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The Transparent Tarot 2nd ed. A Review by Emily Carding 

Review by Mary Nale for Attune Magazine

I’m so happy to see a second edition of The Transparent Tarot.  I’ve always thought this deck was just a brilliant idea and now it’s been improved upon and given a fresh new packaging style.  The white spread cloth is shiny this time instead of cotton so taking pictures will be a challenge-but most of us buy a deck to read with and not to worry about how it will photograph. And some of you may be wondering about the cards and the oily residue that needed to be wiped off the first edition…the second edition is perfect with no oily residue. You can overhand shuffle the second edition with no problems.  

The Transparent Tarot is worth getting to know.  It is so unique that at first I found it a bit intimidating but, after reading Emily Carding’s introduction in the guidebook, I feel that she’s right, the first thing to do is just LOOK through the cards, get to know them and stop worrying about the right or wrong way to use this deck.  The guidebook has a description and divinatory meaning for each card and also Emily added a ton of her personal insight. The second edition guidebook has a handy Keyword Table. As I read through the guidebook and look at each card I’m aware that this deck takes some learning.  I also think it’s worth noting that this could be an amazing deck to just read intuitively by forming a story line or layering the cards as indicated in the guidebook. I love that Emily Carding doesn’t do “fluffy and gentle” tarot card meanings. Her card meanings are real life and useful and also provide a bit of the magical. Each card has registration marks to line up your images for reading and this makes it perfect for not only layering but forming a story line.

A Look At The Card Images:


Card 0 or The Fool has an image of a butterfly at the upper center of the card and a white rose at the bottom middle.  The card number is in the margin of the image. The guidebook explains the image and then gives the Divinatory Meaning for upright and reversed.  Right away you see that the images of this deck are not “traditional”.  Emily says she came up with this symbol by using the smallest detail from traditional tarot-the white rose-and using it in combination with a universally recognizable symbol, the butterfly.

Card 1 The Magician has an image of intertwined dragons-one is black and one is red that echo the work of Crowley.  Card 2 The High Priestess has an image of a crescent moon hovering over an open book.  Card 3 The Empress has a nature scene with rolling hills of green grass and a single red flower at the bottom. 

Card 4 The Emperor depicts a cityscape that is opposite of the nature vision of The Empress. 

Card 5 The Hierophant is an image of a massive tree with some leaves showing at the top.  It is an “ancient oak”.  

The Minor Arcana cards have scenes with featureless, androgynous figures in the color of their suit. Red Wands, Blue Cups, Dark Purple Swords, Green Pentacles. The Minor Arcana in this deck provide a great jumping off point for intuitive reading. The Aces do not have scenes and are depicted as iconic.  The Court Cards are all “people cards” that have the suit symbol in the image.  The K, Q, KN, and P are in the margin of the card image. These court cards are in action and I like this about the images. In fact, this whole deck is full of action in a way that regular cards just can’t achieve. It’s like a living, breathing, fluid tarot experience.   



You just can’t compare The Transparent Tarot with any other deck.  If you love all things interesting, unique and different this deck will keep you interested for a long, long time.  If you don’t want to learn this as a new system, you might not get quite as much from your experience.  I think you COULD read this deck intuitively with no problem. I love that the card meanings are solid in the guidebook-what I mean is with so many watered down card meanings out there in the “gentle” decks it’s great to have realistic tarot meanings. I’m not sure tarot was ever intended to be “fluffy” but, that’s a topic for another time. There are example readings throughout the guidebook that may help you get a feel for how the cards can be used. There is also a section on how to use these cards with other decks.I recommend this deck to those who like a challenge and to those who collect. This reading system seems worth the effort it takes to get to know it and the images seem to keep expanding with no limit to where they may take you.  


Publisher: Red Feather; 2nd ed. Edition

ISBN-10: 0764359274

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