Deck Review: The Mesquite Tarot

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Because I live all the way in Manila, I always thought that Kickstarter would not be a good deck-shopping option for me. Kickstarter decks take a lot of time to actually reach the production stage—waiting that long can be tough on your regular eager beaver (🙋)… having to wait another couple of months for shipping to actually get the deck to me is even more difficult.

Two decks changed that for me last year, however. First, the Illest Tarot (which I have probably waxed poetic about enough already), and second is the Mesquite Tarot, which completely sold me with its beautiful Kickstarter promotional video. Created in Austin, Texas, the deck reflects the environment in which its creators, Aleisha Fitz and Bronwyn Walls, dreamed it up.

I am a sucker for simple and minimal decks. I was doubly sold by the pastel shades (they remind me of "Call Me By Your Name" Italy!), the adorable hand stamped drawstring pouch, and the dreamy, whimsical leaf-printed backings. SO LOVELY. I was slated to leave Manila by the time this would be shipping but I kind of threw caution to the wind. I left an authorization letter back home for someone to just pick it up at the post office for me when it did arrive and just hoped for the best. (The deck was in my house by the time I got back from Europe!—best welcome home present ever). 

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BTW it also comes with a book. Like a meaty, substantial, thick, nice-book paper kind of book. I don't use my tarot guidebooks a lot because I'm too impatient to thumb through them, so this one is pretty lost on me. But, for beginners who are starting with a deck like this, I can see how the Mesquite guidebook will be super beneficial.

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The Mesquite is absolutely the kind of deck I prefer to read with because it's devoid of any unnecessary (at least to me) ornamentation. It strips the tarot down to its basics so you're basically sticking to raw archetypes and really basic meanings—the good stuff that allows your intuition to roam free. 

Mesquite has this explanation up on their website: "To us it’s more about using the power of symbols to bring ourselves into a clearer state of conscious awareness." 🙌 

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One noticeable change is the shift of the usual court to more relatable and relevant characters: Leader (King), Knower (Queen), Novice (Knight) and Student (Page). It didn't take too long for me to crack the code (it may have taken even less time if I had actually bothered reading the guidebook, right?), and if you're familiar with the Rider Waite-Smith system, then this it's super easy to figure this out.

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The silhouetted figures remind me of the Le Corbusier drawings we used to doodle in college—I like how they're just shadows and how the forms flow so smoothly with the curves and lines of the background. The line drawings and super basic illustrations are also incredibly relatable—I can definitely see myself gifting this deck to people who are only starting to become interested in the tarot and want to learn.

There are two things that really stand out to me as far as Mesquite is concerned. One is its use of color—it utilizes the typical palette that matches color to element and suit… but see how that rich red of the wands plays off the cool gray of the pentacles card? So, so pretty. Two is its size—smaller than your typical tarot deck and super handy (thanks to its pouch), it's become my go to take-along-with-me deck (fits perfectly in my bag!).

The cards are lovely to shuffle but are quite slippery. I've had them spilling off my tabletop more than once before… which isn't really a bad thing. I'd rather have cards this easy to shuffle than a deck that stays put in a pile but gives me paper cuts!

I once brought a number of decks with me to a client meeting and this was the one that was most ogled over. So far, I've only used the deck for myself and I find that's a good thing. I find that with the decks I like the most, I really take my time working with it alone first before being comfortable enough to use it with other people. For now, Mesquite is still in my private / personal wheelhouse.

Interested in this deck or know one that has a similar vibe? Comment below (I've finally opened up the comments!) and share your tarot thoughts with me :)