The Tell-Me Tarot

I have always loved tarot cards. There’s something just so delightfully arcane and occulty about them. I have loads of decks that I love to thumb through but never use. I own “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tarot and Fortune-Telling” by Arlene Tognetti and Lisa Lenard and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Tarot Spreads” by Arlene Tognetti and Carolyn Flynn, and I still don’t read tarot. Why? I can never remember the basic fundamental meanings of the cards. Now I know there is this whole school of intuitive tarot reading where you define the cards yourself based on what they seem to mean to you, and I get that, I really do. However my respect for the old school will not allow me to do that without first knowing exactly what Arthur Edward Waite said they meant first…by memory. What is a slave to tradition like me supposed to do? Turn to the “Tell-Me Tarot” created by Arik Eyal and illustrated by Nir Cassuto.

The “Tell-Me Tarot” is a traditional 78-card tarot deck that features whimsical art that plays off the traditional “Universal Waite Tarot Deck” artwork. The big difference between the “Tell-Me Tarot” and other decks is the inclusion on each card of a brief meaning for the card. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? It’s so clever!

For instance, a favorite card of mine, Death is explained in Waite’s “The Pictorial Key to the Tarot” as “The veil or mask of life is perpetuated in change, transformation and passage from lower to higher, and this is more fitly represented in the rectified Tarot by one of the apocalyptic visions than by the crude notion of the reaping skeleton. Behind it lies the whole ascent in the spirit. The mysterious horseman moves slowly, bearing a banner emblazoned with the Mystic Rose, which signifies life. Between two pillars on the verge of the horizon there shines the sun of immortality. The horseman carries no visible weapon, but king and child and maiden fall before him, while a prelate with clasped hands awaits his end.

There should be no need to point out that the suggestion of death which I have made in connection with the previous card is, of course, to be understood mystically, but this is not the case in the present instance. The natural transit of man to the next stage of his being either is or may be one form of his progress, but the exotic and almost unknown entrance, while still in this life, into the state of mystical death is a change in the form of consciousness and the passage into a state to which ordinary death is neither the path nor gate. The existing of occult explanations of the 13th card are, on the whole, better than usual, rebirth, creation, destination, renewal, and the rest.”

Obviously the previous definition is describing the art and symbolism of the Waite deck, but still, pretty long and involved. What happens when you draw Death in the “Tell-Me Tarot”? You get the delightful variant art by Nir Cassuto and at the bottom of the card it says “DEATH=TERMINATION & RENEWAL Let go of past patterns, people, or activities in order to allow renewal and personal growth.” How simple is that?

Thanks to the on card definitions, there is no need for the little booklet that comes with most tarot decks. Instead, there are four cards that briefly explain a few spreads and different ways to use the cards.

The “Tell-Me Tarot” is the perfect starter deck for anyone interested in tarot.