Light and Shadow Tarot Deck – Introduction
First off, this tarot deck is huge. The size means that we get to gaze at all the fantastic detail, but the downside is that I can barely shuffle it, only by holding the cards end-on. Also, the card stock is not very thick, and the box isn’t great. So that’s the complaining over, and apart from that this deck is just wow.
The images are just mind-blowing. Each one repays close inspection, and the details and overall design of each card are just phenomenal. Michael Goepferd was a printmaker who understood the potential of his medium from end to end, an artist with a profound sense of the meaning and scope of making lino prints. (Having studied printmaking at college, and specifically linocut, I have some idea about the limitations of this medium.
Each one of these images functions perfectly as an image within its frame, like a Japanese Hanko – the red name seals that are used in place of signatures. The detail in the images is by turn fine and bold, with some images such as The Moon (see above) swirling in eddies of marks, and others, like the Three of Cups (not pictured) where the frame just about contains the three faces and three cups, stark and plain, graphic black and white blocks.
Let’s look at this image, for instance. The Princess’s shin blends with the backbone of the antelope, they are one, like shaman and spirit guide. The force of the magic of nature, the gift of the Pentacles, fills this picture; her dynamic, hunting stance and the way she bursts out from the long grass says so much about the vivaciousness of the Princess/Page cards.
The top left-hand corner has been left white, not as dead space but as an indication of the bright sky. She is truly an inspiration, a bursting-forth of energy and a getter of goals, not in a traditional Page of Pentacles way, where we see a studious, applied young man, but with a new and different approach, with the energy and flavor of all the cards in this deck.
The book that accompanies the deck gives an interpretation of each card from the Tarot writer Brian Williams, and as such it is suitable for beginners and experienced tarot readers.
The Visconti Sforza cards had little holes at the top where they might have been nailed to a wall. The Light and Shadow Tarot cards could similarly be framed and used as decoration. I know I’m tempted to buy another deck and put it in a giant frame to gaze at. Whatever you envisage doing with this deck, do yourself a favor and buy one today.