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Review of the Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot

This article was written by Barbara Moore on December 14, 2012
posted under Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot


The stylish art of Anne Stokes brings this deck to life…or death, if you go by the number of undead and other fantastical creatures! This attractive, Marseilles-style deck gives traditional Tarot a gothic twist by associating the suits with dragons, angels, skeletons, and vampires. Faeries, unicorns, gargoyles, and sorceresses join in, giving your goth-loving soul plenty to delight in.


In-Depth Review

Whatever your favorite fantastical beings, you are sure to find them in this deck. A quick trip through the Major Arcana reveals dragons, dark faeries, light faeries, mermaids, gargoyles, unicorns, sorceresses, and vampires. And if you are familiar with Anne Stokes' art, you know that she paints them very well. If you are not familiar, but love all things gothic, you will soon become a fan. 

The Majors follow the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, but with an edge. Death is not softened "transformation." Instead, a powerful skeleton with a very large scythe dominates the image. The Hanged Man features Medusa, highlighting the notion that if you really want to see something, it's going to cost you. The Tower is a faerie caught in a huge web clutching a very large black spider to her chest. The High Priestess is particularly lovely, showing a dark faerie reaching into a pond toward a skull just beneath the surface that is illuminated by a single moonbeam.  

The Minors are not scenic pips. They are very nice, but if you prefer scenic pips, which are usual with Rider-Waite-Smith style decks, you may not care for this deck. Or you might opt to use it for the Majors only, which many readers do when they like a Marseilles style deck. Or perhaps it is a good opportunity to learn to read with such a deck! 

In the suit of Cups, each card has a large chalice in the center with the requisite number of bats flying around it. The court cards are all vampires. 

Each card in the suit of Pentacles has a large pentacle in the center and the requisite number of skulls to mark the number of the card. The court cards are all skeletons. 

In the Swords, each card has a sword accompanied by the requisite number of feathers. The court cards are all angels. 

For the cards in the suit of Wands, each one has a wand surrounded by the requisite number of dragon tokens. The court cards are all dragons. 


Deck Attributes

Name of deck: Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo

ISBN: 9780738733647

Creator's name: Anne Stokes

Brief biography of creator: Stokes is a popular fantasy artist who lives in Leeds in the beautiful county of Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom, with her husband Ralph, young son Leo and springer spaniel Obi. She been a full time artist for about 12 years. She has loved the world of fantasy ever since she was a child and her father read her The Hobbit. Also the artist of the Necronomicon Tarot, she writes, "It is wonderful to be able to work as an artist and share my visions of fantasy worlds and characters with other people."

Name of accompanying booklet: Anne Stokes Gothic Tarot

Number of pages of booklet: Booklet is 86 pages; 14 in English

Available in a boxed kit?: No

Reading Uses: General

Artistic Style: Dark fantasy, gothic

Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: 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?: No

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

Why was deck created?: To show how one can achieve deep healing by exploring pain.

A few years ago, my youngest son was arguing with his friend about the age of Honey, our wild golden retriever. His friend insisted that Honey was five, because the dog had been alive that many years. Said Gabe, "Sometimes Honey is really one, like when he chews our shoes; sometimes he's 89, like when he pretends he's too old to listen when you... read this article
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