Full Disclosure: The Digital Gryphon LLC is providing professional sales and marketing support for this project; and will receive compensation for those efforts.
In light of the above Disclosure, think of this as not so much a review of the deck, as an introduction to it. At the same time, I don’t say I like this deck just because I’ll get paid if you buy it; I offered to promote it because I recognize the value of this project and support Sister Who’s Ministry. Also, opinions expressed below (other than direct quotes) are my own.
The Design and Symbolism
As clearly stated on the sales page at TheGameCrafter this deck is “designed for personal spiritual growth rather than divination or prognostication“. That being said, there are more than enough parallels for the deck to be used that way in the right hands.
The deck has significant differences from ‘traditional tarot’ -which is to say. decks designed within the Rider-Waite-Smith paradigm. In that it is hardly unique, nor ground-breaking. Those differences are not just stylistic; the names of the four minor suits were chosen for particular reasons which happen to align reasonably well with those of the fore-mentioned ‘traditional tarot’ paradigm.
The replacement of Page, Knight, Queen and King with Confessor, Celebrant, Angel and Saint not only removes an archaic social hierarchy, it offers us four examples of thoughtful approaches to interacting with all of Creation. The 22 cards of the Major Suit present a more earthly progression of one’s life than the traditional Major Arcana’s ‘quest for enlightenment’ – while touching on many philosophical questions or concerns.
The Master of Theological Studies degree of Sister Who’s secular self is apparent in much of the deck’s imagery, and in the accompanying book. At the same time the project uses “a symbolic language which could be empowering to persons of any spiritual path whatsoever” and no traditional religious training, or knowledge, is required to benefit from the deck.
Rather than prepare a booklet that fits inside the box and uses super small type to try and squeeze in some basic information, Sister Who has written a companion volume. The 33 (8.5″x11″) page book is available as a .pdf download with your purchase. It outlines some of the symbolism they include on the cards, as well as their thoughts on using the cards for contemplative meditation.
Being photograph-based, cards tend not to be as packed with symbols as some cards created in other media. This is also not unique. In fact there are tarot decks with minor suit cards like modern Bridge or Poker cards- just the relevant number of the suit’s symbol- 4 cups (4 hearts) etc. A preview of selected pages from the book is now available. This outlines the new suits as well as Sister Who’s replacements for traditional ‘court cards’.
Production of Your Deck
The Tarot of Sister Who is produced to order by the experts at TheGameCrafter.com. I have an actual production version and can attest to both the high quality of the physical product, and its value in both artistic and card reading terms.
A few things to note. The premium UV Coating not only protects the cards, it helps in shuffling these large cards. At 3.5″x5.5″ they are almost 50% larger than a standard 2.75″x4.75″ Tarot deck; similar in size to my three 3.5″x5″ D.Virtue Oracle decks. The box does seem to be made of slightly thinner cardstock than most of my commercial decks; which may just be more noticeable due to the larger size. I don’t consider that a major concern; most of my decks’ boxes are long gone; replaced by a cloth, if not a wooden box.
I’ve offered my designs on apparel and other merchandise through various POD (Print On Demand) websites. Those items generally ship fairly quickly. TheGameCrafter, as the name indicates, was created to produce games to order. Their production times are noticeably longer than tee-shirt sites. Cards such as The Tarot of Sister Who are printed on quality stock, UV coated for protection, and then die-cut for rounded corners that reduce the risk of ‘dog-earred’ or torn cards. I have placed three orders with production times ranging from 6 to 15 days.