Reversal of Fortune: Madam Clara Sees All

Deck used: Madam Clara Sees All (Motel Gift Shop)

Deck used: Madam Clara Sees All (Motel Gift Shop)

I spend a good amount of procrastination time wading through the waters of Etsy. I came across this deck and let it sit in my Favorites list for a number of months, before deciding to finally snap it up and purchase it.

What attracted me most to this deck was the juxtaposition between modern graphics and classic figures, a sparse but vibrant color palette, and the upright and reversed meanings. I don't read reversals with the tarot, mostly because I feel that the 78 cards encapsulate all there is to know. Maybe I'm just lazy, but I feel I can rely on my intuition for any shadow messages that need alerting when I read. That said, when I saw this deck, I thought it would be fun to have a set of cards that would tell it like it is—upright or reversed, without me having to "bother" consulting my intuition.

The deck comes in a standard tuck box, plus a luxe, velvet bag with gorgeous labeling. Why can't all tarot decks come with pouches like this? For $24.95 this was a total bargain!

I feel that this deck is perfect for beginners just learning to know the meanings of the cards because it saves you the hassle of looking up meanings in a guidebook. The messages are right there when you flip the cards face up. That said, if you only learn by this deck you may restrict yourself to just the meanings written down. There's more to reading tarot than the standard messages after all—we need to look within the images and beyond them.

I love the quirky and whimsical look of this deck, and again, the mid-century modern graphics and coloring it subscribes to. It takes the Zoltar gypsy aesthetic and elevates it with some irony and really clean styling. Check out the card backs—while they may be counterintuitive to the design because you can tell straight away whether a card will come out upright or reversed, they are gorgeous!

I'm becoming a little better at figuring out how to work with different types of card stock, the more I collect decks. From the get go, I knew that the thinness and matte quality of this deck wouldn't fare well with riffle shuffling. Sure, they'll bend easily, but the cards are quite sticky and do not fan out well. My easy-peasy solution to this, after having Googled extensively how to get cards to loosen up without damaging them, is to toss them into a Ziploc bag with baby powder and shake for five minutes. Yes, the black card backs do get a little gray after the entire process, but you can wipe the excess powder away with a tissue and what you're left with is a deck that slips and overhand shuffles very, very easily.

I use this deck a lot for my daily draws, although I hold back on using them for clients because the meanings may distract them. That said, if you're interested in studying tarot at all and aren't a fan of the RWS art style and most other standard depictions, this is an excellent choice.