Deck Author: Corrine Kenner
Deck Illustrator: John J. Blumen
ISBN #: 978-0738712857
Number of Cards: 78 Major Arcana: 22 Minor Arcana: 56
Card Size: About 2.75” by 4.5”
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications, 2011
Deck Tradition: Rider-Waite-Smith
Minor Arcana Style: Illustrated Pips
Deck Theme: School of Magic for Wizards & Witches
Suits: Cups, Swords, Wands, Coins
Court Cards: Page, Knight, Queen & King
Major Titles: 0 – The Initiate, 1 – The Magician, 2 – The High Priestess, 3 – The Empress, 4- The Emperor, 5- The Hierophant, 6 – The Lovers, 7 – The Chariot, 8 – Strength, 9 – The Hermit, 10 – The Wheel of Fortune, 11 – Justice, 12 – The Hanged Man, 13 – Transfiguration, 14 – The Alchemist, 15 – The Dark Lord, 16 – The Tower, 17 – The Star, 18 – The Moon, 19 – The Sun, 20 – Judgment, 21 – The World
Card Back: Non-reversible – Gold line drawings on a flecked blue background
Companion Material: 242-page companion book in English
The Majors are not numbered so the Strength and Justice can be easily placed according to your own tradition
“Welcome to Mandrake Academy — where you are the student and tarot is the teacher. Sit down, unwrap the cards, and you’ll discover a whole new world of magic and mystery.” – Introductory paragraph from the companion book to the Wizards Tarot
I have been looking forward to this deck every since Corrine Kenner, the deck’s author, mentioned its upcoming release on Facebook. The day that it was available I placed my order – and the deck did not disappoint.
The Wizards Tarot is a magic-themed deck which takes place at the mythical Mandrake Academy – a school of magic for young witches and wizards, very much in the spirit of Harry Potter. The Major Arcana depicts the 21 professors of the school, each ready to teach you a different magical lesson. The Minor Arcana depicts the student magicians of the school in their day-to-day activities. Each student is depicted in his or her assigned school of magic: School of Wands, School of Cups, School of Swords and School of Pentacles.
The deck is shipped in a standard Llewellyn box. The Wizard’s Tarot features the World card on the front of the box which is bordered by gold line drawings on a speckled blue background. The cards themselves are smooth and thin but not flimsy, and their average size makes them easy to shuffle. The digital artwork of the cards is crisp, detailed and beautiful with clear colors. At first, I found the border surrounding the cards a tad off-putting but after working with them for a bit, they seemed to disappear into the main image. This deck though might be an excellent candidate for a “deck trimming” session. The card back is non-reversible, the same design as the card borders.
The deck consists of 78 cards and all of the pips are fully illustrated. While the deck does follow the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, some of the symbolism is different, especially in the Majors; however, those familiar with the traditional symbolism should have little difficulty in interpreting the cards. Probably one the cards that varies the most from its Rider-Waite-Smith counterpart is The Death card, which has been renamed Transfiguration in the Wizards tarot. This card features the professor of transfiguration, whose role it is to guide the students through the process of self-transformation. In this card, the professor is shape-shifting into a Proteus butterfly signifying transformation and the leaving behind of one’s old life.
Another card that varies from the RWS tradition – and one of my personal favorites – is The Hierophant. Typically, the conformity and servitude depicted in the Hierophant card does not really resonate with me. I love the depiction of Chiron, the “Wounded Healer” in this version however. Chiron is a prominent figure in Greek mythology known for training and mentoring both heros and gods including Hercules. Rather than a strict, traditional spiritual priest, Chiron comes across as a wise and knowledgeable teacher, and as the companion book put it, “Mandrake’s professor of mythology doesn’t just teach the subject — he’s part of it. His name is Chiron.”
The Dark Lord card (RWS’s Devil card) is quite different as well with different symbolism from the RWS deck. This card features the professor of the dark arts and he has transformed two students into large toads and has them chained & collared to teach them a lesson. Perhaps this suggests that we cannot run completely wild and free, ignoring the rules of society as we will eventually end up as a lower life form, as the students in this card. Here, the professor can also represent those things that keep us in bondage, whether it be or refusal to learn life’s lessons or getting too caught up in worldly pleasures such as drugs or alcohol.
As we have seen, a few of the traditional card names in the Major Arcana have been renamed. These are as follows:
The Fool becomes The Initiate
Death becomes Transfiguration
Temperance becomes The Alchemist
The Devil becomes The Dark Lord
The deck uses wands-fire, swords-air symbology with the suits of the Minors being Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins. The traditional Court Card personalities are the traditional Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages although each court personality is depicted by the elemental creature associated with their suit: Salamanders for Fire/Wands, Undines for Water/Cups, Sylphs for Air/Swords and Gnomes for Earth/Pentacles. I love the depiction of the King of Cups, who at first, glance, reminded me of Poseidon. I really get the feel here of someone who has complete command of the ocean realm:
Some clients seem to be put-off a by the depiction of the Pentacle courts, as they are all round-faced and pudgy. But as soon as I explain that they are supposed to be gnomes, a mythical (?) creature representing the element of earth, they then understand. I especially enjoy the illustration of the Page of Pentacles, a young gnome perhaps on her way to school but yet, looking back over her shoulder as if not quite sure whether she wants to leave the safety of her home.
Most of the Minor Arcana are very close to the RWS symbolism, often with just minor differences. For example, in the 6 of Swords, we have two students (rather than a shrouded woman and her child) who are sailing in a small boat with a hooded figure doing the paddling. Rather than the feeling of leaving a destructive situation behind however (although we could interpret the fog in the background as representing this), I see this card rather as suggesting a new voyage of self-discovery.
One of the Minors that really veered from the traditional symbolism is the Six of Wands – and I just love this card! Here, we have a young woman giving a speech in front of her fellow students. This card represents leadership and bravery — and anyone who has had to deliver a speech in front of a large crowd of his/her peers, knows that bravery is definitely required! What struck me, was that in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, the figure rides in after his victory. Here, we see the figure smack in the middle of it – we are witness to her bravery and leadership. The book points out that the window behind her makes her vulnerable from all sides – but a leader cannot hide on stage or fade away.
The deck comes with a 242 page handbook which I find to be an absolute treasure! It is one of the best that I have seen and is chock full of goodies. For example, the key symbols for each of the Major Arcana cards are explained in detail and Ms. Kenner gives us a spread to use for each of the cards (there are 23 spreads total!). Each Major card also comes with a lesson in “Practical Magic.” Here you will learn the pantheons of the gods, a bit about alchemy, learn how to do candle magick, cast runes, learn how to predict timing in Tarot using Astrology, learn about Elemental Dignities, moon signs, making potions and much, much more. The book is more of a text book or study course than a companion book and is an excellent way to increase your knowledge of Tarot, as well as dip your toes into some different modalities that compliment the Tarot. If you have the interest, it can lead you down some exciting new paths.
I’ve worked with this deck for several weeks now and have found it to give amazingly accurate readings. In fact, the Wizards Tarot has become part of the deck offerings that I have available for my clients. I find the deck easy and fun to read with — the beautiful art is vibrant and alive. In fact, the vividness of the artwork makes it an excellent choice for readers who tend to read intuitively. Those interested in fantasy, occult study or even Harry Potter may especially find this deck attractive and feel it would be an excellent deck for your teen clients. I have found that the more I work with it, the more I connect with this excellent deck as there are many, many levels here that you can explore. Moreover, it can be used by any Tarot student, regardless of level. Highly recommended!!
Buy the deck HERE
All images of the Wizards Tarot © Copyright Llewellyn Publications