Art by Samantha Rook
Rockpool Publishers (December 31, 2021)
Reviewed by N. Richards
Based upon exploring the “Jungian” “shadow” side of the human experience. The Macabre Tarot takes us on a journey of really deep healing.  The journey begins with the opening of a coffin shaped box which makes a delightful Creaking sound and snaps shut in a most satisfying manner. That puts a smile on my face immediately and really appeals to the “inner child” that of course needs fun. It felt like a perfectly light hearted way to prepare me for what was to be in fact a surprisingly dark but delicious detour into the human psyche.
The traditional 78 cards and 90 page book are high quality and intriguing. The cards reflect the artist’s own shadow work experiences and offer a sometimes abstract yet always intimate set of images which are powerful and unique in their expression and serve as keys to unlock the shadow.  Spreads include ” Explore the Shadow,” “coffin,” and “tombstone”.
 I tried the coffin one out and I have to say I found it to be highly insightful and clever in design, as well as allowing me a formula  to lay to rest certain parts of my journey. It also offered a rejuvenating and uplifting rebirth.
The ancient Greek maxim of the “dark” Goddess Hecate “En Erebos Phos” (in darkness light) keeps coming to mind as I review this set. Though not for beginners , it is a truly valuable tool for anyone seriously wanting to  understand and heal the shadow side. Supportive and encouraging us on the journey into the dark we will be emerging with a more authentic light and a desire to continue healing. Students of Jung and psychiatry may also find this deep dive into the darker aspects of human nature interesting and enjoyable, as well as practitioners of  traditional tarot, who are looking for a different filter on the usual, or simply something seasonal to add to their collection.
The book helps in a very succinct fashion without being overly wordy, the insights for each card are direct and to the point and focus on the darker aspects of each therein. The cards also offer “reversal” interpretations.  Some adjustments have been made to the titles of the cards; for instance, the page of rods becomes  “the terror of bones,” the Empress is “the ethereal,” and the King of Discs is the “massacre of crystals,” amongst a variety of others. The whole package is delightful, in a dark and divine sense!

About N. Richards

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