Smoke, Ash & Embers
Have you pre-ordered Thistledown www.threetreestarot.co.uk yet? If you've been around the tarot-sphere for any length of time you'll probably be familiar with this deck and its predecessor Oak, Ash & Thorn. Now the wonderful artwork of Adam Oehlers and creative genius of Stephanie Burrows will be extended to an Oracle deck called Thistledown and although I don't normally spend much time with oracle, I had to order a copy as I've been so impressed with the other decks. The link is there if you fancy having a look.
You might be wondering, why review the Smoke, Ash & Embers deck first when its second in the series? Well, two reasons, firstly because I seem to have lost all my OA&T photography (I will re-do it as soon as the light improves) and secondly because, having just watched Prince Harry at the coronation, sometimes the second place just has to be given a chance to shine. Just because. Now, the enchanting forest where the cute dragons live is also inhabited by its elder sibling so you'll become familiar with the beautiful backgrounds in these cards but in this deck it's the dragons that will capture your attention.
From flying dragons, to water dragons, big and small, they're all adorable. I particularly love the use of colour for example in the Knight of Pentacles, here you can see the green dragon reflecting the earth energy of the suit and the russet red of the bed of leaves evoking the Knight's action energy. The swords suit is in darker shades of grey and minky browns with the cups in bluey-greenish tones.
One of the things that I love about this deck is that although I use it mainly for readings for myself, it works well when reading for others. It generally follows the RWS system but the images may be less obvious than the traditional human-inhabited decks so your client won't be so inclined to jump to conclusions about the message of a reading as soon as you turn the cards. As for suitability for "serious" readings, this is an animal deck, so you will have to be aware of your inclination toward those before purchasing. In the decks favour, they're not cartoon-style animals and the divine artwork really elevates the portrayal of these fantasy creatures.
And so, to quality. This is an independently produced deck and is priced as such. There's been a lot bit of a to-do in the YouTube tarot community recently when one Tarot-tuber grumbled rather loudly about the price of indie decks and suggested all deck reviewers should say what the deck cost and if they've been gifted it or not. I should perhaps take this opportunity to remind you that I have purchased all of the decks that I have reviewed on this website so have no bias towards any deck based on gifting. I won't be showing prices though, mainly because it'll depend on where you live, the exchange rate and the subsequent postal charges and customs fees how much cash you actually need to part with in order to get the deck into your hands.
For the price of the Smoke, Ash & Embers, you can expect excellent thick but flexible card stock in a smooth matt finish, a firm tuck box in the most perfect shade of sage green and two keyword cards to help you with meanings. The whole process is kept as environmentally friendly as possible so there's no physical guidebook but there is a helpful pdf that you can download. That includes the card description and card meaning for both the major and minor arcana. So as the sun shines down on one of our little fire-breathing friends and the rain pours outside, I'll sign off with a "God Save King Charles III"! Oh, and to Mixtress Rae, please keep on challenging the status quo, I may not agree with everything you say but you are a thought-leader.