Tarot Deck Review
The Mystical Dream Tarot
Life Guidance From the Depths of Our Unconscious by Dr. Janet Piedilato
The Mystical Dream Tarot is created and written by Dr. Janet Piedilato with woodcutting artwork by Tom Duxbury based on Dr. Piedilato’s watercolor illustrations, published by Eddison Books Limited, Suite 322-323, 3 Shortlands, Hammersmith, London, W6 8DA. Dr. Piedilato is a transpersonal psychologist and complementary healthcare consultant who holds doctorates in biology and transpersonal psychology, and has spent a lifetime studying altered states as represented by visionary, dream, and shamanic experiences. This interesting pedigree has allowed Dr. Piedilato to create a powerful and intriguing Tarot deck that offers insights into dreams and visions within a new iteration of the Tarot framework.
The Mystical Dream Tarot comes in a sturdy 6 ½ inch by 8 ¾ inch cardboard box with a matte finish color illustration of The Innocent (this deck’s version of The Fool of the Major Arcana) on the front, and a description of the deck along with three sample cards on the back. The deck and guidebook are contained in an inner pull-out with a ribbon handle; inside the pull-out is a tray that holds the deck in two piles, with the guidebook fitting securely on top.
The deck itself consists of 78 beautiful cards measuring 3 inches by 4 ¾ inches, fitting nicely in my hand. The card stock is sturdy enough to withstand shuffling; the finish is glossy, nicely slippery, which also aids in shuffling. The color card images fill the card surface without borders, and the name and card number are found in a banner at the lower edge. The card images are all lovely woodcuttings that are based on Dr. Piedilatos watercolor images. The basic palette is mostly blues, grays and creams, along with earthy reds, greens, browns and lavenders. The back of the card has a gray and silver starburst pattern.
The guidebook is 5 ¾ inches by a little over 8 inches, has 159 off-white pages with easily-readable black text, with a glossy color softcover printed with the same image as the front of the box. The book begins with an Introduction by the author, followed by 105 pages of card descriptions. Part 1, The Major Arcana, begins with a brief description of this deck’s Major Arcana and a chart showing the card names (along with the corresponding traditional card names) followed by descriptions of the Majors. Part 2, The Minor Arcana, describes the Minors and contains a chart showing the Court Cards of this deck (along with the corresponding traditional rankings), followed by the descriptions of the Minors. The card descriptions, two pages for each card, contain the card name, a black-and-white card image, several paragraphs describing the symbolism found within the card image, and an upright and reversed interpretation of the card. Part 3, Working With the Deck, contains suggestions for connecting with the cards, four spreads each with a sample reading, and a section titled The Dream Incubation Portal Reading which describes how to use the Major Arcana cards for dream or vision incubation, complete with a suggested incubation reading for each of the Majors. The guidebook finishes with a few blank pages for notes, a reading list, and the author’s acknowledgments.
While set up with a traditional Tarot structure, the Mystical Dream Tarot is not a completely traditional deck based on traditional meanings with images that contain traditional symbolism. If you are interested in learning the Tarot and working with a Tarot deck that contains these things, this is not the deck for you. However, I would not discourage a new reader from using this deck. The guidebook offers enough specific information about the cards that would allow someone with no prior experience to use them effectively. Without a prior familiarity of the traditional Tarot structure, the new reader just might have an easier time connecting with these cards and their non-traditional images and meanings.
If you are an intuitive reader, or if you are interested in dreams and visions and how they can be interpreted, I highly recommend this deck. The images on the cards appear familiar and surreal at the same time (similar to many of my own dreams) and they inspire and invite a deeper exploration of the subconscious. I used the cards for several weeks before writing this review. I found the card images as catalysts to remembering and understanding my own dreams, and found the guidebook well written, with card descriptions presented in an allegorical style that tell the stories of the card images in a way that encourages improvisation. The Dream Incubation section is a nice bonus that fits with the overall theme of the deck.
The Mystical Dream Tarot is a re-imagining of a traditional Tarot deck, focusing on dreams and visions. This lovely Tarot deck offers a reader a valuable tool for tapping into the subconscious and understanding the messages of dreams and visions.
About the Author:
Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher. Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.