Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

Deck Review: The Psychic Tarot Oracle

Psychic tarot

Deck Author: John Holland
Deck Illustrator: John Mattson
ISBN #: 978-1401918668
Number of Cards: 65 Major Arcana: 22 Minor Arcana: 56
Card Size: 5.5 x 4 x 1.9 inches
Publisher: Published by Hay House, Inc. 2009
Deck Tradition: Non-traditional – Oracle

Suits: Physical, Emotions, Mental, Spirit
Court Cards: None
Major Titles: 0 – New Beginnings, 1 – Awareness, 2 – Intuition, 3 – Fertility, 4- Authority, 5- Wisdom, 6 – Harmony, 7 – Triumph, 8 – Power, 9 – Solitude, 10 – Destiny, 11 – Balance, 12 – Sacrifice, 13 – Transformation, 14 – Patience, 15 – Temptation, 16 – Disruption, 17 – Hope, 18 – Shadow, 19 – Light, 20 – Truth, 21 – Universe
New Beginnings (traditional Fool card) is 0, Balance (traditional Justice card) is 11, Power (traditional Strength card) is 8
Card Back: Reversible
Companion Material: 170-page companion book in English
Languages: English

The first thing that I will say about The Psychic Tarot is that the cards are stunning! The cards are glossy, the edges gilded and the artwork is vibrant and vivid. The evocative style of the art reminds me a bit of Doreen Virtue’s angel cards. The deck is created by John Holland, a well-known psychic medium. I had the honor of meeting him recently and will add that he is friendly and down to earth as well. He is the author of several books published by Hay House, including Born Knowing, Psychic Navigator, Power of the Soul: Inside Wisdom for an Outside World, 101 Ways to Jump Start your Intuition, and his latest book The Spirit Whisperer: Chronicles of a Medium. He states that his goal in creating The Psychic Tarot was to create a deck that would act as a channel for psychic information – a deck that would stimulate the psychic ability innate in all of us.

The 21 cards of the Major Arcana match the archetypal themes and order of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck although the imagery is quite different. For example, the Power card (Strength in the RWS tradition) is a shamanic/shapeshifter type of representation, where one half of the person’s face is a bearded man, the other half a lion. This beautifully illustrates the power and strength we all have residing inside of us.

Power card from Psychic Tarot

The Shadow card (the Moon is the RWS tradition) depicts a man gazing at a shadow image of himself, reminding us that sometimes we have to look at, accept and then and work with the shadow side of ourselves.

Shadow card from the Psychic Tarot

All of the cards of the Major Arcana have been renamed as follows:

0 New Beginnings
1 Awareness
2 Intuition
3 Fertility
4 Authority
5 Wisdom
6 Harmony
7 Triumph
8 Power
9 Solitude
10 Destiny
11 Balance
12 Sacrifice
13 Transformation
14 Patience
15 Temptation
16 Disruption
17 Hope
18 Shadow
19 Light
20 Truth
21 Universe

Even though the imagery and the card names are different from RWS, someone familiar with the RWS Tarot would have little trouble recognizing the archetypes.

The deck really differs from a traditional Tarot deck when we get to the Minor Arcana. The four suits have been renamed as follows:

Physical (surrounded by a red border) – equivalent to Pentacles in the traditional RWS deck
Emotions (surrounded by a green border) – equivalent to Cups in the traditional RWS deck
Mental (surrounded by an indigo border) – equivalent to Swords in the traditional RWS deck
Spirit (surrounded by an violet border) – equivalent to Wands in the traditional RWS deck

The border surrounding the suits seems to correspond to the chakra it represents. For example, the heart chakra (where our emotional concerns reside) is depicted by a green color, the root chakra (where a lot of our physical concerns reside) a red color, the Third Eye Chakra (where our thoughts, ideas and communication reside) an indigo color and the Crown Chakra (where our spiritual force, passions and inspiration reside) a violet color.

Each of the pip card includes the number at the top of the card with a title/card meaning on the bottom of the card. Typically, I do not like decks that include keywords or card meanings as it tends to limit the interpretation. In this deck, the keywords are helpful as the imagery of the pips is quite different from the RWS tradition, even though the themes are somewhat recognizable. For instance, the Seven of Cups has been replaced by the “Choose Wisely” card, depicting 5 hand signals facing in different directions, and two birds flying upwards, advising you to look carefully at all of the different choices before you before making a final decision.

Choose Wisely card from Psychic Tarot image

The Nine of Swords in the traditional Tarot becomes “Suffering in Silence” and depicts a figure on a cliff, watching the sunset. Rather than the standard meanings of anxiety, worry and torment, we have the idea here working through our issues and finally letting go of negative beliefs and ideas.

Suffering in Silence image psychic tarot

In addition to color interpretation, Holland uses numerology to help us discern the meaning of the cards. As such, the pips are only numbered 1 through 9 – there are no cards numbered 10. Also, he did not include any court cards in the deck. While this may seem a relief to some readers, others may find that the lack of courts limiting.

Included in the deck are 7 additional Chakra cards. Holland states in the companion book that when one of these cards is drawn, it is a reminder to be aware of that particular energy center and the quality it represents, and apply that information accordingly to the reading of the cards or spread. For the Throat Chakra card (the chakra of communication, creativity and the ability of clairaudience) for example, he tells us to balance in stimulate this energy, try humming, chanting or singing and to speak our mind.

Throat Chakra card image psychic tarot

In the companion book, he states that the deck is not meant to have reverse card interpretation (although the backs of the cards are reversible) as the purpose of the Psychic Tarot Oracle is to create positive experiences, not to reflect or heighten negative meanings. This does not mean that this is a “fluffy bunny” deck – the cards that represent the challenges we have to face are included with similar themes to the traditional Tarot. For instance, the Trapped in Fear card (the 8 of Swords in the RWS tradition) depicts a person alone in a jail cell, head in hands in what appears to be an anguished state of mind – representing the fears that can immobilize and imprison us.

Trapped in Fear image psychic tarot

The deck comes with a small 170 page companion book chock full of goodies. In addition to explaining the suits and how to use the deck, Holland gives a brief overview of psychic development, and an explanation of the different psychic abilities one can develop (Clairsentience, Clairaudience, and Clairvoyance). He also includes a section on color interpretation, numerological meanings and the interpretation of symbols and images of the cards. In the spreads section of the book, he provides an illustration of the standard Past, Present, Future spread, a general five card spread and a yearly forecast spread (one card for each month).

It is important to keep in mind that although the deck is called The Psychic Tarot, it is, in effect, not a Tarot deck but an Oracle deck. While the imagery can be applied to a traditional Tarot deck, the lack of court cards, the lack of the “ten” cards and the addition of the Chakra cards does not allow one to call it an actual Tarot deck.

I find this deck visually stunning, evocative and a joy to work with. Often, I use this deck for additional insights to a reading and it has provided me with some interesting revelations. I would recommend this beautiful deck to anyone looking for an Oracle deck to stimulate their intuition or to an experienced reader who would like to add another perspective to their readings. I would not recommend this deck however, for those looking to deepen their knowledge of Tarot as it is not a true Tarot deck. I find that the lack of the courts and the tens limit the usefulness of this deck as a main reading deck – but as an Oracle deck, it rocks!

To see more of this deck, click HERE

Read the American Tarot Association’s interview with John Holland HERE

Additional images of the Psychic Tarot are below:

All images of The Psychic Tarot©2009 Hay House, Inc.

3 comments… add one

  • I purchased this deck of tarot cards The Psychic tarot oracle deck which comes with a study booklet. The booklet is missing pages twenty two through thirty two. And the place I purchased it from has a no return policy. So how am I going to understand the meaning of those cards without those ten pages telling me the meaning?

    • Hi Jeffrey,

      That’s unfortunate! Maybe try searching on eBay for the guidebook. You might also try contacting the publisher directly – they are often willing to replace damaged materials, even if you didn’t buy from them directly. You could also try contacting John Holland directly from his website.

      Best of luck to you!

    • I have the booklet personally and email you a word document of those pages if you would like.


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