Deck Name: Wizard’s Tarot
Creator(s): Dakota Gates “Wizard of Barge”
Publisher & Year: Self Published, 2019
Where to buy: www.wizardofbarge.etsy.com
As a die hard fan of gnarly creatures, vivid colors and cartoons, I couldn’t pass up the chance to grab a copy of the Wizard’s Tarot by Dakota Gates aka “Wizard of Barge”! This deck was funded through amazing souls over on Kickstarter and I was sad that I had to back out of my pledge. Then, one day out of the blue, I caught Dakota’s post on Instagram stating that this deck was now in stock! *gasp?!*… and I ordered it without even taking a breath.
I’ll be honest, this deck and I got off to a rocky start when it arrived. I oozed over every card but in the back of my mind I wondered if this deck would even work for me as a readable deck or would it just be a collectors item that sits forever on my shelf. Several of the cards had me scratching my head and without a guidebook, I was a bit puzzled with how to interpret some of the cards. While several had a striking resemblance to the RWS that we’re all so familiar with as readers, many of the other cards came across as confusing and I just couldn’t pinpoint what system this deck was inspired by. Nevertheless, I decided to run with it and get this deck shuffling to see how it read… I was instantly changed and thrilled!
This deck ended up reading like a dream for me! While most of this deck feels like an entirely new system, I found that mixing a heavy dose of intuition guided solely by the imagery and a dash of some general RWS keywords (since that is the system I work closely with) is what works for me and I love it!
The cards measure standard size at roughly: 2.75” x 4.75”
Can I just say, every card… no? Ok… it’s hard to pick out just a few cards to feature and talk about, but there are a few gems in this deck that truly grabbed my attention and they aren’t my usual go-to cards in most decks, which I found really neat!
2 OF CURSES (CUPS) // Usually this card is depicted as a partnership, relationship, or a very close friendship between two people. Well, in the Wizard’s Tarot, you have two ghosts lurking over a bed while a green goblin sleeps. At first thought, I didn’t think there could be any connection to the 2 of Cups in this card until I put myself in that bedroom. Oh yes, I went there! If you can’t get the ghosts to leave, why not just become friends?! They would certainly look over you while you were in your most vulnerable state. One could also totally ignore the snoozing goblin and just focus on the ghosts, they are connected to each other even after death. Now that is a strong bond that stands the test of time!
3 OF CURSES (CUPS) // This card is very familiar to me in the sense of the 3 of Cups. It reminds me of a small coven of goblin witches, yes please! In any group with friends, there always seems to be someone in the party that takes the lead or control and I see that in the center figure with the gnarly face. While they do look a bit on the revengeful side, they seem to have a connection to one another that is thicker than blood.
10 OF CULTS (COINS) // The 10 of Cults (Coins) is another card that threw me for a loop… at first. Usually this is seen as a family of sorts in most RWS decks but in the Wizard’s Tarot, we have a pink goblin taking off their mask to reveal who they truly are. After sitting with this card one morning, it made me think of how we really love having our own identity but yet still be part of the crowd and the world around us. We seek to belong but we seek to be seen and be our own persons.
CARD STOCK + SHUFFLING
I’m pretty pleased with the cardstock! It’s not as bendy as I normally prefer but I still love it and I can tell it will handle some tough love. I’m fairly hard on my decks when it comes to shuffling so cardstock is pretty important to me, though I do tend to lean towards the thinner card stock despite it.
Being a standard card size, it’s easy to hold in your hand. The deck, when stacked, is a smidge taller than my other tarot decks but I don’t notice it at all when handling the cards.
This is where this deck shines, shines, shines! The imagery is amazing! I’m an odd duck who finds delight in grotesque monsters and creatures, comic book illustrations, lots of pink and who demands Halloween is an everyday holiday, not just once a year. This deck contains everything I love in art, that should tell you a lot about who I am as an artist and human. If this deck were a cartoon series, I would be glued to my TV every Saturday morning with cereal in hand and wearing my “Wizard of Barge” pajamas!
the illustration work contained in these cards are juicy and give me life! I get delighted just thinking about talking about the artwork, that’s how much I love it. The cards are filled with creatures of all sizes and colors, uncomfortable mood settings, ghosts, the occult and of course.. wizards.The color theme of the cards are bright and vivid, I spy a lot of pink, greens and hues of purple. The deck contains a little snapshot story held within the borders of each card that really has your mind going in all directions. It invites your imagination to take a spin and see where it lands, there is no wrong way I feel to go about reading with this deck. Whether you read the cards based on tarot memorization or do what I do, use an alchemical blend of intuition and keywords, you will get some wild answers with this deck. I assure you that!
GUIDEBOOK + PACKAGING
Here is the kicker! The Wizard’s Tarot does not come with a guidebook or little white book and I’m quite happy it doesn’t, hear me out. While yes, I would kill to know what the artist was thinking when he created each card, I really love the creative freedom I have in interpreting these cards. You could easily do this with any deck, but when you get so familiar with using certain tarot systems (like RWS or Thoth, for example) it makes it hard to break away from that framework that our minds like to return to.
When decks don’t come with a guidebook, like this one, it invites you naturally to create your own! Since I work with RWS as my main tarot system, it’s only fitting for me to peel back the layers in this deck and find the connection to RWS cards. I could go on and on about how you could read this deck without a guidebook! I say, just read the cards as they are don’t overthink it.
Do I really need to tell you again how much I love this deck? Yes? Ok then, I abso-fucking-lutely treasure the crap out of this deck and it’s quickly becoming a daily go-to for me. I like the challenge it brings to the table when interpreting the imagery and it really brings out my personality as a reader, like it helps me find my voice quite easily. If any of what I wrote above excites you, then it’s clear… you need this deck in your life and you need it now!
Instagram – http://instagram.com/wizardofbarge