Pegasus - The Emperor - Fantastical Creatures
 

A tarot deck of mythical, spiritual & imaginary beings.

  REVIEWS  

     
 
December 2008:   Review by Arwen Lynch from tarotbyarwen.com
 
     
  Another creation from a solid tarot team is the Fantastical Creatures Tarot. From the obvious power of the Winged Lion standing as the Sun to the delicate fairy who sit by the Ace of Cups, these cards are mesmerizing.

Hunt’s artwork has long been a favorite of mine. She has a way of imbuing her art with intricate images that demand your attention. You may know her as the artist of the Celtic Dragons Tarot or the Animals Divine. She is well known in the Tarot world for good reason.

On the Fantastical Creatures Tarot website, Lisa (who holds a tabby who must have been the model for the Magician) says of painting this lovely watercolor deck:

“These beings are fixtures in our psyches, evoking a sense of wonder with the ability to serve as archetypal references for our own life journeys. The images flowed from my pencil and brush, responding to my own need to depict these magnificent, mysterious creatures that continue to captivate our senses and imaginations.”

Some of these images are readily available for identification like the charming King of Pentacles. I looked at him immediately naming him Oberon in my head. Once I picked up the LWB (Little White Book) that came with the deck, that was confirmed. Other creatures will require you turning to the LWB for names. Conway has done a decent job of introducing you to the various animals and others of this deck. The Morrigan reigns as the Empress while you may need to do deeper research into Ua Zit who stands as High Priestess.

Physically this deck is standard US Games fare which is to say it is a sturdy deck that you won’t have to worry about falling apart at first shuffly. Two cards are quick reference cards–one for the Major Arcana and one for the Minor. This makes this a great gift deck for someone who wants to learn more about the Tarot who also has a love for all things mystical and magical.

There’s humor abounding in this deck as well. Hunt’s rendition of the Five of Swords had me laughing outloud. I didn’t know the creature but its turtle-like back, slightly cantankerous look set in a swamp captured a contentious 5 of Swords for me. When I consulted the LWB, I was greeted by the Kappa who is a Japanese creature.

Or the Queen of Pentacles as Danu may be more to your tastes. Here she swirls up and out of the roots of the tree with her arms spread wide. The book tells you that her robes remind you of the labyrinths of life. Her message in part is that we need remember that financial security may come only after a struggle. Perhaps the meditation for the labyrinth would be minding the journey.

Some of the meanings are not what I would call traditional but none of them went too far astray of the area of meaning. One major difference is in the Major most decks name Devil. Here instead we have Fenris Wolf on the card named Chains. Since Chains are a major element of the Devil, it was a good choice in my book. As one of Loki’s children, Fenris has many lessons about why you might be chained.

The Hermit is another card that caught my eye with the old woman peering out from the trees. She seems slightly forbidding in her aspect of Old Lady Of The Elder. Another example of staying close to tradition but moving a bit beyond the old man and the lamp. Here the lamp seems to be the woman herself.

Of course if you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ve seen the image of the Page of Wands. Circe is a favorite character of mine so I love this image of her surrounded by the animals she so loves. The colors of this deck are soft without being bland.

While I would classify this as an art deck, it is also a deck to be studied and worked with. It will bring new nuances to your knowledge of the Tarot as well as expand your mythological horizons. I highly recommend this Fantastical Creatures Tarot.

To visit Arwen's site, click HERE.

 
   
     
 
July 2008:   Review by Richard Sloan from Amazon.com
 
     
  This is a wonderful, mystical deck. I almost did not buy it because other reviews warned "this is not a beginners deck" and that it did not line up with traditional decks. However the deck kept calling out to me so I purchased it off Amazon. I am a beginner and I find this deck teaches me and leads me to greater understandings.

I would have to agree that this is not a "beginners deck" because it is the most slippery, tricky, insightful deck I have come across. It has a very definite personality. Where other Tarot decks will give you accurate, pedantic readings. This deck, for me anyway, gives deeply incisive readings full of sassy and sometimes humorous insight.

If you want just the facts get another deck. If you enjoy a deck with personality and are not put off that it has a mind of it's own (very stubborn! - it keeps saying what it wants when it wants!) then this deck is wonderful. It will show you deeply (too deep for most people as it shows stuff you don't want to confront or admit even to yourself!). But beware - this deck is sassy!!!

The artwork is absolutely gorgeous. It does not try to follow tradition, but I find they speak wonderfully to my intuition. The only real break is with arcane 15 which is renamed "chains" but I personally like this change and find it consistent with the readings.

One final warning: those that want to keep their belief in the lie of the material universe walk away and do not purchase this deck. As Friedrich Nietzsche so eloquently says: "When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you."

 
   
     
 
June 2008:   Review by Nellie Levine of Illumination Tarot
 
 
Illumination Tarot
 
 
 
 
April 2008:  Review by Debra Madigan at Tarot Reflections
 
 
Tarot Reflections
(it can also be found at the Aeclectic Tarot)
 
     
     
 
September 19 , 2007:  Review by Solandia at Aeclectic Tarot
 
   
     
     

September 05 , 2007:  Review by Christiana Gaudet

 
Crhistiana Gaudet Tarot Reader
 
     
 

I can’t say that I am a true fan of fantasy art, but I am a true fan of fantasy artist Lisa Hunt.  With the publication of Fantastical Creatures Tarot she distinguishes herself as having designed and published four complete Tarot decks.  Three of her four decks, including the new Fantastical Creatures Tarot, are collaborations with Pagan author D.J. Conway.  My very favorite Lisa Hunt deck is her only solo Tarot project, Animals Divine Tarot.

Fantastical Creatures Tarot is a deck of mythical beings with a magickal purpose.  D.J. Conway has a wonderful theory of mythical beings, which she first presented to the Tarot community in the Celtic Dragon Tarot.  She suggests that beings of myth and legend truly exist on a different plane than our own, and that we can tap in to their power, and use it in our own magickal work.   I think that is something that most of us intuitively knew, or at least hoped, as children, but it took D.J. Conway to put it in to words.

I don’t always agree with D.J. Conway’s Tarot interpretations.  Perhaps I am too rooted in my own Tarot understanding to accept the new traditions that are being spearheaded by the dynamic duo of Hunt and Conway.

As with Hunt’s other decks, the backs of the Fantastical Creature Tarot cards are reversible, and sport a version of what is now a Hunt trademark, a circle design with a Celtic feel.  However, there are no interpretations for reversed cards included in the booklet. 

Unlike Lisa Hunt’s other decks, Fantastical Creatures Tarot is published by U.S. Games, Inc.  While I respect all the Tarot publishers, U.S. Games has a longstanding reputation, and it is nice to see Lisa Hunt appear in this catalog.

The deck is presented in U.S. Games’ new and attractive premium packaging.  In the package is a very nice lay-out sheet, also designed by Lisa Hunt, which offers two specifically created spreads for use with Fantastical Creatures Tarot. 

Another unique and welcome addition is that the two extra cards always included in every Tarot deck are printed, front and back, with a Quick Reference Guide to the Cards.  This is a simply brilliant use of space that is usually wasted, although I find myself shaking my head quizzically at the key phrases listed for some of the cards.  For instance, “Unpleasant Events” for Major Arcana 11, Justice, makes no sense to me.  Likewise, Major Arcana 17, the Star, is “Success against Opposition.” Who or what, exactly, opposes the light of the Star?  The LWB (Little White Book) offers no enlightenment here.

The LWB does, however, pack quite a punch in a small amount of space. My favorite part is that each card is given a mythical description of the image, a divinatory meaning, and magickal uses.  There is no doubt that Fantastical Creatures Tarot is meant to be a potent magickal tool.

The cards themselves are a standard size at 2.75" by 4.57," and completed with a glossy finish.  The cardstock is of good quality. The Major Arcana is traditionally ordered and named, except for the Hierophant, which is the High Priest, and the Devil, which is Chains.  These changes were also made in Hunt and Conway’s Celtic Dragon Tarot, so I suppose we could call this a new Tarot tradition.  The court cards are also traditionally named as Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings, and are particularly beautifully drawn.  While in some Tarot decks the court cards are sort of boring and non-descript, the court of Fantastical Creatures is alive with sentiment and symbolism.

The suits are also traditional, being Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles.  The elemental associations include Wands-Air and Sword-Fire, which does give me a bit of a problem.  The solution I developed with Celtic Dragon Tarot is to find the commonality between Air and Fire, which includes attributes like inspiration and Yang energy.

Another thing I like about Fantastical Creatures Tarot is that the icon of each Minor Arcana card is shown at the top of the card, above the border of vines.  This is a really nice touch, and will be very helpful to beginners.

The artwork of Fantastical Creatures Tarot is exactly what we have come to expect from Lisa Hunt, in other words, gorgeous!  Each card is illustrated with a mythical being.  These beings come from many world cultures, and it is nice to see them together in one package.  There are dragons, gnomes, unicorns, mermaids and creatures from Greek mythology.  There are lesser known (at least to me) creatures like my favorite, the Vegetable Lamb, who graces the Four of Swords. There are Gods and Goddesses from many cultures.  One of my favorite deities in the deck is the lovely Yemaya, who is the Six of Cups.  I was disappointed, however, that the booklet did not say why she was chosen to be the Six of Cups.  Maybe too, I have a wee bit of an issue with my patroness Yemaya being lumped in with faery-tale creatures.  I am sure, though, that this is meant to elevate the faery-tale creatures, rather than denigrate the deities.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about Fantastical Creatures Tarot is that, when viewed with its three predecessors, it gives us a full view of Lisa Hunt’s vision of Tarot.  By removing the beautiful Animals Divine from the mix, we can see as well the contribution that D.J. Conway has made to Tarot. Looking at these visions, and, dare I say it, new Tarot traditions, will give Tarot scholars a lot to talk about for years to come.  Indeed, the body of Tarot as a whole is forever changed by Lisa Hunt and D.J. Conway. 

All ruminations aside, Fantastical Creatures Tarot is an important addition to anyone’s Tarot collection, especially those who honor the Tarot as a tool of magick and meditation, as well as divination. It will be especially well loved by those who, as children, saw the faeries and the gnomes hiding in the garden.
 
     
 
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