Apple Tarot by Shandra MacNeill
Review by Diane Wilkes

It helps to be familiar with the One-in-Ten Tarot by the same artist (Shandra MacNeill) when reviewing the Apple Tarot, a Major Arcana deck that is also a limited edition (but of 100, not 10!). Some of the cards are highly similar or almost identical--check out the Strength cards from each deck side-by-side. Both decks also include the Golden Dawn astrological symbol for each card somewhere within the artwork.

There are also some differences. One, of course, is the physical nature of this deck--it's far more standard, as the imagery is duplicated in black and white and the artist then hand-paints colored-portions of the cards, which are on heavy white cardstock.   Unlike the One-in-Ten, cards are numbered and titled. The card names are standard, though the Magician is the Mage and Temperance is Art. Lest you think MacNeill is unduly influenced by Crowley, Strength is VIII (and not entitled Lust!)--and the artwork is not really reminiscent of Lady Frieda Harris's. There is an energy and flow to some of the best cards that does remind one a bit of Thoth.

I think some of the Apple Tarot cards are an improvement over the One-in-Ten. I think the Empress, in particular, is more "Empress-y," for lack of a better word. The original version reminded me of the Star, but the Apple Tarot Empress is a perfect mate for her Pagan Emperor--both are shown in very natural, earth-entwined poses. On the other hand, the Lovers card is much less thoughtful and the Ten-in-One Temperance feels far more powerful and dynamic than the Apple Tarot version of the card.

The artwork in both decks is very nature-based and has a wonderful, holistic quality to it. I would like the plain white card backs to be a little more interesting--the artist could have even used a stamp, if she was unwilling to create a specific image for the backs. The oversized cards allow for a vivid and powerful presentation.

While the cards are much more prosaic in terms of being on plain white cardstock, the advantage goes to the Apple Tarot in terms of affordability. It is also much easier to track down a copy of this deck than the One-in-Ten!

  Yes No
78 cards   X
Reversible Backs X  
Strength VIII, Justice XI X  
Color Images X  
Standard (RWS) Titles of the Major Arcana X  
Traditional (RWS) Suits (Rods/Wands, Cups/Chalices, Swords, Pentacles/Disks) N/A  
Traditional (RWS) Golden Dawn Suit-Element Attributions N/A  
Standard dimensions (approx. 4 3/4" X 2 3/4")                     X
Smaller than standard                                             X
Larger than standard   
(4" X 5 1/2 ")                                 

Images 2002 Shandra MacNeill
Page and review 2003 Diane Wilkes