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Home > Books & Reviews > Decks > World Spirit Tarot Search

Tarot Deck Review:
The World Spirit Tarot

Authors: Jessica Godino & Lauren O'Leary Artist: Lauren O'Leary
Book and Cards Set
Publisher: Llewellyn
Publication date: June 2001
ISBN: 1567185002
View Sample Cards
Price & More Info: Click Here


The World Spirit Tarot is an unusual Tarot deck in several ways.

The most immediately noticeable way is the art. Each card is a hand-colored linoleum block print. This gives the deck an interesting style, somewhat reminiscent of woodcuts, but with a unique look all its own. The art is somewhat stylized as one might expect from such prints, but still manages to work a surprising amount of detail into most cards. The deck is a bit wider than normal, which provides more space for the art, but may make the deck harder to shuffle and handle if one has small hands.

The second noticeable unusual feature of this deck is the wide variety of people and situations depicted on the cards. Unlike most tarot decks, The World Spirit Tarot deck reflects the modern multi-racial, multi-cultural world we now live in. People of all races and many different cultures are featured on these cards. The deck doesn't even stay in the same time period. Some cards have illustrations from ancient times, others from the middle ages, and some from the modern day. While one might expect that such a deck would lack cohesion, the deck appears to have been planned around these variations and is surprising cohesive.

As you might expect from the above description, much of the symbolism of The World Spirit Tarot is new. However, O'Leary drew on a solid starting base, the art of Pamela Smith (the Rider-Waite deck) and the art of Frieda Harris (Crowley's Thoth Tarot). The only other major difference from the standard Tarot is the court cards. The standard Page, Knight, Queen, and King have been replaced with the Seer, Seeker, Sibyl, and Sage. Instead of representing a hierarchy, these cards are intended to represent different stages of development.

A larger than usual number of this deck's cards feature nudity or near nudity. While it is artistic rather than erotic nudity and is tastefully handled, people who have issues with nudity may wish to look at all the cards before deciding whether to purchase the deck.

The World Spirit Tarot comes with an approximately 3x5 inch, 160+ page, perfect bound manual. This small book is nicer that the small staple-bound booklet that accompanies many Tarot decks. It briefly describes how the deck was created, three simple tarot layouts (a three-card spread, a seven card spread, and the "standard" Celtic Cross) and a couple of pages on each of the 78 cards in the deck, over half with a black and white illustration of the card. The information is quite brief, although it might be enough for a determined beginner to start to use the deck in divination.

This deck is definitely worthy of consideration if you collect decks for their artwork as its linoleum print style is quite different. It's also worthy of consideration if you are an experienced reader looking for a multi-racial deck for divination. I can't recommend it for the complete beginner, however, as its style and symbolism are different enough that it may trip up a beginner if he is relying on one of the many standard beginner tarot books. That said, The World Spirit Tarot is one of the three decks featured in Janina Renee's new beginner tarot book aimed at young adults, Tarot for a New Generation. While I still personally think that a beginner does better to start with a fairly standard deck, a beginner with both this deck and Renee's book would probably do well.

Reviewed by Randall

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