Deck Name: Tarot Mood
Creator: Natalie Meraki
Publisher & Year: Self-published, ©2019
Availability: tarot mood.com
Some people take tarot very seriously, and others make it a WHOLE THING. Tarot Mood is a WHOLE THING. The muted colors and geometric pattern on the back of the cards completely belies the vibrant and playful tone of this RWS variant.
The imagery is color-saturated and modified from the RWS canon so that they are much more modern. Unlike the RWS, a variety of skin tones are represented through the human figures in this deck. Visually the deck is a pastiche of re-drawn adaptations of Pamela Coleman Smith’s art combined with photographic collage and goofy overlays like delicious looking croissants and bugged-out googly eyes.
Also among the interesting variations included in Tarot Mood is the card titles + suit names! For instance: Cups are Cry Babies and Swords are Mind Bullets. Each card title can be read like a keyword prompt. The cards are super flexible and plastic coated aka DURABLE.
Additional words + phrases appear on most of the cards in the scenery to set the stage, or as text bubbles. The text bubbles can be read like a conversation, and are similar to an off-the-cuff series of text messages between close friends or family. They add a fascinating degree of verbal interactivity to tarot that is unique to this deck. Many readers will often imagine what the characters on the cards are saying to each other — or try and imitate the tone of their “conversation” at least. But Tarot Mood has actually gone and done it by giving them a hilarious and irreverent script to enact. And, the reader is both an audience member and a participant. Again, unique to this deck, the writing on the cards frequently breaks the “fourth wall” — we lose the space between the performer (Tarot Mood) and the audience (the card reader). This is done amusingly well through direct address and verbal asides to the reader.
Tarot Mood is frisky, conversational, and high-spirited. It is a deck for seasoned readers and newbies alike. The only requirement is a sense of humor for this hot take on tarot!
Tarot Mood comes in a plastic coated tuck box. The box itself is fairly toned down — and perhaps the only part of this deck that could be described in that manner. I personally like how the box does not even hint at the shenanigans that it contains. I usually recommend carrying decks in cloth bags — for various reasons — but the Tarot Mood box appears sturdy enough to weather the bottom of your purse or any manner of preferred carrying satchel. In other words, this bish is good to go and down-to-clown. Not to mention, the cards are plastic coated, and as the website claims, “I can spill my bong water on it.”
There is no accompanying booklet with this deck, but the style of the cards seems to more than make up for that. There is ACTUAL dialogue on most of the card fronts. And, these exchanges, exclamations, and thought or speech bubbles can be used for a variety of situations and interpretations.
In no uncertain terms, this deck is crass as hell. And, I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. It depends on YOUR MOOD, your relationship to tarot, and your sense of humor. If you don’t like potty mouths, freely expressed sexuality, and toilet humor, this probably is a deck to avoid. If you do enjoy a little levity and don’t take yourself or tarot too seriously, by all means give Tarot Mood a spin — because hilarity will ensue.
Stylistically, the deck is an interesting pastiche of the RWS cannon, the author’s collage overlays, and some re-coloring. This is a RWS variant in so far as the cards follow the 78 archetypes, BUT the creator has taken some liberalities with the depictions. Most of the iconography of the cards is visibly reminiscent of the RWS, but Tarot Mood includes clever additions and remixes. For example, some of the figures on the cards have googly eyes; others have different titles. And, almost all of them include conversational text. It’s like you’re being invited to participate in the thought processes of the characters on the cards.
The colors are vivid and bold — like the humor imbued in them. The linework seems a bit thicker and more prominent than Pamela Coleman Smith’s drawings in the RWS. It gives the deck more of a pop-art feeling. Heavier black outlines ironically make the mood of the deck more playful and lighter. It appears along the spectrum of illustration that echoes a coloring book form. AND, I really think the creator should think about turning the line drawings into a coloring book! I know quite a few people who would love that option for these materials.
Quoting directly from the Tarot Mood website, the creator writes:
I personally need this deck just to counteract all the new (c)age bullshit
boring my tarot shelfies. I need this deck because it’s plastic and I can
spill my bong water on it. I need this deck because cats came into my room
at night in the shape of a person in a trench coat. I’m terrified, guys. I had
to make the deck. I need this deck so I can giggle every time I read a “is he
into me?” reading, from here on out. I need this deck because I’m disgusting. I don’t know if any of those apply to you…(Meraki 2019).
I honestly don’t think this reviewer can top what the creator has said about their own impetus for creating this deck. I could speculate, but I’d rather leave it to the source of this shitshow (in a good way) to explain it themselves.
Here’s the deal: Tarot Mood is not for the faint of heart…it’s for the fiend in your heart. The wild one. The unfiltered version of you that few people see. The things you laugh at in secret — the texts you send your lover or your BFF; and sometimes they’re the same person. With this deck, Natalie Meraki laid all her cards out on the table. She was brave enough to say what many of us keep buried deep in our subconscious. And, though the deck might at first seem like it’s anything but vulnerable, I would argue that it is actually something that exposes the deepest parts of ourselves. What at first seems to be all surface and very little substance — something to keep it light and let it all hang out — has much more depth and staying power than a few passing shits and giggles. Proceed with caution if you think you might end up butt-hurt. Otherwise, dive right in and catch the mood of this thing.