Although time keeps passing by, I feel like just yesterday I was opening my Yuletide presents. It was a nice, relatively quiet day, and a special family dinner. My inner child, however, got a gift that I wanted to give him for a long time. As soon as I saw there was a Disney Villains tarot deck, I knew I needed it, and it has quickly become one of my favorites.
Everyone who knows me knows that I always have a deck of cards with me, that I’m always ready for a consultation, and I really enjoy doing them. I have some dark decks, which can even seem violent, but those are precisely the decks with which I understand myself best. However, my inner child screamed with delight when I saw this one, by author Minerva Siegel and illustrations by Ellie Goldwine.
Published by Insight Editions, the Disney Villains Tarot Deck and Guidebook is an officially licensed deck that combines traditional tarot imagery with characters from the classic Disney animated canon. The deck includes the minor and major arcana in the Disney style. In addition to the deck itself, there is a full-color, 128-page guidebook.
The bright colors make it very eye-catching, and while it’s colorful, as you’d expect from a children’s deck, it has a dark aesthetic that’s very much in keeping with the theme. Night scenes, shadows, chiaroscuro games, extravagant tones, and designs that respect the original appearance of each character make the deck a delight to the eyes.
The size is very comfortable for the hands, and the texture of the cards is quite soft. One detail that caught my eye is that the edge of the cards is slightly curved back, which gives them a more interesting look. The contrast of colors turns each card into a small work of art, especially the major arcana.
Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with frameworks when it comes to decks, but in this case it’s more love than anything else because of how minimalistic and detailed it is. Shuffling it is quite comfortable too, and I think that detail on the edges has something to do with it, although for delicate hands it can be a bit difficult; I am thankful for my big hands.
The instruction book, with the meanings and the readings, is quite direct, full of humor and references to connect both the traditional message of each card with the scenes that appear in each one. For example, comparing the judgment card to the volatile character of Alice in Wonderland‘s Queen of Hearts, the vanity and banality of the queen of wands to Snow White‘s Queen’s obsession with beauty, and to obvious references such as placing Hades as the Death card.
In one complaint about the aesthetics of the deck, I really needed to see the villains of Pinocchio present, but they are missing. Although it has been somewhat forgotten for not having princes or princesses, it is still an emblematic film of the House of Mouse. It pains me not to see Honest John, Gideon, Stromboli, the coachman, or Monstro, or a even reference to them. I could say that, apart from Snow White, it is one of my favorite stories, both for its plot and for its teachings. I think it even influenced me to be a scholar from a young age because that Pleasure Island transformation sequence terrifies anyone.
I would also say that the readings are excessively simple and very similar. I know it’s supposed to be a simple deck, maybe even kid-friendly, but I still think the readings could have been improved, perhaps including some that were longer, or for different purposes.
Here I want to make a parenthesis to tell you about something that happened to me: when I tried the readings of this deck for the first time, I got the character that titles each reading when I draw the cards. I’ve never had anything like this happen before, and I want to think of it as a sign that I’m on the right track with this deck.
It’s a deck that I fell in love almost immediately. The readings are very pleasant, the atmosphere lightens, and it is easy to have a good time every time I have to ask a question. I have heard on the internet that it is a special deck to work on the inner child, an opinion that I fully support, although it seems to me to be a fairly versatile tarot and that it would rather be ideal for first-time readers.
The only things I haven’t tried yet with this deck are meditating with it and using the cards in spells or rituals, but I’m sure there won’t be any problem with using it for that purpose.