I took the above photo all willy-nilly and slapped it on instagram, and had I known I would end up using it on the blog, I probably would have made the circle of cards more even. But, you know…fuck it.
Anyway, behold the Antique Anatomy Tarot by Black and the Moon! It’s only temporarily the Major arcana, and the rest of the deck is scheduled to be released early 2016.
This is one of those indie, self-published decks that will plummet its artist to stardom, and I will be honored to be able to say I got to nag at her to hurry up with the minor arcana.
These tarot cards were inspired by a love of oddities and antique anatomy books. Just look at this shit.
These cards are beautifully minimalistic: they’re not full of a bunch of shit. This deck is to the point, and that’s how I want it.
So: cardstock. Let’s talk about it. These have a nice matte finish. They’re not sticky, they’re not slippery, and they’re a nice, regular size for tarot cards. I’m not going to fucking measure them. However, there is one thing I must say about the cardstock: it warps. I have two other self-published decks that are on this exact same cardstock, and they have done the very same thing. (I never “bridge shuffle” my decks, so I do not warp them.) The good news is it’s an easy fix. I slammed a couple of big, thick, heavy books on top of them overnight. Done.
Now we can talk about the fun shit. Here are the card backs:
The backs of the cards look like the worn leather of an old, creepy anatomy book. They’re completely reversible (if you have time for that bullshit).
The details are fucking magnificent. Each card has astrological symbols that coincide with each card. For some reason, one of my favorite things is the little “item. the hierophant, fig. V”
Just like in those old anatomy books.
I know this is a common question, so I’ll just say it: YES, this deck is very readable. It’s all too often that someone comes up with a really badass, specialized idea for a deck, but the end result is just…a bunch of similar pictures with a constant theme, but they don’t really MEAN anything. This deck is not like that. I super-duper love the artist’s use of animal skeletons as well as humans. And combinations of animals and humans.
I guess I would call this a “dark deck.” Some of the imagery is a bit…chilling.
I’m writing this from about a month away from Samhain, but I’m going to be using this bitch all year round. There’s no shitty coloring book drawings or neon colors screaming from this deck. The color scheme is subdued, mostly black and an aged parchment color. I mean, this shit is classy. It’s fucking sophisticated.
Personally, I feel like I never had to “get to know” this deck. It showed up and it felt like an old friend. If this deck were a person, it would be the old woman in the tiny house just outside of town. She lives alone, but she’s never lonely. Her hair is wispy and gray, and her eyes are a pale grayish blue. Her rocking chair creaks on the front porch as she slowly knits with knobby hands and scratchy wool. The tea kettle is already on by the time you get there; she knew you would be visiting, because you always do. The window ledge above her kitchen sink is crammed with little glass bottles and jars that almost seem sinister until you see her pull dried elder flower out of one, wild sage out of another. She listens while you talk, and her only response is a pointed facial expression now and then. When you leave, you’re not really even sure if the place existed or not.
I love every fucking thing about this deck. I’ve named it Ethel.
WHERE YOU CAN GET THIS DECK: