Forest Folklore Tarot by Kessia Beverley-Smith
Review by Joan Cole

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here

For lovers of black cats and bluebell woods, here is a neo-pagan friendly deck firmly based in the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) illustrative tradition.  Illustrated and created in the area of New Forest in Hampshire U.K., it reminds me of the Arthurian Tarot in its homage to the British greenwood.  Yet rather than evoking the Iron Age Celtic hero King Arthur, this deck is more modern, with more of a Harry Potter vibe. 

The art is composed of finely rendered watercolor portraits of woodland peoples and animals, with light-dappled backgrounds suggestive, rather than photorealistically detailed, of the woodland setting.  The feeling is gentle and calm.  Notice the peaceful dogs in the beautiful Moon card.  There is very little ominous or heavy about this card.  And these dogs remind me of those on the Soprafino deck.

The Major Arcana have the RWS titles and ordering (with Strength as the eighth card).  The imagery alludes to the RWS, but in a minimalistic way, and with clever twists.  For instance, the Magician, just like Ciro Marchetti’s Magician in the Gilded Tarot, manages to allude both to the Renaissance “thimble-rigger” or juggler and RWS  Ouroboros snake and four suit symbols. 

The Minor Arcana each represent a particular woodland otherworldly race, and each Ace bears a totemic creature.  The court cards are Lady, Knight, Queen and King.  As with the Major Arcana, the images of the Minor cards generally relate to RWS scenes, yet this is more of an improvisation than a straight variation.  Occasionally, as in the Six of Cups, an image appears in an unexpected context, but for the most part, the Minor Arcana meanings that work with the RWS work with this deck.


Minor Arcana Suits


Forest Folklore

Associated Forest Folk





Native Pony



Water Nymphs












The Forest Folklore Tarot Deck by Kessia Beverley-Smith
Publisher: US Games System
ISBN #: 1572814756


If you would like to purchase this deck, click here


Joan Cole is a stay-at-home mom and former geek.   She has been studying Tarot off and on since the early 1980's.  You can see her deck collection here.



Illustrations from the Forest Folklore Tarot reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA.  Copyright 2005 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.  Further reproduction prohibited.