Deck: The Numinous Tarot
Publisher: self-published, Numinous Spirit Press
Writer & Artist: Cedar McCloud
Overall Rating: 10/10
Cardstock: It’s pretty thick without being too stiff, and has lovely gilded edges. So far it’s holding up very well to moderate usage for the past year or so. It feels pretty good to riffle shuffle, and the cards don’t stick much but they are pretty glossy.
Artwork: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deck with artwork this representative. Age, race, ability, gender, size – the artwork is truly diverse. Some of the cards don’t have people on them at all, and those are all gorgeous as well. The attention to detail here, and the patterns on everything from the floors to the clothing, are very impressive. It’s a riot of color!
Book: This deck comes with a full paperback guidebook, not a LWB, with each card in black and white. The Major Arcana have about two pages each, and the Minors just one, but there’s a lot of material here, from descriptions of the scene itself, to keywords and thought-prompting discussions of both upright and reversed meanings. The language is pretty gender-neutral throughout, and the meanings are immersed in themes of social justice and healthy boundaries. The writing style is very accessible.
Likes: I love the diversity of the artwork and how queer it is, from depictions of gender-non-conforming folks, to the subversion of traditionally gendered tarot cards. Instead of Page, Knight, Queen, King, we have Dreamers, Explorers, Creators, and Mystics. The High Priestess becomes The Diviner, The Empress is The Nurturer, The Emperor is The Founder, The Hierophant is The Visionary. They are all still numbered for easy recall. Also, The Devil has been aptly renamed The Shadow, Judgement is now The Awakening, and McCloud added a 23rd Major, called The Numinous (whence the deck title). Suits have been renamed as well, but follow the traditional elements: Candles for Fire, Bells for Air, Vials for Water, and Tomes for Earth. The deck is at once tarot radically reimagined, and also familiar to students of the Rider-Waite-Smith system.
Dislikes: I think my only complaint is that some of the artwork is a little inconsistent, with some cards feeling more polished and some more sketchy, but there might be an intentional pattern to that seeming inconsistency.
If you want a radically accepting queer-friendly deck that has truly diverse representation, you need this deck. I’ve been bringing it to pagan events just to show people! And for an indie deck, it’s really not very expensive. The artwork is very evocative, and is perfect for either a collector or an intuitive reader. It may take a little longer for students of the RWS system to get used to than the sort of decks that simply copying RWS imagery with cats or the like, but it isn’t an entirely new system and I found the transition fairly easy.
This is also my deck of the month for my Patreon for June, in honor of Pride Month!