Deck: Mermaid Tarot
Artist/Creator: Julie Dillon & Leeza Robertson
Where to Buy? Amazon
Deck: Tarot of Mermaids
Artist/Creator: Mauro de Luca & Pietro Alligo
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo Where to Buy? Amazon
Deck: Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot
Artist/Creator: Dame Darcy
Where to Buy? The Wootique or Etsy
Mermaids symbolise the element of water, transformation and fluidity. Legends tell of mermaids luring sailors to their deaths using their hypnotic siren song. So they can also represent danger, seduction and the use of sexuality to manipulate to a harmful end.
There are many decks that use the symbol of the mermaid in one or two cards but if you're looking for a deck to read for relationships, feelings and all things emotional, then a full mermaid deck might be just the thing. Here's the Larch Tarot Edit of the best mermaid decks.
1. The Mass Market - Mermaid Tarot
This is a reasonably priced, easily available deck from Llewellyn, so it has all the big box, big colour guidebook and pliable card stock that we've come to know and (some of us) love. The images are bright, colourful and a bit Disney-like. They cover a diverse range of ages, sizes, skin-colours and sexes and although it's predominantly set in an under-water environment, it does represent the fire, earth and air elements well too. It follows RWS in the main and reads very easily straight out of the box. Although this deck might not seem to have anything to make it stand out from the vast range of other big-box decks, once you flip through the cards, you find yourself enchanted by the stories they tell. Well, I did. So don't overlook this as just another cartoon-style deck. It definitely has something special (I might be slightly biased, as this deck has one of my all time favourite Fool cards).
2. The Old-Fashioned - Tarot of Mermaids
This is one of those tuck boxed, old-fashioned, mass market decks from the early 2000's. There's no diversity, most mermaids are thin, white and young. There are a few mermen in there but this isn't an inclusive deck. One more thing to note, if you're not comfortable with the naked form, this is not the deck for you. Most cards show topless mermaids. The scenes on the cards are mainly below water or at surface level and combining this with a muted colour palette, this is a very watery deck. There are some reds and ambers but shades of blue dominate. Being a Lo Scarabeo deck, the cards have five languages on the borders and in the Little White Book. The LWB has keywords and although this is an RWS deck there is a pip element to the images enabling some freedom of interpretation which is supported by the keywords. The card stock is playing card quality and shuffles very well. If you don't need diversity and don't mind nudity, going back to old-fashioned decks like this one can sometimes open up new ways to read and interpret the cards.
3. The Indie Version - Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot
This is the pricey end of the scale with all the extras expected of an independently produced deck minus the guidebook. It comes in a magnetic book style box, the card stock is a thick matt and it's edged in an antique gold. It looks and feels beautiful but it's not an easy shuffle, either overhand or riffle. Bridging is impossible unless you split the deck. There was some controversy attached to this deck when it was first released. From what I can gather, some people felt one or two of the cards looked too similar to another published deck. Having reviewed a lot of decks now, I've found remarkably close similarities in quite a number of them, so I don't think this deck deserves to be linked to any negativity. Furthermore, although this is a mermaid deck like the others, it has an altogether different feel. This is diverse and inclusive with no topless women! There are land and sea-based scenarios and the colour palette is varied between soft turquoise, salmon pinks, reds and greens with the odd bit of black striking a sharp note here and there. They're all encased in gentle sandy-coloured borders.
As mentioned, there is no physical guidebook which bearing in mind the amount of money you pay for this deck, is a bit disappointing. There is a link to a pdf but I've never found anything particularly helpful at the end of it myself.
In terms of the deck though, If you're looking for top quality and don't mind doing a messy table top shuffle (or a clumpy overhand) this deck has a fabulous 80's feel to it that reminds me of Adam Ant videos and Boy-George singing Karma Chameleon.
The Briefest of Summaries
Mermaid Tarot - Cute but with depth of story.
DD Mermaid - Alternative with an 80's vibe.
Tarot of Mermaids - Traditional with a pippish quality.