The Prismatic Tarot is an independently published deck by Kelsey Showalter, available at Etsy, and as a stunning app from The Fool’s Dog, LLC. It was formerly known as The Illuminated Tarot and ran a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016. Changing the name seems to have been a good choice as there are a few decks already sporting the “Illuminated” title. The bold colors and strong lines lend themselves particularly well to presentation on the screen of a phone or tablet, and the apps by The Fool’s Dog have proven themselves to be the standard for the tech loving card reader.
The 78 cards come housed in a standard issue tuck box. I would prefer a sturdier two part box but with that come further production costs for which not all independent creators are prepared to foot the bill. The cards are a “standard” tarot size at 4 inches x 2.5 inches and as such should fit nicely into boxes and bags. The deck is structured as 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana, all with discreet Roman Numerals at the top of the card. This stylistic choice complements the art and coloring very well, as the cards, while not simplistic, do not waste a single line in frivolity. The earth tone color palette suits the art beautifully. The deck is by no means a clone deck but is firmly rooted in Waite Smith tradition and some Thoth influences so any reader who has a good grasp on that system should easily read this expressive deck. It does not include an instruction manual but one does not seem necessary, although a link is included on the box from which the booklet may be downloaded. The app includes full and vibrant text. The inhabitants of the deck are diverse in ethnicity and gender, sometimes fluid in theirs, but all are chiseled and svelte, with the exception of the self satisfied Nine of Cups. Some nudity is depicted. The borderless cards are printed on a flippy and pliable card stock that despite my riffle shuffling does not show any wear on the edges. The simple white circle within a thinner white circle on a black background that graces the backs of the cards is fully reversible.
This is a good deck for anyone who prefers a “traditional” system of tarot but does not care for the “traditional” art. The modern flair and bold style make this a good deck for the modern reader with sitters who won’t be scandalized by the, in my opinion, tasteful nudity. To me, this deck has a masculine and no nonsense energy about it. There are esoteric symbols on some of the cards for those who chose to read them but the art should also offer intuitive readers enough to work with in order to glean information from the cards. Some of the Minors are what I would call moody pips- not fully illustrated with a scene but evocative with the use of symbol and color anyway.
This is not a great deck for someone who does not care for the use of color or uninhibited nudes. I would not recommend this deck for a person who does not jive with the images, which is true of all decks, nor someone looking for a straight up clone deck.
As for me, I have found the deck to give straight forward, unfrilled readings with little ambiguity. I will continue to use the deck for my personal readings and as suits the tastes of my clients.
These images are from The Prismatic Tarot by Kelsey Showalter and are used for review purposes. Please visit the Etsy shop for yourself and consider or purchase or have some fun with the app.