Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tarot Deck Review: The Bohemian Gothic

This was my 1st impression of this deck, published in March of 2009.
Since then it's come to call when I need to see what's running under the surface of things. 

As of this posting, both the 1st and 2nd editions of this deck are now out of print!
The website says they hope to being a 3rd edition in 2013.  

So if you find a copy worth less than your kidney, you're in luck!

This is my most recent deck. I ordered it last summer and haven't had the chance to really get into it, but like my current favorites it'll probably grow on me after a while. Here's what I've gotten from it so far.

Compared to the Victorian Romantic (whose artwork put me off at first because they differ so much from card to card), the BG is borderless and the scenes expansive. They feel real and the lighting, coloring and styles are pretty consistent. You can feel night coming on in the bluish tinge of dusk on many of the cards.

That realness is from photographs- some with the handtinted look of antique portraits. Like the pair of little children on the 6 of Cups, holding flowers and standing in front of a grave. Who's? The framed picture on the grave's cross features the Virgin Mary and infant Jesus- probably their mother. A charming vignette.

It's easy to go deeper or psychological with these to see what currents run underneath the reading. But some can be inspiring or just fill you with lunatic giddiness- I thought of my business's name by drawing some cards.

My favorite cards will illustrate the macabre and oddly humorous feel of this deck:

The Queen of Wands } Striking- her bright rose colored gown pops out from the gloomy ballroom. The large room with the chandelier reminds me of the Crystal Room at college, where we had concerts and gatherings. She looks like she's having fun dancing alone. 

The 7 of Cups woman has an indulgent, mischievous grin on her face- holds a beautiful glass of red "wine" and strands of dark pearls and gazes up at the full moon.

The 4 of Wands. Three women hang out in their yard at night and look very happy to see you. Almost too happy. Hey, I like going for walks at night, too.

The 2 of Cups } Like a scene from the Munsters- a nice distant cousin is courting the "normal" one. What with his slicked back hair and shiny button up boots, he's a catch. 

And the Knight of Wands just reminds me of the hunchbacked cousin from Adams Family Values- the one Wednesday has to dance with. The old formal getup, creepy gaze and red bouffant must do it. 

Much of this deck is RWS based, but all offer other ways of going in completely different directions. Through the imagery and overall feel, you'll have many opportunities to see things you wouldn't in any other deck. Like a horrified skeletal man who may have just realized he's entombed in a catacomb. Oops.

I highly suggest getting the kit. You will not find shoddy history or a plain old celtic cross layout in this book. Written by Karen Mahony, it goes over tarot's origins and the basics of reading but adds so much more. There are upright and reversed meanings, detailed image explanations, snippets from literature, poetry, original photographs used, sample readings and an essay by Dan Pelletier (of tarotgarden) on "dark" decks. A huge collection of useful reading for this deck and to expand your knowledge of tarot.

Further Reading

See card images, tarot bags and stay up to date on new editions at the Bohemian Gothic's own site. 

Read reviews of the Bohemian Gothic tarot from tarot readers on Aeclectic Tarot Forum.

Browse the Bohemian Gothic tarot on Amazon

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