October marks a very important month for Weiser Books with the release of our first major Tarot deck in over 40 years. The English Magic Tarot, available everywhere books are sold, is a unique Tarot deck based on the English magical tradition. This turbulent period of Henry VIII to the Restoration provides the perfect setting for this deck. The contributors, artist Rex Van Ryn, colorist Steve Dooley, and writer Andy Letcher provide a dynamic graphic style and plenty of twists and turns, riddles and more.
“The English Magic Tarot is Weiser’s first major Tarot deck since our involvement with Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot in the 1970s. It has so much going for it, that’s it hard to know where to start. What drew me into the project at first was the art by Rex Van Ryn and the coloring by Steve Dooley. It immediately reminded me of a graphic novel, and I knew that it would appeal not only to our traditional Weiser audience but to fans of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore as well. Then as I began reading Andy Letcher’s text, I knew for sure it was something that only Weiser could publish. Setting the cards in the Elizabethan era allows for magician John Dee to play a central role in the deck, bringing in elements of the Cabbala, Alchemy, Enochian Magic that foreshadow the work of Eliphas Levi, A.E. Waite, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and even Crowley. In many ways English magic is Weiser magic. The Foreword by Philip Carr-Gomm is an added bonus, and I haven’t even mentioned the riddles, arcane symbolism, and hidden messages encoded in the cards — but you’ll need to discover and decode those for yourself,” Michael Kerber, president of Red Wheel/Weiser, said about the deck.
Now for a little background on where the deck originated. The creators, Rex, Steve and Andy, all reside in a magical little town called Chagford, in Dartmoor, England. Rex and Steve met over ten years ago while walking, and Andy moved to Chagford more recently. Steve describes how they all became involved with this project as “fortuitous” and they “were all bound to meet and work together.”
The English Magic Tarot has been the subject of Tarot forums and websites well before it was released. Now available, the praise continues to flow in. It’s proving to be much more than just “another Tarot deck” and claiming its spot as a distinctive deck that many admire.
Tarot has become wildly popular over the last couple of years. Many collect decks for the often unique artwork and to add to their ever growing collections, while for others, it is about utilizing the Tarot as a form of divination; performing daily readings for others and themselves.
Judika Illes, Tarot reader and author of The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten, The Big Book of Practical Spells and many others, had the pleasure of using The English Magic Tarot deck for readings during the SIBA 2016 show. Her experience with them was certainly a positive one.
“I recently had the opportunity to read with The English Magic Tarot in a professional setting. This was at a conference and people I had never previously met lined up for readings. Experienced card readers know that there are brilliant Tarot decks and then there are brilliant Tarot decks that work. I was so pleased and delighted to see how well The English Magic Tarot works as a divination tool. It offers new and insightful perspectives, while maintaining the reliability of its RWS roots.”
Courtney Weber, author of Tarot for One, utilizes the Tarot for her daily practice, and teaches others to do the same.
“Tarot has always carved lines of understanding in chaotic, transitory periods. In the kind of tumultuous, uncertain times we are currently experiencing, I believe people crave perspective. I also think people are finding more spiritual fulfillment in private, personal outlets. The Tarot provides all of that, offering direction in moments of confusion.”