ShadowFox Tarot: A Review
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2010

Artist: Richard ShadowFox
Author: Jennifer ShadowFox

Published by Schiffer Books
ISBN 978-0-7643-3487-0 $29.99 US

ShadowFox Tarot Emperor

ShadowFox Tarot: Emperor

    ShadowFox Tarot is the collaborative effort of Richard and Jennifer ShadowFox. I assume the last name is a pseudonym. Richard is the artist and designer of this deck and Jennifer is the author of the accompanying 224 page highly detailed and indexed book, Tarot: Book of Shadows. If I have that wrong I apologize but the information provided leads me to assume that he is the artist and she is the writer. Richard has designed three other decks: The Legends of Rock, MES Tarot and Tarot Progressive. Jennifer maintains three blogs for ShadowFox Tarot and reviews books and decks on Amazon.com as well as being a contributor to the Esoteric Library.

    ShadowFox Tarot is a grey scale deck which uses the subtle balance and contrast of light and shadow to depict the 78 images of a Tarot deck. The images are not traditional and remind me of gaming animation or graphic novel type imagery, I believe it might be called 3D rendering but I would have to check with my teenage son. They are sparse images; usually of a person or persons. The Minor Arcana and Court Cards are depicted with the standard suits of Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles but with no background detail. They are simple but with a certain otherworldly sheen and elegance to them. I love the image of the Emperor as a man with a child on his shoulders – it is a wonderful, thoughtful image. The 10 of Swords certainly captured the bleakness of emotions associated with this card.

    ShadowFox Tarot 10 of Swords

    ShadowFox Tarot: 10 of Swords

    I think some people might find the images difficult to interpret as they are extremely ethereal but then Tarot does expect us to notice the subtle to see what is hidden. The images are all on a plain white background with a simple grey border. The back of the card is the same as the border. Each card has the name, number and/or suit listed on them in the lower left and upper right corners making for easy reference. It is a very unique deck, luminous and mysterious. Personally, I would have liked a little more contrast in some of the images just for the sake of making them easier to see at first glance. All in all, ShadowFox Tarot is an interesting artistic interpretation of the Tarot.

    The accompanying book is quite highly detailed – and I do mean highly detailed. There is a standard short history of the Tarot, FAQ and The Celtic Cross Spread. There are sections on choosing, learning and working with Tarot and quite an interesting section on The Tarot Book of Shadows Legend containing Alchemical and Astrological correspondences. There is a quite extensive section on Astrological Quadruplicity containing everything from Blood Types to I Ching to Gematria to Colour to Phase of Life to Numerology to Tree of Life to your Musical Mood and so much more. Each of these is explored in some detail in the next sections which contain the meanings, upright and reversed as well as a possibility section and influencing cards, for each card.

    Each card has a song suggestion with it. Music is truly an individual and subjective pleasure. I don’t know if they are trying to share the song that inspired the art or that the song lyric is part of the hermeneutics or if they want you to listen to that particular piece of music to put you in the Musical Mood to experience the card or if they are getting revenues for musical downloading. The song choices are good, ranging from Rush, Deep Purple, Sting, Guns ‘n Roses, Bachman Turner Overdrive to Helen Reddy, Van Morrison and Billy Joel. I am a total music head who owns most of the music they have suggested but I like to listen to my own music when I am reading. It reminds me somewhat of having background music on a website, I surf listening to music as well, so it seems superfluous to me. It does, however, give me better insight into the creators of this book and deck set. You can tell a lot about people by the music they listen to.

    I wouldn’t recommend this set for a beginner. The book has too many details, too much information and too many subtleties that a beginner would find just plain overwhelming and the deck itself would be too minimalist. This is an excellent book and deck set for an intermediate, journeyman or advanced reader and I think it would also appeal to collectors. It is well priced, nicely packaged and was a pleasure to peruse. You can visit Richard and Jennifer’s website at http://www.shadowfoxtarot.com/

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