Artist: David Smith
Book and Cards Set
Publication date: May 2002
View Sample Cards
Price & More Info: Click Here
Most of us grew up visiting Oz, both through the books of L. Frank Baum and later authors and the famous movie. David Sexton has returned from a visit to Oz and has captured the characters and images of Oz and surrounding lands in a delightful Tarot deck. Any fan of Oz will probably love The Tarot of Oz. Sexton has done a fantastic job of putting the essence of Oz in a deck of Tarot cards. The deck is a bit larger than normal (just slightly smaller than 3 by 5 inches), but the cards are still surprisingly easy to shuffle and handle.
Part of the fun of first examining this deck is discovering which characters are on which cards, I will not spoil the joy of discovery by listing them all. I will say that Sexton has thought through his choices. While those choices are not always the ones I would have made, they are generally good choices. Okay, I don't suppose it would spoil the fun to mention a few of the obvious choices. Dorothy is the fool. The Wizard of Oz is the Magician. The Empress is Ozma. The suits of the minor arcana are swords, wands, cups, and stones. The minor arcana cards have individual illustrations, not just pips. While these illustrations are not as symbol-ladden as they are in some modern decks, they are usually appropriate to the card.
One unique visual feature of this deck is that each card's illustration is superimposed over the Z inside O symbol of Oz which is in the background on the upper half of each card. The color of the symbol of Oz varies with each suit. This visual device actually works much better than it probably sounds.
The Tarot of Oz comes with a small 3x5 inch, 180 page, perfect bound manual, which is much nicer that the small staple-bound booklet that accompanies many Tarot decks. This small book skips the Tarot history and Tarot theory found in most deck books. Instead, it concentrates on thoroughly -- if briefly -- describing each card. Each description explains who the characters on the card are as well as a standard meaning for the card in divination. A short appendix gives descriptions of two Tarot spreads: the standard Celtic Cross spread and a spread created for this deck, the Yellow Brick Road spread. While this book is useful, it would not replace a basic book of the Tarot for a beginning Tarot reader.
Should you buy this deck? If you, like me, are an Oz fan (or have a child who is an Oz fan), the answer is obvious. In fact, if you are an Oz fan, you may have stopped reading this boring review long ago and gone out to get your own copy. If you are just looking for a good divination deck, however, it's harder to say. Some people may have trouble taking a deck seriously when the Scarecrow or the Tin Man are staring them in the face, for example. The Tarot of Oz would probably make a great first deck for a child. However, most children will need help from a parent or older sibling to shuffle the large cards.
Reviewed by Randall