Ghosts & Spirits Tarot

June 15th, 2012 § 2 comments

I just got a copy of the new Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt. Released by US Games, it features ghosts and spirits from around the world gathered from ancient myths, folklore, and literature.

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Some of the ghosts and spirits found in the deck are sweet, but some are more than a little scary. Hunt’s artwork though, makes them all beautiful.

If you’re a fan of Hunt’s other decks like the Fairytale Tarot, the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, the Celtic Dragon, the Shapeshifter, and the Animals Divine Tarot, you’ll really like the artwork in the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot.

Finely detailed, soft and flowing, Hunt’s ethereal creatures magically float through each card and show us that the spirit world and our own share the same space.

The cards themselves are sturdy, and standard in size. The borders are unobtrusive and the titles for each card follow a mostly traditional RWS system.

The only two that have changed are the Hierophant who has become the High Priest, and the Devil who is simply called ‘Chains.’ There’s also an unnamed ‘bonus’ card.

But though the titles are familiar, as are many of the divinatory meanings listed in the accompanying booklet, this is not an RWS clone deck. The ghosts and spirits found within these 79 cards are telling a Tarot story, but they’re doing it in their own way.

#5 The High Priest from Lisa Hunts' Ghost & Spirits Tarot

Each card portrays a different spirit or ghost, visual representations of our unconscious fears and desires. And as Hunt says in the booklet, ‘all are part of an anthropological landscape and a relevant aspect of our humanity.’

The booklet describes a little about each of the characters in the cards and they’re certainly not cartoon Caspers. Some of these ghosts are scary!

Death and transformation are big themes in many of the cards, but the ideas aren’t meant simply to terrify. They’re meant to help us to uncover our shadows, and the areas in our lives where we resist transition to our own detriment.

To test-run the deck, I tried out the Realm of the Spirits Five-Card Spread at the back of the booklet. The reading turned out to be very insightful, and despite all the ghosts, quite uplifting.

I also asked the deck a question I ask most new decks I get – what do you like talking about most?

The card I got was the Nine of Pentacles representing the Hawaiian Menehune, tiny magical fey who live in forests and caves. It’s a delightful card, very pretty – a cavern of living crystals with little people all around.

9 of Pentacles from the Ghost & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt

Hunt describes the Menehune as nocturnal beings, with expertise in swimming, high-diving, and playing pranks on humans. But apparently they also have kind hearts and can be helpful when they feel like it.

The cave the Menehune are pictured in is rich in natural resources and in the spirits of both the past and the present. The enormous stalagmites all around represent the three levels of psyche merging into wholeness.

So according to this card, the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot isn’t as scary as some of the ghosts in it might suggest. It just wants to dive deep into the unconscious and bring some of the stuff that’s hidden down there up into the open.

Sometimes it’s frightening, and sometimes it’s unbelievably beautiful.

As a metaphor for working with the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, this 9 of Pentacles is perfect. In fact, it’s a wonderful description of working with Tarot in general.

I especially like that it warns us to beware of the occasional prank. All my favourite decks have a mischievousness to them, and one full of spirits and ghosts can hardly be expected to play it straight.

I really like the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot and look forward to getting to know it some more. I wouldn’t recommend it to people seriously disturbed by the concept of death or the darker side of our psyches.

But for those who enjoy a swim in the unconscious, and who like a good ghost story, this is a deck definitely worth checking out.

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Ghosts & Spirits Tarot © U.S. Games Systems
Card images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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