Laughing Eye Weeping Eye Tarot
Deck Creator: Rebecca Schoenecker
Rebecca Schoenecker’s Laughing Eye Weeping Eye (Leye Weye) tarot is a bright, fun RWS and Marseille inspired tarot deck. It’s got clean, fairly simple, minimalist imagery that pulls from both tarot’s renaissance past and modern present. I tend to struggle with a lot of minimalist decks – for me, half the point of tarot is to present the reader with a plethora of symbolism and imagery to pull from as needed, and many minimalist decks pare things down so far that I can only pull out a few things from a card. Leye Weye, however, has prompted childhood story after childhood story from my brain every time I pull some cards. It’s utterly delightful.
The delight doesn’t stop at the cards – Leye Weye comes in a simple kraft cardboard box with rainbow stickers affixed inside and out. The back is a slightly muted version of the rainbows, lined up in triangles. It immediately presents itself in a cheerful manner, and I know that I’ll constantly find myself smiling at the cards even when I’m not in a great mood. It comes with a small, folded up one sheet LWB with basic keywords and explanations of the suits. In addition, the cardstock is on the thinner, flippier side. My riffle shuffle loving heart loves it, though I’ve sent cards flying across my desk at least three separate times thanks to the smooth finish.
One of my favorite features of the deck is how gender neutral it feels overall – humans are not the prominent figures in the cards, and if they do play a role, it tends to be via hands, feet, eyes, and other disembodied parts. The Courts are the most gendered cards in the deck, with the traditional Page, Knight, Queen, King titles and gendered symbolism like red lips and pointed crowns for the Queens and rounded crowns for the Kings. It’s the system. It works. Even then, however, the Courts are unique in their structure: no people or faces, just the symbols of the position. They’re made up of crowns, hats, helmets, and elemental symbols. Gender isn’t removed from the cards; rather, it feels transmuted a bit. It’s fascinating and creative.
This feeling of simplified and transmuted symbolism is carried throughout the deck, particularly in the minors. None of the cards are explicitly pip style cards, but the Marseille influence on the RWS base is strong. This would be an interesting deck to learn on – not the easiest, but challenging in a fun way. The cards swing from clearly RWS based images to pip-like structures to entirely new, modern symbols.
The 9 of Pentacles has rollerblades skating down a road; it reminds me of the days I spent skating all over my trailer park as a kid, scraping my knees and getting back up again to make my way home. The 8 of Cups feels like worries and fears being washed away, while the 2 of Pentacles is a classic game of Jacks played on my friend’s floor. The 6 of Swords is beautifully classic, with a boat moving down a river to hopefully better times.
In the minors, I really enjoy how Schoenecker effectively uses the simplified symbols to create weight and conflict in several of the cards. The 10 of Swords as a pile of swords crushing into a pair of tired, tearful eyes is clear and evocative, as is the pointed 2 of Swords poking between a paired of eyes closed in thought. The 7 of Wands brings up passion and anger I usually don’t feel in this card with it’s glaring eyes and broken sticks. The 4 of Cups feels desolate, one cup lonely and separated from the others. This card illustrates the numb, isolated feeling of depression in a way I rarely see in tarot.
Many of the Majors are clear homages to the RWS deck, though simplified and focused on one to two key symbols. The Devil shows us chains strewn across the card, and The Hanged Man shows a bat in the traditional upside down position. Other Majors take on new imagery, often animal based – the World is a bee gathering pollen from a bright, rainbow colored flower, while The Hermit is a solo crab scurrying somewhere alone.
When laying out an interview spread, it’s clear that Leye Weye is a smart, creative deck. It pokes at you, helps you analyze things and break them down like a good tarot deck should. It may not tell you the answers, but it will give space to develop intuition and self-trust as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort to work with it. Tarot, for me, works best when a reader can merge the unique images of the deck with their own unique experiences and stories – Leye Weye is no different in that respect. Despite my initial struggles with its more minimalist structure, once I connected the 2 of Pentacles to my memories of playing Jacks, I found my angle into the deck and was able bridge other childhood stories and narratives to the cards. It reads well; there’s room to play with delight and awe while building the story of the reading. How fun!
If you’d like a copy of Leye Weye to work with, you can find it at Rebecca Schoenecker’s website. She also sells other decks she’s created and provides additional tarot learning resources.