The Transformational Tarot - Review by Michele Jackson

The Transformational Tarot's art is done in collage. Most of the images used are over 100 years old, with just enough modern images thrown in to keep it interesting. The deck is traditional in format with 78 cards, 22 Majors and 56 Minors. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Coins, but Ando uses a distinct set of glyphs to represent each suit. The symbols for Wands, Swords and Coins are derived from playing card symbols, while cups are represented by a chalice. The Majors have the card's roman numeral on the top and the card title on the bottom. The Majors also have the glyphs for their traditional (Golden Dawn) assigned zodiac signs in the lower left corner of the card. The Court Cards are King, Queen, Prince and Princess. Some of the Major Arcana names have been changed:

Justice is VIII and Strength is XI.

Ando's use of images is quite good. While most of the images are from "classic" art, there are some newer images as well. The collages are well thought out and provide enough symbols to convey a full, rich interpretation, but not so many as to appear busy or confused. The deck is serious, but unpretentious. Some of the images are fun: a skateboarder zooms down a curved staircase on Challenge (The Chariot), and the water bearer on Alchemy (Temperance) is wearing shades. Others are more somber: a Klansman in full regalia chases a black man on the 10 of swords, and demons torture souls on The Devil. My only complaint is that the cards are smaller than most decks. They are about the size of playing cards. When I find a deck whose images I find attractive, I want it to be as large as possible.

The Transformational Tarot is sold as a deck/book set. The book gives Ando's philosophy and has descriptions and interpretations for each card. On the down side, the brief section on Tarot history is inaccurate and the book provides only one spread, the Celtic Cross. Ando's interpretations for the Majors are fairly traditional for the most part, and there is a space provided at the bottom of each page for writing in your own interpretations.

This deck is quite unusual and I have found it to be both attractive and easy to read. I would recommend it for those looking for a fresh treatment of the traditional Tarot images and for collectors.

See more images from the Transformational Tarot Deck.

This deck is SOLD OUT!

Transformational Tarot
Artist/Author: Arnell Ando, M.A.
Inkwell Publishing
ISBN: 0-9649386-3-4
Price: $24.95 plus P&H


I felt a need to create my own Tarot deck for several reasons. Although I collect unusual Tarot decks, once I grasped the fundamental qualities and meanings of the cards, I found it increasingly frustrating to use other people's images, symbols and interpretations to express my understanding of the cards. I began to realize that this was a deeply personal journey and that an individual's Tarot deck represented their beliefs and interpretation of the inner and outer realities. I also found that by recreating the images of traditional Tarot cards, I was able to understand and relate to them in a whole new way, and thereby breath fresh life into an ancient form of teaching. My Tarot deck uses both personal and archetypal symbols accumulated from my life experiences, and recurrent dream images transformed through my study of spirituality and Jungian psychology. In a nutshell it expresses my mythology.

Transformational Tarot by Arnell Ando, M.A., pg. 8

Review Copyright 2000 Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes