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The Llewellyn Tarot

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on September 23, 2010 | Comments (4)

Carl Llewellyn Weschcke wrote a lovely foreword to The Llewellyn Tarot Companion. Allow me to quote a bit here:

The tarot is the universe hidden in a secret book of cards. The universe is both “out there” and “in here.” As above, so below. The Llewellyn Tarot deck is the result of five years of intense study and creation by this artist, already knowledgeable and well-known for her creation of Legend: The Arthurian Tarot and for her illustrations to the Caseell edition of Le Morte D’Arthur edited by John Matthews.

Anna-Marie Ferguson created the Llewellyn Tarot to exemplify the very raison d’etre of Llewellyn as “bringer of light.” Llewellyn is named for Llew Llaw Gyffes—“the bright one of the skillful hand”—hero of the Mabinogion. He is a solar deity, and his festival is celebrated August 1. He is the essence of the zodiacal Leo, as was Llewellyn George, who founded Llewellyn Publications in 1901 and was called “Llew” by his friends.

The Llewellyn Tarot is a richly beautiful deck, not surprisingly, as it is a visual representation of some of the richest mythology that exists.

What I particularly like about the deck is that the Majors have a slightly grander feel than the Minors. They are more archetypal, if you will. They are more powerful, as I always think the Majors should be. The style of the Minors match the Majors but they are less painterly, less flamboyant. To me, this works very well in theory and in practice. Here are a few examples. What do you think? Are there other decks that employ this same technique?

Reader Comments

Written By Chloe
on September 23rd, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

I love this deck, and the accompanying book with all that Welsh mythology. It really adds a lot of depth to reading the Majors, as well as being interesting in itself. I also adore that it’s a very feminine deck – many of the Minors show female figures where the RWS shows males. I think you’re right, Barbara, that the art itself also gives a more archetypal feel to the Majors, as well as the fact that they are linked to mythical stories. It isn’t a question of being more detailed, just seeming less everyday. A nice reminder, haven’t pulled this one out in a while 🙂

Written By Hilary
on September 29th, 2010 @ 9:17 am

This is my main deck! I love it because of the Welsh mythology (because I’m part Welsh), and because of the art. My favorite cards in the deck are not only my favorites because of the art, but because of the legends used depicting the archetype of that card. I especially love The Lovers, The Empress, The Fool, The Universe, the Three of Cups, and the Ten of Pentacles in this deck. Thank you so much for drawing attention to this wonderful deck!

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