Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot deck review

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

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