“This deck has been created and set with the intention of providing healing energy, clarity, guidance, and truth. Each card provides insight into the Naked Heart; where ego is extinguished and purity of light flows within you.” – Title card of the Naked Heart Tarot
I’ve never mindfully and methodically reviewed a tarot deck. This is my first time.
I tell you this not (only) so that you will lower your expectations, but so we can both walk through this experience together.
You don’t know anything about the deck I’m about to review, and I don’t know anything about how to tell you in a way that you’ll enjoy reading. So, thanks for taking a chance on me.
“This 79-card animal-based deck by @jilliancwilde has a minimalistic feel while still containing a multitude of details that influence and enrich a reading. There’s an incredible thoughtfulness to this deck, which is simultaneously honest and gentle…the word ‘clarity’ comes to mind.” – Brian Dooley (IDR Instagram)
I’m a sucker for a two-piece box, and the Naked Heart Tarot has a great one.
It’s deep. Deep enough to hold the deck AND the nearly-300-page book that comes along with it.
The front of the box features a mini collage of symbols from multiple cards lain over a backdrop of the back of the deck.
My only small complaint with the box is that the ribbon (used to lift the contents of the box up out of the box) started to rip the backing paper. This isn’t uncommon, in my experience, and doesn’t do anything to dampen the excitement of the deck overall.
[UPDATE] Did you know that the ribbon isn’t even supposed to be for that? Well, now you know. The ribbon is just meant to lift the book, not the whole stack of stuff.
Maybe you’re thinking, “why did he just tell me all that about a box?”
And I don’t have a really good reason for you other than 1: it seems like a legitimate place to start, and 2: it’s a really quality box. It opens and closes snugly, but without a big vacuum or pillow of air. It’s got divots cut into the sides so that you can easily grab it. It’s got the suit symbols and their elemental associations printed inside it.
Even if it’s not the most exciting thing we see along the way, it’s still worth talking about, right? And what’s that mean for what’s to come? Surely the box isn’t the only highlight! The writer must be building to something, right?
Let’s find out.
The cards we’re looking at today are standard tarot-size cards with a good thickness for riffle shuffling. They have a close-to-matte finish, which I appreciate for photography reasons. I think they’re coated with some sort of plastic, though, which makes them mechanically less slippery and just a smidge stiffer than I personally like. They could do with some use at a festival or something…where someone would just be shuffling them all day and they could get broken in.
Perhaps I’ll revisit my first review later on, in my dotage, and I’ll be able to either confirm or deny whether this happened (Sign up for our updates so in 20+ years you can be one of the first to find out the solution to that mystery!).
Anyway, moving on to what (I kind of assume) you really care about here…
The back of the cards features a really cool sacred geometry mandala…not to spoil the “book” section of the review, but in the book, Wilde offers guidance on using the symbols on the back of the deck as a miniature crystal grid. I’ve grown to quite like the look of sacred geometry, and the backs of these cards are a great contrast to the fronts.
There’s no place for unnecessary details on these cards, but that’s not to say that they’re minimalist. The fronts of the cards are all a combination of intricate black ink drawings interposed with vibrant, detailed paintings of wildlife, plants, and more, all on a field of white.
A few of my faves
There are lots of images to love on these cards, from adorable baby animals to human bones. The Three of Swords cuts right to the chase. Three long swords crossed inside of a heart made of a human ribcage. The colors and the stark symbols on this card make it one of my favorites in the deck. It feels like a dry description of what your heartbreak and loss will be. No BS here. Just the facts.
I also chose the Sun and the Universe as two of my faves, featuring a scarab beetle pushing the sun across the sky and and a bumble bee taking sips of nectar from a mandala, respectively. Wilde scales up the insects large enough to share the stage with tigers and blue whales, and their alien biology feels efficient and industrious on both cards, adding an element of self-manifestation mixed with all of the fulfillment that comes with these two.
Should I do more? I could probably write something that I love about at least half of these cards. But you’re probably wanting to move forward. Okay, let’s move forward.
The book that comes with the Naked Heart Tarot is such a treat. Of course it has the divinatory meanings of each card, but it goes on to describe the images on each one, providing symbolic keys, astrological connections, gemstone affinities, and meditations on each of the 79 cards.
I often find myself not really having a use for the books that come with my cards, but this one has a lot of utility!
The book is also full of practical tarot advice: how to approach the major and minor arcana, elemental associations in the tarot, and even a guide to the court cards!
But how’s all this pan out when the rubber meets the road? What good is a book if the cards don’t speak to you, right?
Wait, is that right?
Here’s a bit more disclosure. I maybe could’ve told you before now, but it didn’t come up…I’m a woo woo heathen. I don’t believe in magic (per se). So if cards “talk to me,” odds are I don’t hear them.
I always want to believe in magic, though. I’m always receptive to the idea that there’s something mystical and fantastical behind each card, each reading, each deck. Is there magic in this deck? Today, I took to the streets to find out. Come along!
How Do They Read?
I met my friend Mich for some coffee and to give her a reading. We decided to do a three-card general reading, since that seems the least invasive when I post the whole thing on the internet. I’ve read for Mich a few times before, and she’s convinced that she always gets the Death card. I told her that if we got Death as the first card here, then magic exists. It’s a little goof that I do sometimes when I’m reading.
“Life, Death, Rebirth, Accepting The Inevitable” – Naked Heart Tarot Guidebook
The phases of the moon and the butterfly (I thought it was a moth, but I looked it up) tell a story of change. The skeletal hand extending from the healthy white rose points to the dichotomy of life and death, showing that one follows the other follows the other follows the other.
One of the children in Mich’s household is moving into her teenage years, with everything that comes along with that. She’s leaving behind her little-girl-hood, and entering the realm of young-woman-dom. It’s a big change for everyone in the home, but especially for Mich.
“Wildness Tamed And Inner Strength Freed” – Naked Heart Tarot Guidebook
Our second major arcana card shows us a winged lion, which is fierce, majestic, and, well, strong. Our King of the Jungle and the Sky also has an infinity symbol over his head, signifying “inner confidence and strength that increases without limit.”
Over the next few months, Mich will find herself tapping into reserves of inner fortitude and compassion that will help her be able to stay connected to her daughter throughout the struggles and unsurety of a surely tumultuous time.
Youth of Cups:
“Curious Soul” – Naked Heart Tarot Guidebook
The Youth of cups corresponds to the Knight of cups, and is signified by a young blue whale leaping from the water. The blue whale is massive, but not as big as it will be. Under the water is the unconscious mind and the well of emotions. The youth is coming from the depths with knowledge of compassion and empathy, blasting into the air to connect those with the world at large.
Ultimately, Mich will be able to use her new-found strength to reach out to her daughter, finding more and more ways to connect as they both grow and evolve. This card seems to reinforce the message of the strength card, and to move it forward in a way that creates growth opportunities for everyone involved.
So…How was it?
“I felt called to create a deck that would easily speak the story and meaning behind the cards, to both new and experienced readers. All the elements are funneled into the art, allowing space for intuition to be the guide.” – Naked Heart Tarot Guidebook
I think that readers of all skill levels would be able to use the Naked Heart Tarot. It’s not immediately intuitive sometimes, but the wealth of information contained in the book does a great job of describing the different symbols and meanings on the cards, creating a deck that adheres pretty well to traditional (Traditional RWS, anyway) card meanings.
The Naked Heart Tarot is a well-conceived and well-executed deck, offering the reader and the querent a lot to look at and consider. It’s rich with symbols and lore, and the book alone is probably going to be some baby readers’ first “how-to” primers…which will set them up for great success moving forward. The artwork is vibrant and alive. The deck is honest with a touch of whimsy. A really cool deck, overall.
You can snag your own copy of the Naked Heart Tarot from Jillian C. Wilde’s website, and be sure to check her out on Instagram as well.
You still here?
How did I do? Is magic real yet? Did I make the deck come to life in your mind? Convince you that you need to have a copy? Warn you against having teenagers? Anyway, thanks for visiting. See you soon!