The Tale of the Spear and the Shoe
A strange man has just appeared in my tarot deck. Well, of course, he hasn't really just appeared, he's been there all the time. Embarrassingly though, I've only just noticed him after using the deck for well, around thirty years or so. But there he was, walking away with his back turned to me holding a rather menacing spear. And it was the spear that alerted me to his presence in the first place, all due to the Tarot Disassembled. This deck by Jennifer Cooper Steidley breaks down the images found on the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith and shows just a collection of symbols on each card. When I came to the Six of Cups I thought, why's there a spear on there? Those kids shouldn't be playing with spears! Health and Safety and all that. Ah, but it wasn't the kids, it was the hitherto unnoticed guard that was stomping off into the distance.
If you're in the US, Jennifer sells the guidebook separately in her Etsy shop so even if you don't think you'll use the deck, I would highly recommend getting the guidebook (you can buy from Etsy in the UK but the postage is eyewatering). I got my copy from the Wootique but you can only buy the deck and guidebook as a set (It's currently Sold out but hopefully it'll be restocked again). The book is short and to the point but has some invaluable information. For example, in the dim and distant past I seem to recall being alerted to the odd choice of footwear of the fellow in the Seven of Wands. It had slipped my mind until it shows on the Tarot Disassembled card. It makes me wonder, why did he go out with one shoe and one boot? Did he have to rush out to defend his clifftop with no time to find the right outfit (never mind take an ootd selfie in the mirror)? Or is he the type of chap who doesn't care about the smaller details in life and maybe that's why he's got a lot of people coming at him?
Can you use the deck just to do a reading? The cards are mat finish with matt green edging that is just lovely to the touch. Not a super easy deck to shuffle but not too bad. It's flexible enough to riffle if you have strong hands (or split the deck in two) and as the cards are a standard size they can be overhand-shuffled. They're not too matt to result in clumping. I've found that the messages are very clear and the cards are easy to read in small spreads. I guess it's down to personal taste if you want the kind of basic look and bright colours and maybe they do look a bit pre-school but I find that quite refreshing. I think that as the images are pared back to just the symbols, it's not only clear to read but sparks your curiosity when the first thing you see is not what you expected from that card.
Ahhh, but the final word must be given to the guidebook. It's colour on the outside and black, white and greyscale on the inside. When one card meaning finishes another starts, we don't formally move to a new page. This is not a coffee table book, it's a bit primitive and that's in keeping with the theme of the deck but I would very much agree with the creators intent, Tarot Disassembled definitely helps deconstruct the tarot to enhance our understanding of it.