|King of Cups|
|Knave of Swords|
Anne Stokes' work is all over the place. And I mean ALL over the place. Hell, a bunch of the images from this deck adorn decorative tiles that can be bought at the vendor fair in one of my local restaurants, a place that is frequented by mostly senior citizens and the after-church crowd. That is not a dig, by the way. I eat there a lot. I'm just saying, Anne Stokes has managed to get her work out there into the smallest, most out-the-way corners of Middle-Of-Nowheresville. No surprise, then, that this deck is basically a re-hash of all her most popular images, not unlike the Royo Dark Tarot or Tarot Favole by Victoria Frances. Most of the images don't have much to do with the card meanings, but whatever, because really, how awesome are the images? Stokes' work is very polished and clean-looking...computer-enhanced, even....goth for the mainstream...but I have to admit, I still really like a lot of it.
There's pretty much only one thing about this deck that dumps it squarely into my "Decks I Collect For The Art But Would Never Actually Use" category, and that would be the Magician card. If this were the first time I'd seen this, I'd be like "Hmm...they got that wrong", but I've seen it many times, and I seriously don't get it. Public service message for tarot deck publishers:
The Magician is male. Always. Never female. Male. A guy. The Magician should always be a guy.
Whew. Feels good to get that out of my system. But seriously, the core meaning of the Magician card has to do with all things testosterone-addled and manly. That red-winged faerie up there is super cool looking, but the absolute opposite of what the card's supposed to represent.
So, anyway, yeah. Buy this deck for the art, but use a real deck for readings.