Today’s deck review is Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot, art by Anne Stokes, text by John Woodward. The deck I own is published by Fournier, instructions on the little white book (LWB) included in the box are in English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese.
The Gothic Tarot is a dark bordered deck. Each of the cards has a frame that looks like carved stonework, which adds to the esthetic. I have used this deck very seldom for actual readings, as it is one of those decks where existing art has been meshed with the system of tarot. I purchased it in a gift shop near a castle in Wales, UK, as a holiday memento.
Neither the box nor the LWB (little white book) explain the decision process behind the artwork. The Cups appear to be vampires, with the pip cards showing a liquid-filled chalice and the corresponding number of bats flying around. The court cards are vampires. The Swords appear to be angelic, with the pip cards showing a sword and the corresponding number of floating white feathers. The court cards are angels. The Pentacles appear to be death/skeletons/necromancy, as the pip cards show a pentagram with the corresponding number of skulls; and the court cards are skeletons or grim reapers. The Wands are dragons. The pip cards are a wand with the corresponding number of dragon motifs. The court cards feature dragons, with the exception of the Queen of Swords who for some reason is a fairy? with a small dragon on her shoulder.
The Major Arcana is more diverse, with representations of dragons, unicorns, butterflies, fairies, gargoyles, mermaids, a medusa, an elf, and so on.
The artwork is lovely. The colors are generally dark, blacks, grays, cloudy night sky with moon, candles. If you are looking for a deck that fits the gothic esthetic, this one will work well. The guidebook… well, you get just a couple of sentences for each card. You will probably want the guidebook to go along with your own intuitive reading of each card, as images such as a white feminine angel with a key representing the Knight of Swords may be a little obscure. (The guidebook says this card means “My strength is your strength and I shall always be by your side. Together we shall fly into battle and fight the injustice that would dare to raise itself against us!”)
This is a deck that you will want a journal to go along with it, so you can expand on the meanings of each card, if you want to actually use it for readings. I do recommend it, with the caveat that if you are a beginner with cards and are wanting to use it for readings, this is not a good deck to use.
Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot