Tarot/Oracle Decks

Tarot of the Secret Forest

Tarot of the Secret Forest  
by Lucia Mattioli
Art Tarot Collection, Lo Scarabeo, Torino, Italy


Using this deck feels like taking a path into the deepwood, the cards bearing images that invoke tangled, green mystery. If you collect Tarot decks, then you will surely want to add this one to your collection. If you are a serious student of Tarot and want to explore new realms, then this deck is also most definitely for you.

Tarot of the Secret Forest is one of the newest releases in the Art Tarot Collection. The marvelously rendered dreamlike and impressionistic woodland paintings by Lucia Mattioli depict fanciful forest creatures such as faeries and sylphs, as well as boreal denizens more of this world, such as fox and falcon and salamander. The reverse side of each card bears the same image in black and white, providing an added dimension for divination. This aptly named deck invites you into hidden, enchanted glens to share whispered secrets, faerywings brushing your cheeks.

However, if you are a novice to the Tarot, I do not recommend this somewhat intense deck for you. More simply put, this is not the deck you would want to use for a “Tarot 101” course. Though the imagery and interpretation contained therein are faithful to classic Tarot themes, Mattioli handles them in a subtle manner. The slender booklet that accompanies this deck contains the barest rudiments of Tarot interpretation, which novices will find insufficient.

The images on these cards convey classic scenes, but do so in an esoteric and artistic manner that those just getting to know the Tarot may find somewhat inaccessible. Some of these arechetypical images do not match beginner’s Tarot guides or keys in an obvious manner; their correspondences are subtle, demanding that you dig deep to find the hidden meanings. Unless you are already well-grounded in Tarot, you may experience some initial frustration in using this deck.

These caveats aside, I found the Tarot of the Secret Forest delightful to use. I thoroughly enjoyed the lush images on this deck. In doing so, I increased my understanding of Tarot. Handling these cards took me into a forgotten corner of the forest, where brambles and wildflowers intertwine, moss carpets the earth, rays of sunlight filter through the tree foliage, and silence resonates with eternity.

Using Tarot for divination is a learning journey that can take years to unfold. The more you use the cards, the more layers of meanings they reveal. This enchanting deck is a useful teacher to have on that journey. Cristina Eisenberg.

» Originally appeared in PanGaia #42

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