The Wooden Tarot by A.L. Swartz is a gorgeous deck with some really interesting perspectives. Just like The Seeker’s Lenormand and Earthbound Oracle – The Wooden Tarot’s art was originally hand painted on slabs of wood (but the actual deck isn’t wood of course). The deck contains art that is full of nature in all its aspects with life and death and dashes of surrealism that give the animals depicted a mystical feeling, a style that is signature of Swartz. As mentioned in my review of The Seeker’s Lenormand, all three of the decks have a very complimentary feel to them and are fantastic to use together.
The deck is divided in the standard Major Arcana and Minor Arcana, with a few slight changes. The first being the name of the suits. Pentacles, Wands, Swords and Cups are transformed into Bones, Stones, Plumes, and Blooms. Another major change is The Wooden Tarot‘s Aces which are renamed “Gods”, with a deity levitating the symbol of the suit within their palms and an alchemical elemental symbol with a huge eyeball for a head. I actually really like this and it’s an interesting interpretation.
The deck however does not come with any sort of a companion book, so some of the cards will leave you scratching your head as it will sometimes feel like a random piece of skeleton, crystal, flower, etc. As such this deck is best used by those who either have the tarot completely memorized by card title or those who read purely intuitively and have an understanding of what parts of an animal bone may represent something to them. I think my favorite reinterpretation in the deck is that of the Fool, represented as a mouse walking along the back of a snake. This conjures up both the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery of the Fool as well as Crowley’s Thoth Fool in a very creative way. I also adore the fact that the deck includes a Happy Squirrel Card.