Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
View your shopping cart Shopping Cart | My Account | Help | Become a Fan on Facebook Become a Fan | Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us | Watch Us on YouTube Watch Us | Subscribe to our RSS Feeds Subscribe
Browse ProductsAuthorsArticlesBlogsEncyclopediaNewslettersAffiliate ProgramContact UsBooksellers
Advanced Search
What's New
Most Popular
List of Articles

Email Exclusives
Sign up to receive special offers and promotions from Llewellyn.

Get the Latest Issue of New Worlds

November/December Gift Guide 2015 Issue

New Worlds Catalog

Get the FREE app for your tablet and mobile device. Now available in the iTunes Store and the Google Play Store

Also available as a PDF File.

Click for more information about New Worlds or to receive issues via mail.

The Llewellyn Encyclopedia
Print this Term Print this Article

Review of Tarot of the Celtic Fairies

This article was written by Barbara Moore on November 30, -0001
posted under Tarot of the Celtic Fairies

Summary: A beautifully illustrated deck that perfectly melds the traditional legends of the Celtic fairies with the symbolism of the Tarot. Although it is surprising to find such elegant matching, the Celtic imagery adds much to the traditional RWS symbolism and meaning, making this an ideal deck to learn the Tarot, learn about the Celts, and give readings. 

In-Depth Review

One of the wonderful things about Tarot is that once you know its structure, you can use it to learn so many different things. This is why I love collecting themed decks that explore various cultures, practices, mythologies, and even hobbies. Because I know tarot, it creates a framework for learning new things. Celtic Fairy lore, for example. I may not know who Gwyn ap Nudd is, but because I know something about the Devil card, which is the card featuring Gwyn ap Nudd, I automatically know something of the nature and role of this character in Celtic Fairy mythology. And this is precisely the purpose of this deck, to combines the folk wisdom of traditional Celtic fairy stories with the structure and symbolism of contemporary tarot.

Mark McElroy is a prolific and skilled deck designer (see his bio below), and this one is no different. No, it is different. In my opinion, this is my favorite of the decks he has worked on. To me, more than any of his others (except for, perhaps, the Lo Scarabeo Tarot, which is in a class by itself), beautifully blends in a very Temperance-like way the idea of Tarot structure and theme.

What I mean is that the theme is not diminished or “forced” into the Tarot structure and traditional Tarot meanings are not stretched to the point of meaninglessness in order to accommodate the theme. In this deck, the blending of both creates something more magical than the parts. 

The artist was a perfect choice. His rich, painterly style creates a deep and colorful world that feels both familiar and magical. It appears to us like our world viewed through special lenses that reveal the fairy realm that exists side by side with our world.

Unless you know Celtic Fairy lore very well, I would strongly suggest the kit. You’ll want the book to explain the images; the booklet with the deck does not provide enough information. Many make sense without knowing the story behind them, but some, like Temperance for example, take an explanation. Temperance shows a crazy, jolly leprechaun-like creature riding a bucking sheep while holding aloft two chalices and spilling liquid out of both. Upon reading the story, we learn that this is a cluricaun and that Mark has, in his words, “cheated a bit here, for in this deck the Temperance card has been inverted a bit: if you can’t self-moderate, this is what you’ll become: a plump little figure, sitting astride a frightened sheep, with no idea at all where you’re going.”

Or Strength, which shows a woman spinning. She is Whoopity Stoorie—the Celtic Rumplestiltskin. “Her frightening exterior conceals her secret strength: the ability to spin unlikely raw materials into exquisite goods.” There is more about this character that adds even more depth and interest to the card. You should definitely get the book and read about it yourself.

This deck enchanted me from the start and in usage, it did not disappoint. It read like a dream, even when I did not consult the book for the background stories. But I liked consulting the book; the stories add so much nuance to the meanings and besides, who doesn’t like a good story?

Deck Attributes

Name of deck: Tarot of the Celtic Fairies

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo


Kit: 9780738721859

Deck only: 9780738721811

Creator: Mark McElroy

Brief biography of creator: Mark has designed many Tarot decks and written many books on the subject, such as the Da Vinci Tarot, Mona Lisa Tarot, Lo Scarabeo Tarot, Bright Idea Deck, Putting the Tarot to Work, and Lucid Dreaming for Beginners

Artist:  Eldar Minibaev

Name of accompanying book/booklet: Tarot of the Celtic Fairies

Number of pages of book/booklet: 63 (14 in English); full book, 158 pp.

Author of book/booklet: Mark McElroy

Available in a boxed kit?: Yes. The kit includes the full-size book.

Reading Uses: General

Ethnic Focus: Celtic

Artistic Style: painterly illustration

Theme: Faires of the Celts

Tarot, Divination Deck, Other (if other, describe): Tarot

Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes

Does it have extra cards?: No

Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: no

Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits? If yes, what are they?: Yes

Wands = spears

Cups = cauldrons

Swords = swords

Pentacles = stones

Does it have alternate names for the Court Cards?: no

Why was deck created?: to create a deck that combines the folk wisdom of traditional Celtic fairy stories with the structure and symbolism of contemporary Tarot.

Sitting here in the dark, watching the moon shine over the autumn landscape (my favorite time of year) I find myself reflecting on the question that is most frequently asked of me: "How do I know if my house is haunted?" The question seems so simple, so endearing and direct, but it is as complex as the human mind or the spiritual realm and it... read this article
Chakras Around the World: Are There Really Seven Chakras?
How to Successfully Navigate a Mercury Retrograde
Psychic Vision: 3 Easy Ways
An Accessible Guide to the Thoth Tarot
How Strengthening My Spirituality Helped Me With My Cancer Diagnosis

Most recent posts:
How Many Chakras Do You Have?
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Cyndi Dale, author of a number of books, including The Complete Book of Chakra Healing and the new...

The Paranormal Epiphany
Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Sarah Soderlund, author of the new Haunted by the Abyss. I have the honor of talking, lecturing, and...

A Fresh View of Judgement
In my opinion, the Judgement card needs a rename as much as the Hierophant. It is such an important card and so many people seem to misunderstand it....

Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Datebook
By: Llewellyn
Price: $11.99 US,  $14.99 CAN
$9.59 US,  $11.99 CAN On Sale!
Love in the Stars Love in the Stars
Find Your Perfect Match With Astrology

By: Brad Kronen
Price: $21.99 US,  $25.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Astrological Calendar
83rd Edition of the World's Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar

By: Llewellyn
Price: $14.99 US,  $17.99 CAN
$11.99 US,  $14.39 CAN On Sale!
Wheels of Life Wheels of Life
A User's Guide to the Chakra System

By: Anodea Judith
Price: $21.95 US,  $25.50 CAN
Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar Llewellyn's 2016 Witches' Calendar
By: Llewellyn
Price: $13.99 US,  $16.99 CAN
$11.19 US,  $13.59 CAN On Sale!