LongMoment Tarot Deck by Greg Hoose
Review by Lee A. Bursten
Here is another Tarot deck by the author/artist Greg Hoose,
whose previous deck was the Fae Tarot. In this deck, Hoose selects Chinese Sumi art as his theme, a
discipline which he has studied and practiced for several years.
Like the earlier deck, the images are all created digitally.
The Majors have titles which presumably refer to Chinese
folklore, followed by the standard Tarot title, such as Rain Fairy (Fortune) or
Underwater Garden (Death/Night). Sometimes
these titles in parentheses refer to the corresponding card in the Fae Tarot.
The deck is accompanied by a small booklet which gives a verse of poetry
and very short upright and reversed divinatory meanings for each card.
Like the earlier deck, the cards are colorful and
attractive. But unlike the Fae
Tarot, this deck is done in a variety of styles.
Some cards are presented in landscape orientation.
Some cards, like the Storm Genie (Emperor), seem comparable to
present-day Asian popular art or animation, while others, like the Seven of
Pentangles, are done in traditional styles.
Some of the people shown on the Majors look rather elfin, with pointed
The Fae Tarot was notable for its slightly out-of-focus
appearance, but the lines in LongMoment are much sharper, which contrasts well
with the soft colors.
I was particularly intrigued by some of the Majors which
seem to offer different perspectives on the familiar archetypes, for example The
Hive (Hierophant), or Ceramic House (The World). The LWB’s text for The Hive points to a recurring problem I
had with this deck, which is that for many of the cards neither the poetry nor
the divinatory meanings seem to have much to do with the cards’ image.
For The Hive, the text says “In this Union of our Souls/ In the Magic
that we behold/ We see each other and no one else.”
The divinatory meanings are, for upright, “Marriage,” and for
reversed, “Society.” Perhaps there are links between the image and the particular
folktales which the image refers to, but I feel as if I’m not being given
enough information to figure out the connections.
Ceramic House (The World), however, is one example where
the text does indeed seem connected to the image and, in a way, to standard
Tarot symbology, and is quite evocative: “Magic
spaces, quiet and smooth, ancient High definition so smooth, so smooth what life
could be there? In infinite light?
Only touch the surface clean and bright/ And your Soul cries out to the
night and pulls us to the space within.”
The upright meaning is “Path to Success” and the reversed is
Some of the Majors are seemingly unrelated to their
standard Tarot counterparts. For
example, card number 12, ordinarily The Hanged Man, has become The Performer
(Inspiration), with divinatory meanings of “Wisdom” (upright) and
“Selfishness” (reversed). It’s
certainly a pretty card, though.
In the Fae Tarot, Hoose avoided any negative image in the
Minors. In this deck, however, we
see a frightening apparition (a green-skinned fairy) for Illness Fey (The
Tower), with a divinatory meaning of “Misery.”
Some cards, like The Square (The
Star), I can’t make
heads or tails of. An object is
pictured which is unfamiliar to me, the poetry is obscure (“Lost in distance,
knowledge lingers/ that which once was our servant is now our Lord”), and the
divinatory meanings, once again, seem unrelated to either the image or standard
Tarot (“Loss” for upright, “Arrogance”
For the Minor Arcana, Cups are represented by people,
Swords by animals, Wands by plants, and “Pentangles” (the author’s
preferred spelling for Pentacles) by scenes.
Although the art on the Minors is particularly attractive, often showing
simple scenes, such as a grasshopper on one card or a flower on another, these
cards are very puzzling to me. The
numbers seem to have been assigned to the cards at random and are not reflected
in the scene. Even a card which is
subtitled “Five Trees,” and which actually shows five trees, is assigned to
the Two of Wands, rather than the Five. The
divinatory meanings for the Minors are sometimes directly or indirectly related
to the picture, but all too often the connection between image and meaning
remains mysterious. For example, in
the Five of Cups, a man is shown gardening.
The divinatory meanings are “Bitterness with the Sweet” for upright,
and “Close accord” for reversed. The
poetry in this case doesn’t help me: “As an artist of the earth/ each stroke
that doth apply/ each furrow a challenge./ And were the seed but a mean particle
of space but for the hidden life!”
Other Minors, though, do make much more sense to me, such
as the Seven of Pentagles, which shows a waterfall. The text says, “Water falling! How can we climb back upon
its slippery slopes? Such is the
purity of weight that draws us down an keeps us close upon ground!
But for some that pinnacle star – ‘tis attainable, attainable.”
Divinatory meaning: “Strife for success,” reversed: “Monetary
anxiety.” Many of the reversed
meanings in this deck are opaque to me; I have no idea where “monetary
anxiety” comes from.
Overall, while I admire much of the art on these cards, I
can’t say that I consider it a complete success as a Tarot deck.
Unlike the Fae Tarot, which mostly adhered to the standard Tarot
structure in concepts and meanings, the LongMoment deck goes its own way, and
without some further information from the author to help us understand why those
cards which are departures from standard symbology have been assigned their
LongMoment meanings, it becomes mostly a bunch of pretty pictures together with
some puzzling words.
As in his previous deck, the packaging is superlative.
The deck comes wrapped in a shiny red wrapper and nestled inside a unique
box, made of thin strips of balsa wood woven together, and tied with a red
ribbon. A signature card is
included, along with a card with a short paragraph about meditating with the
cards. The cards are well-printed,
laminated on both sides, and the corners well-rounded.
Fae Tarot Deck by Greg Hoose
Available at the author’s website
Lee A. Bursten has been studying Tarot off and on for about 20 years. He enjoys reading about Tarot and searching for the "Perfect Deck," which is always just around the corner but out of reach. He is very grateful to Michele and Diane for posting his reviews, and especially to his significant other, Larry Katz, for his superhuman patience.
Review © 2002 Lee
Page © 2002 Diane Wilkes