Deck Comparison: How To Deal + Circo Tarot

 Deck used: How to Deal (Marisa de la Peña,  Circo Tarot )

Deck used: How to Deal (Marisa de la Peña, Circo Tarot)

If you’ve gotten a reading from me—in person, email, subscription, whatever… you’ll have probably seen me use one of Marisa de la Peña’s decks. I’m a huge fan of the Circo Tarot (so much so that I actually have two editions!) and a couple of months back, I also got Marisa’s Persephone Tarot and her Strange Lands Oracle.

What makes her work so appealing? I love the gouache, the cheeky messages on the oracle cards, and even the easy-to-shuffle card stock on all her decks. I also love the personalized touches that always come with her decks—the handmade bags, and even the packages sprinkled with all sorts of sparkly, glittery embellishments. TOO CUTE.

When Marisa announced that she would be illustrating a book entitled “How to Deal,” I knew I had to get on it—stat. But then, my plans were derailed because I took too long deciding between an e-book or an actual print… and then came the “How to Deal” deck announcement! Cards before books (do I have my priorities straight?), so I jumped on that and scored a copy.

 The cards on the left are from “How to Deal,” and those on the right are from the Circo Tarot. You’ll see a bit of the Persephone influence in the newer artwork, which has a lot of Roman/Greek goddess-accents on them.   The Lovers is depicted by a planter with two people illustrated on it, and a lush and fertile plant blooming upwards (as opposed to the naked couple from Circo).  I actually love the pink tone of Temperance from “How to Deal” although I also like the dimension that Circo’s Temperance figure provides.

The cards on the left are from “How to Deal,” and those on the right are from the Circo Tarot. You’ll see a bit of the Persephone influence in the newer artwork, which has a lot of Roman/Greek goddess-accents on them.

The Lovers is depicted by a planter with two people illustrated on it, and a lush and fertile plant blooming upwards (as opposed to the naked couple from Circo).

I actually love the pink tone of Temperance from “How to Deal” although I also like the dimension that Circo’s Temperance figure provides.

The thing about “How to Deal,” however, is that it’s actually a reboot of the Circo Tarot but with more “adolescent-friendly” images, I would say. Less naked bodies, a lot more wholesome representations. I’m not entirely sure about this, but I think I read somewhere that the book is actually marketed toward teens… so the accompanying deck (which, sadly, isn’t on the Circo Tarot website at the moment) is understandably PG-13 too.

But for those who are curious and those who are actually lucky enough to find a copy of this deck floating in one of the Facebook groups or forums, here’s a side by side between the different cards of How to Deal and the Circo Tarot.

 The Devil from “How to Deal” looks a lot more soulful and pensive than the BDSM-ish figures depicted in the Circo! :P  I love the 1920s looking woman in The Star from “How to Deal”, but at the same time, I also appreciate the transparent cape cloaking The Star from the Circo Tarot.

The Devil from “How to Deal” looks a lot more soulful and pensive than the BDSM-ish figures depicted in the Circo! :P

I love the 1920s looking woman in The Star from “How to Deal”, but at the same time, I also appreciate the transparent cape cloaking The Star from the Circo Tarot.

“How to Deal” comes in a tuck box unlike my edition of the Circo Tarot (I think it’s the third!), which consists of cards in a green bag. The “How to Deal” cards are slightly thinner, smaller and flimsier—making them perfect for riffle shuffling and stowing away in your purse. Circo’s card stock is a lot more hardy and is also thicker, which means it holds up to frequent use but can be difficult to handle if you’ve got small hands.

 The Moon from both decks combined, I feel, make a pretty good rendering of the Rider-Waite Smith card. I feel like the crayfish of the “How to Deal” card pulls the eye towards it, but the Circo Tarot’s dog (wolf?) grabs my attention more. I love the mermaid figure, though!  The 8 of Cups from the “How to Deal” deck takes a little more time for me to figure out. From the get go, I’m thinking that farewells, though sad, do make a solid foundation for emotional growth. The Circo Tarot version just looks like a more obvious interpretation of the goodbyes the 8 of Cups is known for.

The Moon from both decks combined, I feel, make a pretty good rendering of the Rider-Waite Smith card. I feel like the crayfish of the “How to Deal” card pulls the eye towards it, but the Circo Tarot’s dog (wolf?) grabs my attention more. I love the mermaid figure, though!

The 8 of Cups from the “How to Deal” deck takes a little more time for me to figure out. From the get go, I’m thinking that farewells, though sad, do make a solid foundation for emotional growth. The Circo Tarot version just looks like a more obvious interpretation of the goodbyes the 8 of Cups is known for.

 The cactus of the 2 of Knives reminds me of a lot of the images from the Strange Lands Oracle, but the figure from the Circo Tarot just reminds me a lot more of the Rider-Waite Smith depiction of this card.  The 3 of Knives, our classic heartbreak card, looks gory and extremely painful in the Circo depiction. The “How to Deal” card is a lot less morbid, and I like how the apple that’s been sliced and pierced reminds me of Snow White’s fall from grace.

The cactus of the 2 of Knives reminds me of a lot of the images from the Strange Lands Oracle, but the figure from the Circo Tarot just reminds me a lot more of the Rider-Waite Smith depiction of this card.

The 3 of Knives, our classic heartbreak card, looks gory and extremely painful in the Circo depiction. The “How to Deal” card is a lot less morbid, and I like how the apple that’s been sliced and pierced reminds me of Snow White’s fall from grace.

 Lastly, the 10 of Knives is starkly different in scheme. The Circo Tarot depiction is definitely the stuff of nightmares, while the “How to Deal” version demonstrates the exhaustion and I-give-up feeling that comes with this card. And also, all the spikes on her head remind me of that bobby-pin pain that comes with pinning your hair into a bun (do you know what I’m talking about?).

Lastly, the 10 of Knives is starkly different in scheme. The Circo Tarot depiction is definitely the stuff of nightmares, while the “How to Deal” version demonstrates the exhaustion and I-give-up feeling that comes with this card. And also, all the spikes on her head remind me of that bobby-pin pain that comes with pinning your hair into a bun (do you know what I’m talking about?).

Recently, Marisa has released new versions of the Strange Lands Oracle and the Persephone Tarot (tricolor edition, what!). But I’m currently on a no-spend as I’m saving up for my next vacation and the inflation rate here in the Philippines has been crazy wild. Her about page does say that she’s working on something new for Fall 2018, so I’m incredibly excited to see what’s next in the Circo Tarot fam. (You can be sure I’ll be on it as soon as it’s released—that’s if the $ rate eases up this side of the world!)