Granny Jones Australian Tarot - Review by Valerie Sim-Behi

This deck has been a total nemesis for me.   I longed for it. Then I hated it.  Then I laughed with it.   Now I enjoy it...

I first heard about this deck from an online tarot friend. She was completely enamored of the deck and did some incredible readings with it. Based on her glowing descriptions alone, I coveted this deck. My dark "deck-collector-self" took over. I HAD to have it...

By the time this covetous mindset was in effect the deck was "OOP" (out of print). I searched the net in vain. Finally I found the deck in an out of the way place and transmitted my order for the deck/book set. To this point I had never viewed a single card from the deck.... Order placed blindly, I was eagerly awaiting my trans-Atlantic shipment.

Then it occurred to me belatedly: Contact Michele Jackson! Surely she would have something to say about this deck, or better yet, some card scans!  Contact her I did, and she supplied me with the following scans... And I was crestfallen...

THIS primitive art is what I had lusted for? These crayon sketches of no talent were what I had paid dearly for? I felt *burnt*. I felt swindled and ashamed, like I had been caught with my pants down... yet I waited...

My deck/book set arrived a few days later. I was prepared to hate it as I opened the package. My 17 year old daughter, Tiffany, was present as we unwrapped the package. While we opened it I was saying "It is really ugly. I can't believe I spent money for it"... Tiffany turned to me and said "Mom, I like it."

Gradually I began to see those crayoned pictures through the eyes of a seventeen year old reader... I was able to find the spider I had found so repugnant earlier to be "kind of cute."

I am really glad to have been gifted with this extra set of eyes. It has been a long time since I was seventeen and convinced of the power of both cartoons & miracles. Now when I use this deck, it makes me laugh, and I remember my youth.... And I have also since then gotten some incredible readings from it.

Here are a few non-artistically based things about this deck upon which Tiffany and I now agree:

1) There are far too many cards attributed to travel! I see travel in many of the cards, but NOT in almost one third of the deck as does Rebecca "Granny" Jones. Perhaps she never got out of Australia and always longed to so so? I can only guess.

2) Love those cats! You either love cats or you hate them! Personally, I adore seeing these feline caricatures turn up repeatedly. Granny is delightfully, yet harm-none witchy. Her cat is a welcome and *familiar* touch.

3) Symbolism - Though her artistic talents are practically nil (sorry, Granny) I do like the use of repetitive symbols for interpretation (i.e a winged letter alway means a message, Suns always imbue happiness, scissors cut something short, etc.)

After a shilly-shallying which I have detailed, I have to give this deck a "thumbs up". It is NOT fine art. It is not even incredibly original. But it does allow you to laugh and learn as you read your way through life. Put the art critic aside and give it a try. You might surprise yourself!

Granny Jones Tarot
Rebecca Jones
1994 Kangaroo Press Ltd.
ISBN 0-86417-665-1

About the Author:

Valerie Sim-Behi is the founder and moderator of Comparative Tarot, an email list devoted to studying cards of different decks  in comparison to each other.   She has worked with the tarot for over 30 years, recently attending a Blake Tarot Workshop with Ed Buryn.  Valerie created a spread that will appear in the book accompanying the Victoria-Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall, and has written various articles, including one on the Comparative Tarot method that will be published in Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar 2002.  You can visit Valerie at the Comparative Tarot website.

Review Copyright  2000 Valerie Sim-Behi
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes