Gummi Bear Tarot (Das Gummibarchen Tarot) by Dietmar Bittrich
Review by Diane Wilkes
Not many tarot decks come with a bag of candy. The Gummi Bear Tarot, a cute and cuddly Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) clone, does. It also comes with a 48 page book (written, alas, in German, so I can't give you any more information about that part of the package).
For those of you familiar with the Hello, Kitty Tarot, you know the drill. All the RWS images that have become part of your mental tarot library--the woman sitting up in bed, head in hands, in the Nine of Swords, the seven chalices, each filled with a different object, observed by a man's whose back is to you in the Seven of Cups, the Hermit with his staff in one hand and his lantern in the other--are all redone, with gummi bears replacing people, creating an atmosphere of winsome charm in even the most traditionally scarifying cards.
Perhaps you are tired of wincing when you see the Ten of Swords come up in a reading--wince no more with this deck, the flattened bear lying face down in the sand just needs his stuffing replaced. You can even imagine the swords in his back as holding the material together to keep the seams even. He'll soon be as good as new, and so will you, when this card appears in a spread.
For those of you looking for a deck to play storytelling games with your children, the Gummi Bear Tarot won't give them the hint of a nightmare, even if they pull the Devil, which just looks like a large fierce bear toying with some baby gummi bears, or Death, whose usually fearsome rider has a face that calls for a balloon coming out of his mouth saying, "Grrrrrrr." These images are as sugary as the little bag of candy that is packaged with the deck.
Court cards are now judged more by what they're wearing and doing on cards than ever when the bodies are those of amorphous bears. The Knight of Swords can only be racing to save the land of the furry ones, not acting as a soldier of fortune.
And, of course, the Six of Cups, always a sweet card, becomes a diabetic's nightmare--a guaranteed trip into sugar shock.
Cards measure 2" x 3 1/4", easily handled by wee ones, and have reversible backs with an aqua design. These small cards come in a large box (8" x 5 1/2" x 1") and once you open the plastic, you might want to find another home for the deck, as the cards scatter and become disordered. Inside the box is the companion book and the aforementioned plastic-bagged gummi bear candy. Cards follow the RWS titles and ordering, with Strength numbered VIII and Justice, XI.
I recommend this deck for tarot collectors and those who are looking for decks to use with their children, or tarotists who simply like cute decks.
You can purchase this deck from the German Amazon.com. Prices are quite reasonable (approximately 18 dollars when I last checked exchange rates), but be prepared for a hefty shipping rate.
Das Gummibarchen Tarot by Dietmar Bittrich
Images © 2001 Pendragon Press
Review and page © 2001 Diane Wilkes