I was wandering around a local Dollar Tree store (if you are not familiar with these stores they sell everything for one dollar). Something caught my eye…a deck of tarot cards for one dollar! Wow! Usually tarot decks are fairly pricey. I was intrigued. What type of tarot deck would I get for a single dollar? Would it be a true tarot deck? Would it have original work, or be a knockoff, crapola or something aimed strictly for children? These cards were found in the toy isle.
I decided to check it out and bought a deck. I was pleasantly surprised. They had original, nicely done artwork. The deck is based on actual tarot cards. They appear inspired by the classic Rider-Waite tarot deck. It contains both the Major and Minor Arcana. The pip cards do not contain individual imagery as the Rider-Waite deck did, but all the face cards and aces do.
The Major Arcana contains a written meaning for the past, present or future on its face. This makes it easy for children to use them without having to look up the meanings in an instruction booklet, but is pointless for a mature card reader. There is a layout chart included with the deck describing how to lay out the cards with areas for past/present/future.
The cards are smaller then a typical full sized deck. The style essentially illustrates the head portion of the Rider-Waite cards. If you look at the comparison of the Magician card, it appears to be a close-up of the head and shoulders. Even the headband is there! However there is an original interpretation involved. Notice how the Magician appears to be in an action pose, as if about to cast a spell.
The cards that don’t focus on a single character’s head shot tend to mirror the look of the Rider-Waite cards but again with significant differences. My favorite interpretation was this deck’s Hanged Man. Someone put thought behind this image. They filled out the empty space behind the Rider-Waite’s Hanged Man to good effect, an improvement I think.
Who created these cards? On the back of the package it stated: “Created by internationally know medium Docc Hilford & American Mentalist Jon Stetson.” I find it hard to believe professional mentalists are also artists. I’d like to know who REALLY designed these cards.
What to call these cards? The Dollar Tree Tarot Cards? Perhaps they should be called the Hilford-Stetson Deck? How about the Dollar Tree Docc Hilford/Jon Stetson Tarot Cards, or the DTDHJS deck for short? I’ll stick with the Dollar Tree Tarot Cards.