Mansions of the Moon Tarot by Diane Wilkes

I remember a time when the only collage deck I knew of was Wanless’ Voyager Tarot.  I found these cards difficult to “enter;” they seemed dissonant, distracting.  While I could read with them, I didn’t much want to.   Then I saw Arnell Ando’s Transformational Tarot and fell in love.  These were cards I could enter.  Not only that, I wanted to do so.  Their cohesion made them positively enticing.  However, I was so ignorant of artistic techniques that I didn’t realize that Transformational Tarot was a collage deck.  It certainly didn’t resemble Voyager, the one I knew.

Now I am the proud possessor of several beautiful collage decks, and would say that, when done well (ie., Jumbledance Tarot by Alexandra Genetti, Evolving and Aleph-Beth Tarot by Michele Jackson, and all of Arnell Ando’s decks), they are my favorite Tarot decks of all.

It’s time to add a new name to that august list: Dennis Hogue.  His Mansions of the Moon Tarot has the qualities I seek in a deck of any artistic persuasion: pleasing and cohesive imagery, a nice use of color, and a way of conveying new insights within an old system.  Justice has the requisite scales and sword, but the blind woman is the statue balancing bowls in each hand  and is seen most recently in promotions for Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Since that book/movie is centered about a court case that makes us look at “justice” a bit differently, this enhances my understanding of the archetype. 

Hogue occasionally repeats symbols within the cards.  Justice, as seen earlier, has scales and the echoing image of the blind woman balancing bowls—both are weighing images.   Temperance has a lady with vessels in both hands, as well as one ritual cup pouring magically into another in the upper left hand corner of the card (Look Ma—No Hands!).  The cards are filled with Suns and Moons and pagan imagery abounds. 

But the Mansions of the Moon Tarot appeals to me most because of the vivid colors and the wonderful images mixed with flair and depth.  The Queen of Wands, my significator, is not just fiery, but magical and creative.  She bursts with energy and drive—a perfect card to inspire me when writing or engaged in creative ritual.  The Six of Cups is a particular favorite; it not only arouses a pleasant nostalgia, but speaks of universal exchange as children of different races dance in a circle on a field of flowers.  The Two of Cups bubbles like champagne, and a couple is ensconced in a small bubble of their own, mid-card.

Hogue’s artistic expression is powerful and striking; his execution, however, is not always perfect.  “Emperor” is misspelled and the scissorwork isn’t consistently dextrous.  But this just adds to my enjoyment of this deck—the flaws make it less polished, which, in this case, equates to a kind of Tarot verite¢.   If I were to assign a suit to this deck, it would be that of Wands—Mansions of the Moon Tarot has a pulse.  It reverberates, it positively vibrates with life and energy.  I love its spark. 

I recommend this deck to collage fans and those who like vibrant colors and images.  I also believe that the Pagan imagery would appeal to some Tarot enthusiasts. 

 Images Copyright Dennis Hogue

Review Copyright Diane Wilkes

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