The Wooden Tarot Review
The Wooden Tarot is a tarot deck inspired by nature and death with a touch of psychedelia mixed in. Created by illustrator Andrew Swartz, it’s named the Wooden Tarot because each of the original graphite, color pencil, and acrylic illustrations were created on wood board. The wood grain serves as a backdrop for the tarot deck’s imagery.
The Major Arcana uses a mostly Rider-Waite-Smith symbolism. Many of the cards hint at subtle aspects of the traditional 22 cards. For example, the Magician card is reimagined as a lunar moth. The moth has a set of eyes veiled behind its wings. Being a generally nocturnal animals, this imagery could allude to the aspects of the Magician card that represent hidden actions or sly behaviors. Some may seen this image as a symbol of the Magician’s transformative powers.
For the Minor Arcana, this deck uses a hybrid between an illustrated suit system and pips. Like in the Major Arcana, there are subtle clues to the meanings of the Minor Arcana as well. Complete tarot newbies may have difficulty some of the more pip-style cards. This deck relies heavily on intuition and animal symbolism in the card reading. I think there’s a lot of personal symbolism from the illustrator within the deck as well.
The Minor Arcana has been changed to Blooms (Cups: Water), Bones (Pentacles; earth), Stones (Wand; fire), and
Plumes (Swords: Air). There’s also an additional card, The Happy Squirrel -a cute nod to the Simpsons.
I would recommend having a look at the imagery of this deck and see if it resonates with you. There’s no official guidebook, so you’re on your own if you get stumped! Personally, I love this deck. I also have the Lenormand and Oracle deck from Swartz… the artwork is too good to pass up! The tarot deck can currently be found in the artist’s Etsy store.
The Wooden Tarot at a Glance
Reviewed Edition: Self-published, 2014
Creator: Andrew Swartz
Number of cards: 79 (standard 78 plus bonus Happy Squirrel)
Major Arcana: 22 + bonus card
Minor Arcana: 56
Cardstock: Standard playing card, 300 gsm. Glossy
Card Size: 2.75 x 4.75″
Box: custom tuck box
Tarot Traditions and Systems: loosely Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS)
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Major Arcana Names:
(0) The Fool, (1) The Magician, (2) The High Priestess, (3) The Empress, (4) The Emperor, (5) The Hierophant, (6) The Lovers, (7) The Chariot, (8) Strength, (9) The Hermit, (10) Wheel of Fortune, (11) Justice, (12) The Hanged Man, (13) Death, (14) Temperance, (15) The Devil, (16) The Tower, (17) The Star, (18) The Moon, (19) The Sun, (20) Judgment, (21) The World
Bonus cards: Happy Squirrel
Minor Arcana Type: Ppips
Minor Arcana Suites:
Blooms (Cups: Water)
Bones (Pentacles; earth)
Stones (Wand; fire)
Plumes (Swords: Air)
Some of My Favorite Cards