The Edgar Allan Poe Tarot
Created by Rose Wright
Illustrated by Eugene Smith
Published by Llewellyn Publications
Published September 8, 2020
288 page book
The Edgar Allan Poe Tarot is exactly what you would expect: a beautiful kit dramatically illustrated, complete with all the fog and candlelight and horror and mystery associated with Poe’s work. The 5 3/4 inch by 8 1/2 inch box, the work of art containing this vibrantly colored kit, is sturdy with a magnetic closure and a full-color glossy finish. The image on the front of the box is Poe himself. The back of the box has a brief destruction of the deck within, and five card images. The inside of the box is also full color with a glossy finish, illustrated with four more card images.
The first thing we see is the companion book, titled “The Edgar Allan Poe Companion.” The Companion is 5 1/4 inches by 8 inches, also with a full color glossy finish soft cover. The inside of the book is 288 pages of glossy and full color paper, with a lovely blue (the color of deep twilight sky) border around the pages. The Companion begins with an Introduction that offers some biographical information about Poe, some introductory definitions of terms connected to the Tarot, and a brief description of the setup of the Companion. Next comes more detailed information regarding shuffling, reversals, spreads and significators.
Next comes the information about the individual cards. Each card section has a beautiful and vibrant full page and full color image of the card, along with a page and a half to two pages of information about the card, broken into two segments: The Tell-Tale Heart which describes the symbolism of the card image through the works of Poe, and Into The Maelstrom, which offers more traditional card descriptions along with upright and reversed keywords. The Companion concludes with some expanded spread information, a Conclusion, and a list of the works of Poe that are cited in the book.
Under the Companion are the cards, nestled in a sturdy support with a ribbon that gives ease of access to the deck. Like the Companion, the cards themselves are vibrantly colored and eye-catching, with a glossy finish. They are a little on the small side, 2 3/4 inches by 4 5/8 inches, but the card stock is flexible, making the cards easy to handle. The images are borderless and go right to the card edges, with the name and number in a gold banner at the bottom. The card back is dark blue with gold scroll work and two images of the head of a raven holding an eyeball in its beak, perfectly in keeping with the horror theme of the deck.
While the symbolism of the card images is based on the Rider Waite Tarot, the cards have been creatively designed to pay homage to Poe, with each card image inspired by one of his works and filled with just enough darkness and Victorian gruesomeness to make the images fun. Rose Wright and Eugene Smith have worked hard to infuse Poe and his many works into every inch of this deck and Companion book, and I think their efforts have been successful.
Like Poe’s work, the Edgar Allan Poe Tarot deck is inspired by fears, excitement and dread. If you are not comfortable using a Tarot deck with images that fit in the “horror” genre, this deck may not be for you. Also a few of the card images can be a bit difficult to discern because the color shades all approach black, but perhaps a deeper look at those images might shed more light on them. Pun intended.
If you enjoy the works of Edgar Allan Poe (or want to learn about him and his work), you need to own this vibrant and dramatic themed Tarot Deck. If you are a collector of Tarot decks and kits, or if you enjoy “dark” or “spooky” themed decks, this would be an eye-catching inclusion in your collection. Even a new reader would be able to work with these cards and the instructions and information presented in the Companion book because both traditional and Poe-focused interpretations are included, especially if that new reader already knows something of Poe and his work. Personally, I’m pleased to have the Edgar Allan Poe Tarot in my collection.
Rose Wright is an author, certified Reiki healer, and lifelong student of the Tarot and astrology. She can be found along the Los Angeles shoreline practicing healing arts, tarot, astrology and energy work. In her spare time, she enjoys writing middle-grade fiction. Her work has been featured in The Cartomancer Magazine, Rue Morgue Magazine, Soul & Spirit Magazine, and Spirit & Destiny Magazine. She can also be heard on Coast-to-Coast, the Paranormal Podcast with Jim Harold, and America’s Most Haunted.
Eugene Smith, an artist and illustrator from a young age while growing up in California. He pursued a BFA in painting and drawing at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and has over a decade of experience creating illustrations for books, graphic novels, tarot cards, and multiple projects for the YA markets. Smith uses digital tools as a way to create illustrations that are bold, natural and narratively compelling. He currently lives in Chicago with his wife and daughters.
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.