s iconic holiday film The Nightmare Before Christmas is now an enchanting tarot set, offering a frightful-but-friendly take on the traditional 78-card deck. This set features all your favorite characters from Jack Skellington to Mr. Oogie Boogie to Sandy Claws himself in gorgeous original illustrations based on classic tarot iconography. Featuring both major and minor arcana, the set also comes with a helpful guidebook explaining each card’s meaning, as well as simple spreads for easy readings. Packaged in a sturdy, decorative gift box, this hauntingly charming tarot deck is the perfect gift for the The Nightmare Before Christmas fan or tarot enthusiast in your life.
The Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot comes in a 2-piece decorative durable box with ribbon. The guidebook is a full color 126 page guidebook that includes: an understanding of your tarot deck, card meanings with both upright and reversal meanings along with a tarot reading section that has suggested card spreads to work with this deck. All 78 cards are standard tarot size, nice matte finishing and good card stock. Personally the card stock is a little on the thinner side than I’d care for BUT it is still durable and shuffles really well no matter your shuffling preference.
I can only imagine this art project as an interesting undertaking so I want to give compliments to Minerva and Abigail for being able to transform the Nightmare Before Christmas movie and translate it into a tarot deck. I always think it HAS to be somewhat limiting utilizing pre-determined characters and settings and being able to turn that into a 78 card deck that makes sense! I was certain I would see a lot of characters repeated throughout the deck or that there would be disconnects between character choices for the cards, but I think overall they did a really good job in the execution! I’m going to go ahead and get this out of the way though… I’m going to STRONGLY assume that their target consumer is 1. A big fan of the movie the Nightmare Before Christmas (no matter their reading/skill level) and/or 2. A new reader who is also a fan of the movie. I just don’t see a seasoned reader who is indifferent or unaware of the movie really gravitating towards this deck.
New readers of tarot who are interested in perhaps getting their first, or one of, deck who may be used to a traditional RWS deck this particular deck may take some time to work with… which we’ll get into. The two main things I would like to point out that could be a potential hurdle for some are the change in suit names, and the pip style minors. I myself still consider myself to be a new reader and while I am getting a firmer grasp of card meanings at times I can still struggle. Pip decks for me can be frustrating at times because honestly I’m lazy! I just want to see the image and immediately get that mental reminder and move on with my life. For me, pip decks cause me to think or take more time than I’d care to. If you resonate with this then, just a head’s up, you may struggle a bit with this deck.
Staying true to the theme of Halloween Town instead of our classic Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles suites we see: Potions, Candles, Needles and Presents. All of which are integral items that play roles throughout the movie. I think this is a really cute touch for the deck and these translations make sense.
- Potions come in bottles…or cups
- Candles have fire which represents the suit of wands
- Needles are sharp poky objects just like swords lol
- and Presents are material goods which is indicative of Pentacles
As I mentioned earlier I was pleasantly surprised to see some of their decisions on character choices for the cards and for those of you that were fans of the movie you’ll understand what I’m about to say. I want to take a look at some of my favorite cards within the Major Arcana and discuss why I enjoyed their pairings.
- The Fool: the protagonist of the movie Jack Skellington goes on a journey to discover Christmas and is very much the Fool as we follow along through his experiences and lessons.
- The Hierophant: The Mayor of Halloween Town that we see as a teacher and leader who values traditions, rules and order
- The Lovers: I think is no surprise as we see Jack and his beau Sally
- The Wheel of Fortune as Oogie Boogie’s roulette wheel
- The Devil as our antagonist of the movie, Mr. Oogie Boogie
- The Star as the adorable Zero, with his glowing nose that lights the way to move forward just as Rodolph does in the classic Christmas tales.
While the most of the Majors are fun and frightening the real scare for me comes in the Minors as I mentioned earlier. Those used to working with Pip decks and have a stronger understanding of them will not have a problem at all with this deck. The suit of Candles (wands) is a good example where I personally get tripped up. This particular suit just feels very repetitive in it’s imagery for me and causes me to get hung up. If you have any tips or tricks on how to better work with pip-style decks feel free to comment below and help a Squirrel out!
I spent a little more time with this guidebook than I do with some decks and I really appreciate how well they have incorporated the movie and it’s theme throughout the written content. It really immerses the reader in the world of Halloween Town and true fans of the Nightmare Before Christmas will really appreciate this! I especially love the card spreads in the back, while common spreads they still stick true to context. With a 3 card spread being “A peak behind the cyclops’ eye” to use when you want to find out what’s happening underneath the surface. And “blown to smithereens” designed to give you clarity you need to realize what to hold onto, what to let go of and what to expect from the future.
Overall the Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot Deck is a total joy for those that really appreciate the movie. The quality of the packaging, the cards and the art is really great and for $22 USD I think this is an excellent deal. It certainly would be a perfect holiday gift for both newbs and novices who are fans of the movie.
Minerva having written Tarot for Self-Care :How to Use Tarot to Manifest Your Best Self, teaming up with Abigail Larson who also worked on the Darkwood Tarot and many other projects including both DC and Dark Horse Comics were such a great pair for this tarot project. Personally I wish the minors weren’t mostly pip cards but I understand why they chose to do that. I think they paired characters and card meanings well without over saturating the deck with just a handful of characters. For those fans of the movie will you recognize and probably be reminded of a few of the characters you may have forgotten!
Do you have or have you worked with the Nightmare Before Christmas Tarot? If so what are your thoughts, opinions or experiences working with this deck? Comment down below and share with the rest of the Squirrel Nest so we can all learn and grow together 🙂
Thank you for taking time out of your day to hang out with me and listen to me ramble on. If you enjoyed this article make sure to like it, if you are feeling generous please share it with others. And if you haven’t done so already make sure to follow along for more tarot related fun! Much love and light Squirrel Friend!