Author: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law & Barbara Moore
Artist: Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
The minute that I opened the package, I was stunned! The box that the “Shadowscapes Tarot” deck and companion book come in is awesome! Okay – it is a regular box – opens at the top – but the color and imagery are … absolutely amazing! The imagery very much reminds me of the work of one of my favorite artists – Lisa Hunt. There is depth and flow here, along with a very “otherworldly” feeling. The colors used go from pale to deep lavender, with the name of the deck in deep lavender, using a gorgeous script font.
The imagery is that of the Queen of Swords, a female figure holding her hands out in front of her, butterfly’s fluttering around her head, her pale lavender gown flowing, with deep purple flowers at her feet. I could meditate on the cover alone forever, it is that striking!
A bit of background is called for on the artist. Stephanie is a professional artist whose fantasy illustrations regularly appear in magazines such as “Realms of Fantasy”, “Cricket”, and “Cicada”. With a degree in computer science, she spent three years as a software programmer. She left this world after three years and began painting the worlds of dreams and the fae full time.
Her artwork is inspired by mythology, legend and folklore. Influenced by the art of the Impressionists, Pre-Raphaelites, Surrealists and Mother Nature herself. Through her artwork, Law takes us into the world of fantasy, where we can allow ourselves to access that sense of wonder that opens us up to the sacred in life.
Stephanie is also the author and illustrator of “Dreamscapes: Creating Magical Angel, Faery & Mermaid Worlds with Watercolor” and “Dreamscapes: Myth & Magic”. Her work can be seen at http://www.shadowscapes.com.
This project was put together in an interesting manner. Stephanie did the artwork, as well as commentary on the cards, and divinatory meanings. Barbara provided the commentary on Tarot itself, how it is used, and created/presented the spreads in the companion book.
This is a full 78 card deck, following traditional style and titles. Strength is VIII and Justice XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles, with the Court Cards entitled King, Queen, Knight and Page.
The 253 page companion book has a blue/lavender cover, Picturing the Page of Pentacles. A female figure sits atop a pile of rocks, her right hand on the rocks, her left hand holding up a globe. In front of the pile of rocks is the symbol for the suit of Pentacles. An owl sitting on a tree limb appears in the lower let hand side of the picture.
The Introduction, by Barbara Moore, covers getting to know your deck, developing meanings for the cards, understanding numbers as the work within the suits, the elemental and life area associations for the suits, developing questions, understanding positions within a spread, using reversals, and the process of performing a reading, She also discusses ritual in connection with the Tarot, cleansing the cards, and keeping a Tarot journal.
At the end of the book, Barbara presents the following spreads: the One Card spread, the Three Card spread, the traditional Celtic Cross spread, a five card “Is Love In The Stars?” spread, a seven card “Will It Last?” spread, a four card “Balancing Act” spread, the seven card “A Journey” spread, a four card “Message From The Universe” spread, and a six card “Dream Come True” spread.
The cards are each presented with a full page black and white image. On the facing page (for the Major Arcana) is the card number and title, surrounded by delicate floating leaves. This is followed by Stephanie’s written commentary on the card, and the meanings that she has developed for the card as it appears in a reading.
The Minor Arcana (Pips and Court Cards) are presented with a full page black and white scan of the card, followed by commentary on the card and card meanings. It should be noted that as Stephanie does not read with reversals, she has not included reversed meanings. From the book:
She is Winged Victory, the goddess Nike, or Maeve. She comes sweeping from the skies, confident and sure of herself. She as summoned the unicorns of the sea out from the foamy depths. They serve her willingly, bowing as is ever in their nature to such purity of intent. The ocean swells themselves are tamed beneath the enchanted wheels of her chariot. The glittering waves crash and roar with the strength of the sea, but as she guides her unicorns across the glistening track, the waves fall still before her and into a quiescent and shining mirror path.
This stillness in what is eternal motion stirs awareness in the denizens of the deep. From underneath, the spirits of the ocean whisper to the sea god, and in a swirl of aquatic color, they dance to the surface to greet one whose willpower and mastery is os undeniable as to be capable of overcoming even the wild, natural fury of the seas.
Meaning: Triumph over obstacles, achieving victory, focusing intent and will, establishing an identity, self-confidence, maintaining discipline, assuming the reins of power and authority, and driving with the unwavering certainty in a cause. Control must be exercised in a constantly changing environment that can and will present challenges – in the landscape of a world that is constantly shifting with people and emotions and circumstances all around. Like the tenuous border where sea meets sky, a constant tension of push and pull of air against liquid is maintained, and to ride to victory, one must be able to achieve the confidence and knowledge to walk upon that fragile surface.The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 5/8”, of good quality card stock. The backs are done in a lavender and gray/white, with imagery in the center, and are reversible. The card faces have a thin silver border. The Major Arcana show the card number, in Roman numerals, and the card title at the bottom of the card. The Pips show the card number and suit at the bottom of the card, while the Court Cards show the card title and suit at the bottom of the card.
The Pages are all standing, with the Pages of Wands and Swords facing left, and the Page of Cups facing right, and he Page of Pentacles looking straight out from the card. The Knights are all riding mythical creatures, with the Knights of Wands and Cups facing left, the Knights of Swords and Pentacles facing right. The Queens are standing, with the Queens of Wands, Cups and Swords facing right, the Queen of Pentacles looking straight out from the card. The Kings are all standing, with the Kings of Wands, Cups and Swords facing left, and the King of Pentacles looking straight out from he card.
Done in watercolor, the colors are all pastels, predominately lavender, yellow, blue, and a muted orange/red. The style is fantasy (again – much like artist Lisa Hunt’s work. There is a continual feeling of flowing throughout the cards.
One of my favorite cards is the Fool. A female figure stands atop a pinnacle, rising up at the edge of the world, her arms outspread. A fox sits at her feet, unable to comprehend the leap of faith (and literal leap) that the Fool is about to take.
Many of the cards show animal imagery – fox appears in the Fool, owl appears in the High Priestess, birds in the Lovers, Strength, the Hermit, Judgment, and the World, horses and sea creatures in the Chariot, lion in Strength, butterflies in Justice, dragon and phoenix in Temperance, fish in the Star, and many more, including foxes, lions, cats, unicorns and more.
This is a gentle, magical deck. It is not a deck to learn with, but with an understanding of the card meanings this deck is very easy to read with, and could be offered as a reading choice to clients of all ages and backgrounds. It is well worth is to visit Stephanie’s site (www.shadowscapes.com), as, aside from scans of the cards she offers four resin figurines based on figures from the deck (The Fool, The Empress, the Emperor, and the World), Limited Edition Lithographs, Limited Edition Glicees, original paintings, drawings, sketches and more.
© April 2010 Bonnie Cehovet