Friday, January 5, 2024

Review: Nightfall Tarot

Nightfall Tarot
Author: Amory Abbott
Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing, 2023

Description: 78 cards, 128-page guidebook, box with magnetic closure lid.

Card Size: 3 1/2 x 4 7/8

"The Nightfall Tarot is a darkened interpretation of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, shrouding the scenes of the classic deck in eternal twilight. While maintaining each card’s original meaning, the Judeo-Christian symbols in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck have been interchanged with Norse runes, Icelandic staves, Wiccan, and other chthonic occult symbology."

The Cards are made of high quality, thick card stock and have silver edging. The full deck measures almost 1 1/2 inches thick. Traditional riffle shuffling seems impossible with this deck. But, as I tend to do overhand shuffling or smooshing to avoid damaging cards, this is not an issue for me. I've experienced very little flaking of the edging. 

The card back design: "The symbol on the back of each card is Skuld's Net, a Norse design more commonly referred to as the Web of Wyrd, the term Wyrd meaning fate. It represents the connectedness between past, present, and future: a net made of nine crossing staves which contain the shapes of all of the Norse runes."

The artwork of this deck is amazing. The darkened images are full of details and symbolism. Although the images vary from the Rider-Waite, they hold enough of the familiar to follow the traditional meanings.

The 5 of Swords contains two men, who the author suggests are twins, while the Rider-Waite features three men. The battle is still the same: no one wins, although one is defeated. Footprints in the sand give clue to the recent battle.

Three Swords lay against a large sand dune, while the other two lay abandoned in the sand. The clouds are dark, with no signs of blue, while the Rider-Waite features a blue, cloudy sky. The image is breathtaking. You feel the despair and devastation vibrating in this card. 

"This Wheel of Fortune features a Vegvisir, an Icelandic stave symbol used to guide travelers through rough weather. It is encircled by the Ouroboros-a serpent eating its own tail-to symbolize the cycle of death and rebirth. Surrounding the wheel in a storm are the four natural elements wind, water, fire, and earth, guiding each safely toward their destiny, in the endless cycle of self-renewal."

The guidebook begins with a brief introduction to the deck and then dives into the cards. The Major Arcana cards are presented by number, name, keyword/phrase, image description, reversed keyword/phrase and a full-page image of the card. 

The Minor Arcana cards, divided by elements, are presented by a small image, card name, keyword/phrase, image description, and reversed keyword/phrase.

The Readings section offers a summary of three suggested spreads: the one-card, three-card, and Celtic Cross. The three-card spread summary offers two possible layout positions. The Celtic Cross spread is briefly explained, with short descriptions of each position. The guidebook closes with a four-page Author's Note.

While impressed by the quality of this deck, my main delight is with the amazing artwork. I can see this deck easily serving multiple purposes: readings, reflections, creative prompts, meditations, shadow work, and more. I'm very excited to add Nightfall Tarot to my ever-growing collection.  

I would recommend this deck to any reader: novice, expert, or anyone in between. When new readers ask which deck to start with, my go-to answer is the Rider-Waite deck. I would easily offer this as an alternative first deck.

Grab your copy at  Red Feather/Schiffer Publishing.

(Review Product supplied by Schiffer Publishing)

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