Artist Beth Seilonen is a familiar name in the tarot community. Her original limited-edition, 78-card and majors-only decks have been floating around for many years now. In 2011, Schiffer released Beth’s Tarot Leaves deck, which features a variety of tree-species leaves on the cards. This new release, The Dream Raven Tarot, is yet another of Beth’s super-creative, theme-focused decks. The dream ravens depicted on the cards carry messages for the soul. Each card of this 78-card tarot deck features a raven (or ravens) in an appropriately tarot-like rendering.


The cards are fairly large at 3.5 x 5.75”, and printed on heavy glossy card stock. The glorious colors are the first thing you’ll notice as you look through the cards, and range from warm pastels to bright, vibrant tones. The images are primitive but complex. The birds take on the roles of the denizens of the traditional tarot characters.

The accompanying book, written by Ms. Seilonen, is a 128-page paperback book. The suits follow the popular elemental associations (Wands=Fire, Swords=Air). All of the cards have illustrated descriptions that engage in the dream theme, and show how things hiding in the unconscious can rise into awareness by connecting with each card. Reversed meanings are given. The Raven’s Claw spread (4-card) and Raven spread (6-card) are provided at the end of the book for use with this deck. The deck and book are packaged in a one-piece cigar-type box with a magnetic closure.


Although the deck follows the more-or-less traditional tarot format through the Major and Minor Arcana, the raven theme blurs some of the harshness of the more difficult cards. For example, the 9 of Swords card shows a weeping raven. Most of the swords are floating in spiraled feathers while a few float free. The background is snow-covered hills with barren tree and a dark, stormy sky. The symbolism is obvious to a reader familiar with the card, but it would be much less threatening to a client.

The suits have seasonal indications. The Sword cards are wintery. The Pentacle cards feature growing things and flowers. Birds in the Wand suit have little leaves or flames at the end of their feathers, and autumn colors predominate on trees in the background. The Cups suit doesn’t seem to focus on a season but instead on the element of water, with waves and lots of shades of blue.

 

The Dream Raven Tarot is a gorgeous deck to work with. The images are subtle but powerful and do, indeed, help the reader rummage around in hidden corners of the mind. Images and memories float up through the arrangement of wings and the interplay of color. This is a fine deck enhanced by excellent production values. We’ll look forward to seeing Ms. Seilonen’s Blue Cat Tarot, planned for release in October 2013.

~review by E. Hazel

Creator: Beth Seilonen
Schiffer Publishing, 2013
78-card deck and 128-page paperback book in a custom storage box, $39.99.

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