This Might Hurt Tarot

Deck Name: This Might Hurt Tarot
Creator(s): Isabella Rotman + Addison Duke
Publisher & Year: Self Published, 2019
Where to buy

There are only two decks this year that have me really excited and on the edge of my seat with anticipation. The top of that very short list was the This Might Hurt tarot by Isabella Rotman. Even just seeing the card images shared online was pure torture for me, I so badly just wanted to see this deck in person and use it… and shuffle it… and hold it… and my wish was granted with an early copy to review! Never has there been a deck that I was so excited to open that I had to calm myself down first before allowing myself that pleasure, I was bursting at the seams with joy!

Needless to say, I had extremely high expectations for this deck and when I finally got to hold the cards in my hands, in the flesh, they exceeded those expectations and blew them out of the water. There are no words that I can muster up to describe how much love I have for these cards, so I won’t even attempt it!

The cards are your standard size at roughly: 2.75” x 4.75”


There is not one single card in this deck that I don’t love or wish was illustrated differently, they all resonated with me equally. There are a few cards that I found myself in and have a strong connection with. The second I saw them, I shook my head in agreement.

9 OF WANDS // As a writer, blogger and reviewer, I saw myself in this image instantly when going through the deck. The feeling of being fully inspired and staring at a blank page or screen, but then to only have the words never come is one of the most frustrating feelings for me as a writer. That habit of hugging onto that delete button is growing with each attempted sentence. The feeling only grows bigger when you have a deadline to meet as well! This is when we need to simply get up and walk away for a bit. Grab some fresh air, maybe chug your coffee so you can refill it again (just me? ok) and a quick change of scenery is a must in order to break that stress and anxiety of not finding the words or phrases to match your inspiration. I both love and hate this card because it rings so damn true!

8 OF SWORDS // I’ve been self-sabotaging a lot lately and holding myself in place for really no reason at all when I think about it. When I look at this 8 of Swords, I’m reminded that I have a choice. My choice is to either sit here in my space of comfort, or free myself out of this cage and attempt something different. This card is a constant reminder that we all have a choice when it comes to feeling self-restricted. Getting out of this mental headspace is the trick though and is not so easy. It’s a notion to be more gentle to yourself and ease out of this position we place ourselves in.

5 OF WANDS // Oh, how I feel this card… nearly every day. I have two dogs, one is an almost 4 year old Golden Retriever and the other is a 6 month terrier mix. I love them to pieces! They are totally and completely opposite of one another, yet the one single thing they both share in common is the love to annoy the shit out of me when I need to concentrate the most. That’s always the thing, huh? When you need to focus the most.


I connected really quick to this deck and its imagery since I tend to favor a more cartoon-esque style of my own when I create illustrations, so the design is very comforting. The way the cards are so cleanly illustrated and how crisp the black lined borders are really hit the sweet spot for me. The mastermind behind the beautiful coloring of this deck was Addison Duke and he did an amazing job! I’m in awe of the gradients and colorwork, it’s beautifully done. The illustrations were all done by the deck creator, Isabella Rotman, and I truly adore her style. It’s smooth lined, realistic and yet still fun and lighthearted. The most important thing I feel about the card images is that they are so modern and fresh, yet still carry that Rider-Waite Smith feel! It’s instantly recognizable if you work with that system. I feel that you can truly relate to the illustrations and find yourself in this deck quite easily. I know I found myself and a few friends within the cards and it brought me pure delight!

This deck is inclusive and I love it! The cards feature body diversity, POC, queer, gender fluid and non-binary folx, as well as disabilites and more. The deeper I get with my tarot practice, the more I crave to see diversity within the cards – as it should be. To me, tarot is supposed to reflect life and the people in it, so I’m constantly asking myself why are so many decks leaving out this important feature? It’s truly a breath of fresh air to see decks like this one and many others coming out more and more focus on inclusivity.

The card backs are another thing I love about the design. They feature a reversible black and white illustration with the person from the World card, which is where I found my own body when going through the cards.


Can I just say amazing cardstock? No, you want to hear more? Ok! The cardstock is a 350 gsm matte finish that feels like velvet in your hands, it’s one of my favorite cardstocks for a deck. When you shuffle, you can hear it and it feels so damn good! I could shuffle this deck all day! They rifle really well and have been holding up beautifully, I’m fairly rough with my cards and there isn’t even a ding on them yet. Sometimes I just like to sit and shuffle these cards while watching tv or when I’m on the phone with the Indie Deck Review editor, they’re just so addicting to pick up and handle!


I rarely dive into the guidebooks that come with most decks since many aren’t all that exciting or they end up falling into that category that I like to call “cookie cutter books” – meaning, they all just sort of sound the same after awhile with nothing fresh added. This guidebook, however, is much different and I’ve actually been pulling it out quite often when looking for some new insight to add!

The book is 180-pages and is written very well, it makes me wish Isabella would write a full tarot book (hint, hint). It breaks down the deck a bit and what tarot is, mentions a few spread ideas and then dives into each card with a full page spread dedicated to the original linework illustration on the left and card interpretation on the right. You can tell she did her research and knows these cards well, it shows in how she talks about each one on a personal level. I think this makes this deck very beginner friendly, or for any seasoned reader at that.

I adore boxes with a magnetic closure, and that is exactly what this deck came with! Oh, happy day! This box is solid and sturdy and beautiful with gold gilding all over it. I have no need or desire to store my deck in a bag or other box, this works perfectly and holds the guidebook as well – always a plus!


I’m pretty sure I don’t need to add anything else since it’s quite obvious I have a deep love and appreciation for This Might Hurt tarot, but I will say that if you’ve been on the fence about ordering a copy, just do it! I promise you that you won’t regret it, it’s truly a unique and fun deck. I have fully enjoyed working with it and can’t see myself putting it down anytime soon. At the time this review was written, the deck will be shipping out in October/November 2019!