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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

This Tarot Deck Is for You and Your Feline Familiar

I admiringly refer to myself as a cat lady. I've also spent nearly all of my years obsessed with witches in pop culture—Practical Magic and The Craft were on constant replay in my house. If you've ever lived with cats, you'll know there's a bit of a crossover. Cats feel like magical creatures in tiny, furry bodies. They are weird and funny, sweet, and protective. 

So consider my amazement when I stumbled upon this Cats Rule the Earth Tarot Deck and guidebook. Tarot decks come in nearly any theme. There are ones themed around movies, decks with modern art, and even a Victorian-themed flora and animal deck. I have the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, but I also have a Barbie deck I cherish. Cats are, naturally, the next logical step for my collection, and none have quite caught my eye like this one. 

Tarot traditions say you should spend a lot of time with your deck for it to work well for you, so it makes sense to invest in decks that tickle your fancy, right? Whether you're a complete tarot newbie or are looking for a new deck, this one is a must-get for any cat lovers. 

Pick a Card

Tarot doesn't predict the future, and if you get a reading by someone who tells you otherwise, they're just in it for the con. It's fun to play, but the cards aren't meant to be taken literally. The death card, for example, rarely refers to physical death, but you can take it to mean the end of a certain something—a job or a relationship. Tarot might help you see a certain situation in your life a little differently; it's not too different from meditation. 

Even if you don't know the first thing about tarot, you can still appreciate the stunning feline illustrations in this deck, all done by Thiago Corrêa. The traditional depictions are expertly updated here. Death is represented by a cat skull; the Chariot is a cat in a wheelchair; and the Devil is a sphynx in a chain collar. There are one-eyed cats, sphynxes with tattoos, and cats in witch hats, naturally. 

Cats Rule the Earth Tarot: 78-Card Deck and Guidebook for the Feline-Obsessed$25 at Amazon$23 at Barnes & Noble$30 at Urban Outfitters$30 at Walmart

Sometimes I find modern interpretations of tarot cards to stray too far from the original and, as someone still trying to learn what the cards mean, it can get confusing. Here, that's not the case. The drawings are so good I've considered getting a second deck so I can frame a few in my cat corner—the part of my living room where the litter box sits is adorned in cat-related art.

Magic Flight

The cards are the draw here, but I was pleasantly surprised with the included guidebook written by Catherine Davidson. It’s one of the best books I’ve read that comes with a deck; often these included books leave me more confused about how to read the cards than I was when I started. This one is packed with information in small tidbits that are easy to digest. 

Experienced tarot readers likely have a deeper understanding than this book offers, but for those of us who need a little guidance, it's excellent. You'll find explanations of all 78 cards that are brief enough to understand quickly with enough room for your own interpretations. You can consult it while you read a spread without feeling like you've lost your groove. 

The guidebook also includes helpful pages on getting to know tarot, and Davidson breaks down the Major and Minor Arcana (what makes up any tarot deck) and what the numbers and court cards might signify. The Pages court card, for example, represents a young person with childlike qualities, such as curiosity and joy.

I like that the guidebook touches on the best practices for preparing to read and reading tarot, and also includes four examples of spreads to try, such as the Cat's Paw five-card spread. There's also advice on how to interpret the spread—not just the individual cards themselves but how they work as a group, the qualities they share, and their differences.

I don't know if I'll ever be a master tarot reader, but I already feel more equipped with this set. Whether you've never tried tarot before or you want to buy a gift for a friend who likes witchy things, consider this deck. The whole thing comes in a nice keepsake box. I already knew my cats were far superior beings to me, but this deck confirms it.

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