Created by a young Tarot reader from the French Quarter in New Orleans, the Ludy Lescot Tarot enters the darkness and pain of the world in order to better understand and know the light. With unique twists on traditional Tarot imagery, this deck remains very readable while encouraging self-reflection and new points of view.
Ludy is a young reader from the French Quarter of New Orleans, who, as so many do, felt led to create her own Tarot cards. And like many young people who’ve lived hard lives and seem older than their years, the images came out of her pain. She wished, though, not to wallow in darkness, but to know and understand the darkness as a way to better know and understand the light.
She was not happy with her own art, since she is not an artist. She happened, one day, on the work of Patrizio Evangelisti (illustrator of the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn). She sent her sketches and descriptions to Lo Scarabeo, who accepted her proposal and even gave the project to Patrizio.
Ludy is not interested in predictive readings. Instead she values the opportunities for creating our own lives when we face the unknown and succeed in taking steps forward.
She says she created this deck to help people see into the darkness.
To be frank, I’m not always sure what to make of these goth, emo decks. Some, like the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight, I love. Some, like the Dark Angels, I want to love more than I do. I try to look for a structure or theme (beyond, “lo, life is so very drear”). I can rarely find it, for systems and rationale are not the priority of these designers. And if you’ve read my other reviews, you know that I believe a good review accepts a deck for what it intends to do not demand that it do what I think it should. And so I look at the cards with an eye inclined to find grace and dark beauty. And I find it.
But before I go on, a final note on structure…it is safe to say that anyone familiar with the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition can use this deck. Some of the images stray further than others. You might have to work a little for some of the perspectives, but they are there. Don’t expect to be spoon-fed, though.
The images, as you might image, are filled with beautiful, tortured women, much despair, and some vampirism. The little booklet is written with sensitivity and depth (if a little melodrama). The text and images do work well together.
The Strength card shows a young, naked woman with red hair crawling through some roses on her hands and knees. She is snarling and has blood dripping from her mouth. Her hand, with long, pointy, red fingernails, rests on one of several skulls half-buried in the dirt. In the background is a placid lion. The text says: “I do not fear the beast. Remove the clothes and I am the beast. I am the most beautiful and incredible thing you will ever see.”
Justice is particularly poignant and, I imagine, really resonates with younger folks who have followed their idealism into the real world as far as they can before admitting those dear ideals simply do not hold up. It shows ancient Greek columns leaning…no straight, perfect Classic lines any longer. The scene is murky and misty. The figure of Justice leans sadly against a column, her scales held like a useless appendage at her side, as she gazes absently into the fog. She stands in floodwaters. The text reads: “The world is unjust. Do you know how to be just? Then the rest of the world can even be mud.”
I am not completely sure what that means but it is an interesting direction. We think of Justice as this straight, true, classic, enduring truth. We count on justice in all levels of our lives. It is the one thing we always have faith in…if not in civic justice, then we always have karmic justice. But really, we don’t know. And besides, the closer we look at anything, the more we realize things are far too complex for any sort of universal justice that applies to all things in all circumstances. This card shows that side of Justice.
The 6 of Swords is a particularly clever and, for this deck, upbeat card. We see a man from the back, standing on a dock, waving at a ship as it passes by. He carries six swords in a pack on his back, like arrows in a quiver. In front of his feet is a length of rope wound to look like an infinity symbol. The text says: “The voyage begins in the mind and ends in the body. The first step already takes you far.”
This is intriguing because it focuses on the suit of swords and its relation to thought. And the idea that the first mental step is the most important is highlighted by the rope infinity sign. As I mentioned, a particularly optimistic card for our dear Ludy.
Name of deck: Ludy Lescot Tarot
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
Creator’s name: Ludy Lescott
Brief biography of creator: A professional Tarot reader in New Orleans.
Artist’s name: Patrizio Evangelisti
Brief biography of artist: illustrator of the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn.
Name of accompanying booklet: Ludy Lescot Tarot
Number of pages of booklet: 63 pages; 14 in English
Author of booklet: Ludy Lescott
Available in a boxed kit?: No
Magical Uses: None
Reading Uses: General
Artistic Style: Gothic
Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes
Does it have extra cards?: No
Why was deck created?: to show how one can achieve deep healing by exploring pain