1920s Revival: The Tarot Mucha
I took a trip out to New York two years ago, right when I was really getting into tarot. As luck would have it, I actually forgot to bring a deck along with me, which is what prompted me to buy a deck at every pitstop of the trip. One of my NY-based friends who is very into astrology, crystals and other wonderfully, magically mystical things, told me that she would take me to Enchantments, the city's oldest witchy shop. On our visit there, I decided to pick up the Tarot Mucha.
I'm familiar with Alphonse Mucha's art because I had accompanied a friend of mine to a bookstore one December to help her choose a calendar for the year ahead. She had picked a Mucha-themed wall calendar, whose art nouveau stylings certainly left an impression on me (enough impact, at least, for me to recall the very same drawings and sinuous lines when I saw it interpreted as a tarot deck).
One of my favorite subjects in college was Architectural History, where we took a lot of time delving into this movement. I find it all very romantic—the floral motifs, the delicate embellishments, the early 20th century depictions of women. So while I generally gravitate towards more contemporary, abstract tarot decks, this one did tap into a particular area of art history that I had an affinity for.
The Tarot Mucha is one of Lo Scarabeo's first attempts at upping its packaging game. Instead of housed in a tuck box, the deck comes in a sturdy and solid, two-piece box. The guidebook is thick but doesn't offer a lot of information because the pages are dedicated to LWB explanations in different languages… something I don't mind since I normally don't read the little white book anyway.
I am generally a fan of Lo Scarabeo card stock, and unlike other Lo Scarabeo decks, the Tarot Mucha's cards are a little glossier and smoother. Because of this, there is a tendency towards chipping on the edges. Riffle shufflers, be very careful! The cards are thin enough to do bridges and riffles very well, but if you're finicky and want your cards well-preserved then opt for an overhand shuffle instead.
The suits of the Tarot Mucha have a subtle color scheme. Wands come in red-toned browns, cups have a tinge of blue, swords are blue gray (my favorite color for my least favorite suit!), and pentacles have touches of green. I like it when deck creators do this because it makes big spreads a lot easier to read, big picture-wise. Each suit also has a distinct border that adds fun flavor to the art.
One problem I do have with the Tarot Mucha, however is that it follows Lo Scarabeo's new style of not labelling the cards which presents problems for me as far as the court cards are concerned. I have to confess that I've used these cards for client readings more than once and every time, I confuse Pages for Kings and vise versa… nonetheless, I just roll with whatever my initial read is and don't bother correcting myself since I read intuitively anyways.
There is no confusion as far as the Majors are concerned, and I do find that this very close rendition of the traditional RWS depictions makes for a very simple and easy read. Beginners will benefit from using a deck like this because it helps build associations with "standard" meanings under a different light.
If you're a natural romantic and have a proclivity for history and vintage themes, try this one on for size. It's a handy deck to take around with you and its vibe, I find, goes very well with Inner Hue's Connected and Free Alchemist's Oracle.
Fair warning, this deck has my least favorite interpretation of my least favorite card, Judgement (check out my Tarot Toolbox articles because I blog about it!). Despite that little hitch, I do tend to pull out this deck when I'm feeling the need for some grounding. Its light, brown tones and its nature-themed art nouveau aesthetic help make me feel like I'm magically reconnecting with the earth—something I look for every now and again!