Chrysalis Tarot Deck Review!
I just got the newly released Chrysalis Tarot and I love it, though as with just about every other deck, I do have a few small reservations. First the good: it's gorgeous, brightly colorful, uplifting, positive, fanciful, lovely - even the card backs are gorgeous and uplifting, with colorful butterflies over a sun-like center and blue spiraled background with beautifully ornate corners. I was totally drawn into this deck immediately - the colors called me in a soothing, yet upbeat way, and most of the card designs were compelling, and interesting enough to get my thoughtful attention. Artist Holly Sierra's art is decorative without being cloying or (for the most part) too cutesy and clearly a lot of thought has been put into the interpretations of the cards and their artistic interpretations (by writer Toney Brooks). I did a few spreads with the deck, and each time the results were meaningful and positive.
The deck changes the names of the four suits and the court cards, though that isn't problematic in itself. My biggest observation (rather than complaint) is that some of the artistic renderings do not follow the mainstream Rider-Waite or do not clearly express them, and so the LWB is essential for full understanding of the deck. A simple example is The Sun card, which has a tear falling from its eye. I wondered why, as The Sun in Rider-Waite is one of the most positive cards in the deck. Looking in the LWB, I read that "...Sun sheds a fatherly tear because so many of his children neglect beauty, truth and justice in favor of materialism, power and dogma." It goes on to say "... even a lamenting Sun is an excellent card to have in your reading." So it does follow the traditional meaning in fact, though you wouldn't quite get that just looking at the card on its own. There are a number of other cards where the meanings are difficult to deduct from just looking at the cards - take the 6 of Spirals (Wands), which in Rider-Waite shows a person riding clearly in triumph amongst a crowd. In Chrysalis, there are six decorative flags hanging from a tree with the sun in the background. Not a clear presentation of the core meaning of this card; if I were a beginner, I would have to definitely look in the LWB for clarification, which does note this is a card of success. So the deck doesn't so much deviate from the meanings of Rider-Waite as it doesn't quite clearly express those meanings in all of its depictions.
That said, all in all I think this deck is fabulous. I love its positiveness and beauty and it's a joy to look at and read with. Highly recommended for everyone, though beginners in particular should pay attention to the LWB that comes with it for guidance in interpretation.
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I am an intuitive counselor and visionary artist who has studied and worked with Tarot for over 20 years. I am an avid collector of tarot art, as well as a creator. I am the creator of four oracle decks. I also have an extensive collection of tarot art images on Pinterest.com which you can enjoy.