Edyta Gądek Tarot by Edyta Gądek
Review by Diane Wilkes

Is the Hanson-Roberts just too hardcore for you? No problem...there's a kinder, gentler deck out there with your name on it. The only problems? The companion book is in Polish and the pips aren't illustrated with a mnemonic picture. Oh, yeah, and it's not the easiest deck to track down. Other than that, though, the Edyta Gądek Tarot could be your tarot soul mate.

This Polish deck comes in an oversized box, lined in blue pseudo-velvet, which clashes somewhat with the green backs and small green companion booklet. As soon as you begin to look at the cards, the words winsome, whimsical, and charming come to mind.

One does not get a glimpse of the Fool's face, but you know there's a smile upon it, and yes, you know he's whistling a merry tune as he walks off that cliff. You know this by his over-wide, jaunty step and the feathers and flowers that dance upon the brim of his hat. The Magician has a serious look on his sweet face--he reminds you of every mother's son as he says his lines in the school play--he is totally focused, but lacks the panache and self-assurance of Mercury. The High Priestess is Hermione Granger grown up, all serious intent and determination. The Empress is a child bride, and the Emperor, despite his blonde Santa Claus beard, a young boy king.

The Pope is interesting, though; instead of acolytes, two countrywomen stand next to a baptismal font. There's a dash of folk magic in this card that I quite like, a reminder that kitchen witches often have plaster saints on their countertops.

But then we return to more placidity with the Lovers, a pictorial of a pre-teen's most innocent and romantic fantasies. And so it goes in the land of the gentle cards...even Death carries a bouquet of blue flowers and wears a friendly grin and the Devil's face is gently bovine. The naked people kneeling at his feet are paying tribute to masks...because there's nothing to be scared of in the Edyta Gądek Tarot.

The Tower of God? Nothing to be afraid of there, either...it's Jack and Jill tumbling down, no doubt to safety, since the top of the tower is aflame. The Sun (see top) follows soon thereafter--Jack and Jill reborn, hands, clasped, new souls standing under the rays of a warm and friendly golden orb.

Alas, we soon reach the less congenial land of Pips, where we actually have to learn suits and numbers in combination without a helpful image to hold onto. The Five of Cups seems sad, with its green and blue tears dotting the background...but these same tears accompany the Six of Cups, which we all know isn't nearly as sad. So the illustrations, such as they are, don't give us even a hint! Pout, pout.

I know you'll be shocked, but it's true--the Court Cards are all sweetness and light and youth, too. Even the Kings are young and impressionable. The King of Wands looks like a big puppy, waiting to do his mother's bidding.

The quality of the cards is excellent. They are standard sized, smooth and easy to shuffle. The card backs are not-quite-reversible and...yes, gosh darn it, quite charming, with a sun-moon face against a green background dabbed with snowflakes. The companion booklet has a cover and is 88 pages, but is in Polish, so I can't get much of a clue as to its contents.

The deck is really quite charming. I recommend it for those who have a sweet tooth when it comes to tarot decks, as well as collectors and those who like decks suitable for children. The Edyta Gądek will not give anyone nightmares...unless one is seeking to purchase it, since it is hard to find.

Edyta Gądek Tarot by Edyta Gądek
Publisher: Wszelkie prawa zastrzeżone (Trefl)

  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) X  
Traditional (RWS) Golden Dawn Suit-Element Attributions   X
Standard dimensions (approx. 4 3/4" X 2 3/4")                   X  
Smaller than standard                                             X
Larger than standard                                              X

On loan from the Brigit Horner Collection
Images 1997 Trefl
Review and page 2003-2004 Diane Wilkes