The Numinous Tarot is a 79-card deck with original artwork and imagery by Noel Arthur Heimpel. It is colorfully majestic addition to the vast offerings in the tarot community however, this deck stands apart from the others because of its unique perspective. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE, is included in this deck. All genders, races, ages, cultures, spirituality, body types, and abilities are represented in the artwork. Noel made a very conscious choice to use they/them pronouns when referencing the people in the guidebook. In addition, cards that are traditionally attributed to a gender such as queen, kings, empress, and emperor have been changed to non-binary titles.
The deck has gold gilding on a satin finished paper. The cardstock is a nice quality that sits between not too thick and not too thin and it bends well without creasing. Overall the cardstock and gilding stand up well to riffle shuffling. The backs of the cards are an ombre wash of pastel blue and pastel pink with a reversible set of symbols that can be seen throughout the deck. The Numinous Tarot comes with a 126-page guidebook that offers more traditional RWS meanings for each card. This deck does come with an extra card, The Numinous, meant to represent the mysterious wonder of life and the feeling you get when staring into the cosmos on a clear night.
Once when asked to describe the artwork of The Numinous Tarot I said it felt like The Sasuraibito Tarot and The Next World Tarot had a baby. It is bright, colorful, expressive, and eclectic. Some images are youthful and nostalgic, some are dark and moody, still others give of a futuristic energy, but all are grounded and relay their messages clearly. While the major arcana has an overall neutral color palette that maintains a balance throughout the color wheel, I feel like each set of minors have their own unique color story. The suite of Candles, traditionally known as wands, include bright pops of red and yellow. The suite of Vials, or cups, feature blues and teals. The suite of bells, or swords, use blacks and yellows and darker blues. The suite of Tomes, also known as Pentacles, are awash with many shades of green. The cards are borderless except for multicolored borders along the bottom edge that feature the title of each card.
I think the Numinous Tarot is a valuable deck because of its queer-friendly content, and while I understand why this is important I can’t personally appreciate it as much as some of my queer friends. Where I find value in this deck is in how bodies are portrayed. I struggle with accepting my body, its size, and its shape each day. Although I am quite old enough and experienced enough to know better, I am still bombarded with media images of women with unattainable beauty that make me question my own beauty and self-worth. While the plus-size fashion and beauty industries are growing…they still must fight against societal “norms” that suggest fat is unhealthy, fat is lazy, and fat is unhappy. The Numinous Tarot is careful to depict ALL body types including plus size. The most important part that is not lost upon me is the fact that the plus-sized people in this deck are happy, joyful, and living. They are not portrayed disproportionately as unhappy, angry, or depressed. I appreciate it deeply and therefore The Numinous Tarot has won a place in my heart.
As I mentioned previously this deck is full of beautiful artwork however one card stood out to me immediately and that card is the Dreamer of Vials. The Dreamer of Vials depicts a youngish person with purple hair sitting in nature somewhere. In front of the dreamer a majestic, glowing orb of light floating just out of reach. While all this imagery is meaningful the detail that drew my attention initially was the scars on the arms and legs of this dreamer. Those scars are very familiar to me. Those scars come from a place of deep hurt, fear, anger, and hopelessness but these scars are displayed for the world to see, proudly. The dreamer wears their scars as a testimony to how far they’ve come, and a reminder to never be ashamed of your past. It is a part of you, it is a part of your journey.
In the guidebook Noel writes that the origins of this deck come from a place of trauma, and personal crisis. I think it is beautiful how something that began as a tool for catharsis became a tool that brings comfort and healing to so many. I genuinely enjoy working with this deck. It is one I reach for time and time again. I think this deck is a great deck for a beginner because the guidebook is clearly written and the cards lend themselves to intuitive interpretation. There are only a couple cards with abstract nudity so it is a great deck to use with children. The Numinous Tarot will stand the test of time because it is a utilitarian object that can mark a point in history when societal “norms” began to be challenged radically. The Numinous Tarot reflects this change with a gentle yet clear voice.