Strange, Surreal, Stimulating Tarot Decks
If you've read my past posts or have gone through my feed, it'll be easy to tell that I have a preference for non-traditional tarot imagery. My mom was heavy into abstract art and I grew up with paintings all over the house that steered clear of anything safe or "classic." This, in turn, heavily influenced my own preferences. I love Picasso's offbeat edges, Iris Apfel's boisterous color palettes, and Gehry's striking architecture. Fast forward to tarot and my tastes are no different.
The Sakki-Sakki, Tarot del Fuego, and Kitty Kahane decks, imho, form a trifecta of bizarre, outlandish, but very very pretty tarot. Each deck stands pretty well on its own, but the three together seem to complement each other so well.
The Sakki-Sakki is made so lovingly by its creator, and the book is so comprehensive that it goes beyond the general meanings to include astrology, the Kabbalah, and for the art-inclined folk, even a description of the process it took to create the entire 79-card deck. It's a burst of sunshine, its card quality is good, it involves some crafty DIY-ness, and it ships free. Win win win! I first learned about this deck through Elora Tarot Shop, obsessed about it for a few days, and finally, caved during some downtime at work. Since then, I've had the pleasure of corresponding with Monicka Clio Sakki, the artist behind the deck, and her good natured warmth just makes me love this deck even more. This is one of my event staples—a deck I take along with me when I'm doing marathon readings in public. People are always amused by the images because they are so surprisingly "non-threatening" despite the fact that there are a ton of headless characters in it. (For those who can't seem to understand the headlessness, I say, stop asking and just go with it).
It's important to note that these cards are slightly slimmer than most tarot cards. I say this because they're a wonderful deck to tote around with you and make for an easy shuffle. The cardboard assemble-it-yourself box, however, can take a beating if you toss it in your bag so I prefer to transfer these cards to a pouch when I bring them out.
The next deck I learned about was the Kitty Kahane Tarot, through one of my favorite YouTube channels (you should subscribe STAT!), Wild Moon Woman. Elyse does cohesive, well-thought out reviews and when I saw her flip through the strange, PINK cards of the Kitty Kahane, I knew it would be a wonderful partner to my well-loved Sakki-Sakki. This deck is out of print, but through some crafty sleuthing online, you can get it for cheap from the amazon.de site. This deck reminds me of Hepzibah, one of my most read children's books from growing up, about a modern hag's surreal misadventures with ice cream, Kings, and bathtubs (not kidding).
The Kitty Kahane possesses the same blank-eyed mischief that Hepzibah does, and when I found out that I could actually purchase it (albeit in German) for cheap, it only made sense to go ahead and buy it. The deck comes in a sturdy box, it has just the right amount of slip that makes for a wonderful shuffle, and in spite of its oddball illustrations, follows the RWS tradition pretty well.
As opposed to the Sakki Sakki's bright yellows and pops of color, the Kitty Kahane has a delicious palette of soft pinks and lilacs of my old Crayola set from grade school. This deck is truly an inner child wonder for me. It holds so many dichotomies in all its bizarre glory—it is feminine and powerful, mischievous and deep, fun and meaningful.
The last deck I purchased among the three was the Tarot del Fuego, which I first learned about through ShyFox's YouTube channel (it's becoming very clear, how much time I spend watching these videos). I read somewhere that the Tarot del Fuego is the YANG to Kitty Kahane's YIN. I love the idea of integrating the masculine and feminine aspects and the idea of a Yin and Yang pairing totally sold me on the deck.
Unlike the Sakki-Sakki and Kitty Kahane, the Tarot del Fuego strays away from the traditional RWS images and symbolism and instead just does what it wants to do. Every card is peppered with eyes (yes, weird) and has potent bursts of cobalt blues and fire engine reds. This deck is bursting with fire energy, as its name suggests. Admittedly, it's taking me longer to figure things out with this one because the imagery is so jarring and powerful.
For decks that catch me off guard, I find that a Daily Draw practice is the best way to form a connection. Doing comparisons across all three decks also helps a lot. I'm finding that my intimate connection with the Sakki-Sakki and the way the Kitty Kahane makes me laugh are helping me weave my way through the complex stories that the Tarot del Fuego holds.
For now, I'm perfectly happy I've assembled this perfectly balanced trifecta. Honestly though, if I had some extra cash lying around, I would turn this into a foursome and add the Holly Simple Tarot to the mix. I've been stalking this deck since it launched in Kickstarter and it's now available online! I'm wondering how much longer I'll be able to stave the urge to add yet another surreal deck to my collection… if anyone has the Holly Simple, send me a message, I'd love to learn all about it (all enablers are welcome).