Better Together: Ostara Tarot + Linestrider Tarot
Almost a year to the day, I wrote about how the Ostara Tarot and Linestrider Tarot were on top of my Tarot Wishlist. I found out about these decks when they were still self-published by their respective creators, thought about them for a while until they went out of stock (DRAT) and then consequently, got picked up by mass market publishers (yay!). I hemmed and hawed over these for quite a bit before finally biting the bullet. What pushed me (over the edge, LOL) was spotting The Linestrider Tarot at Fully Booked in Rockwell (this bookstore continues to impress me with its slowly growing tarot offerings!). I got it in July 2017 and because I always felt these two decks went together so well, I immediately got on Amazon to order the Ostara Tarot, which got to me by August.
The reason why I held off on the Linestrider for so long was that reviews for its mass market edition always discussed the fact that its card stock was paper-thin. My friend (and Numinous Beauty Editor, OMG!) Eunice told me she had purchased it and highly recommended it so I thought that it couldn't be that bad.
And it wasn't! I mean yes, it's thin—but thin card stock is good because it makes for a good riffle shuffle. To make up for the under-300-GSM cards, however, is a massively solid box with a magnetic enclosure and a ribbon to help pull the cards up and out. Also, the book is thick and substantial—not that I ever read a guidebook from cover to cover, but it's nice knowing that when I have questions about any of these cards, I have something to go to.
Linestrider's big sell to me is its use of white space and watercolor. It's modern! It's fresh! It's everything I want in a tarot deck! The recurring inkblot detail is also lovely.
Fast forward to the Ostara Tarot and all its physical trappings… The box is similarly solid but a lot less smaller and more compact (perfect, if you're having trouble storing your decks). The guidebook, while thinner, is still pretty meaty—and a bonus here, it comes in full color! (Congrats, Schiffer Publishing for doing such a good job on this).
In terms of card stock, the Ostara totally one-ups the Linestrider because these are thick. And I mean the good kind of thick, not the impossible-to-shuffle variety. The deck is edged in gold which caused me a bit of trouble in the beginning because it was impossible to use this deck without getting silver powder all over my freaking hands. I dealt with it (and I don't know if this is against the "rules" or not) by dropping some isopropyl alcohol onto two pieces of tissue and running the damp tissue over the sides of the cards to shake all that excess silver powder off. After doing that a couple of times, I also marathon shuffled the cards. Over and over again. The deck works fine now.
I like that these cards are borderless but not—there's a thin line framing the image but the bleeds go all the way through.
The card backings are also pretty and pastel and slightly macabre. I am guessing that if you're of the pagan persuasion, the Ostara Tarot may have more meaning for you, with Ostara being part of the wheel of the year. I don't identify with paganism, so my appreciation for this deck springs, first, from a purely visual and aesthetic point of view. Regardless of where you're coming from, it's very very pretty! :)
The Linestrider, on the other hand, shies away from edge to edge illustrations. Like I said, its unique selling point is its white space and its very minimal use of color. I recently was challenged by my doctor (of all people) to explain why I read tarot (she, apparently, is extremely religious / super-Catholic as many Filipinos are). I told her that the images on the cards were like Rorschach tests that allowed you to tap into your subconscious—I think that's also why I have such an appreciation for the Linestrider's backings.
When I first got the Linestrider, I used it all the time. It makes sense that its cards offer such clarity—I feel that all that white space allows the images and your mind to breathe. I don't normally bring this with me to one-on-one readings because I don't like getting my decks creased (somewhere in me, there is a Virgo just waiting to be come out) but I use these a lot for my email offerings.
The Ostara, unlike the Linestrider, offers a bit of a challenge when it comes to readings. I like that the deck is illustrated by four different artists (I'm a fan of deck collaborations, as in the Light Grey Tarot and the Cosmos Tarot & Oracle) but because the styles are so decidedly different and there are no labels that indicate which suit you're looking at, it can be a little confusing.
Now this little hump can be tackled one of two ways—through dedicated study of the cards (which frankly, I really don't have the patience or commitment for); and two, by just reading them intuitively without looking for the suits in the illustrations.
Some of the suits can be tiny in their depiction, so I end up flip flopping about whether a card is a cup or pentacle, for example. It's for this reason that I use these cards mainly for email readings that I really have time to dedicate to. I don't think I'll be able to pull of using this for one on one readings because I'll be deer-in-headlights over one too many cards.
All pros and cons aside, I love how these two decks vibe together. They're similar but different—you know? I don't ever use two tarot decks at the same time for client readings, but I do for meditation purposes and on my Instagram account.
It's because of this that I feel that working with these two decks together will be a perfect exercise for tarot readers who've been practicing for quite a while and don't need a lot of book-referencing. The twosome will be perfect for the kinds of readers who like to really sit and study and reflect.
I hope this review has been helpful for anyone on the fence about one or both of these decks—if you've got any questions, I've started opening my comments up to people! I'd love to start a discussion and interact with all you folks :)