The Simple Tarot by Willie Hewes

Review by Traci Darin


The Simple Tarot at first glance seems almost too simple.  An initial impulse might be to say, “Oh, this would be great for a child!” and indeed, its clear, simple function as a workable tarot deck with non-intimidating images does lend itself to that.


However, the simplicity of this deck lies in its subtle and powerful sophistication.  The images are so simple that they don’t tell a story to you, they engage your own ‘inner child’ or active imagination and the story that unfolds is your own.


The first card that engaged me this way was the Page of Wands.  I pulled it as my card of the day and at first couldn’t relate it to what I had planned that day.  I kept looking at it and then it took me back to my childhood, growing up on a farm, where my favorite play activity was to make an imaginary village amongst an old Locus Tree’s roots.  I would create ponds, if it had rained the night before or build stables for my countless horse statues out of wind blown twigs...  As I related that memory to the image as card of the day, I asked myself, “What lesson does my former self’s focused imagination have to teach me here?”

Every time I use this deck, some neglected part of me bubbles to the surface and I find myself immersed in quiet amusement and delight, where time slips away and becomes meaningless. 


One card that exemplifies a sophistication beyond the simplicity of its image is the Temperance card.  According to the little white booklet (LWB), “A figure holds two cups of different colors; the energies flowing from them mix in the air and form...a black hole? a mirror? just a  gap?...”  This image engages my intuition and imagination at all levels - the child I used to be reflects on the unquestioned need to ‘go with the flow’ of a volatile upbringing, while the adult I have become admires the child’s serenity and sees the mixed glowing orb as the ‘reward’ for tempering the violence into strength for use as the foundation in building a healthier future for herself.  The gap asks more questions of me...the card will never grow stale.


The Simple Tarot is based on the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) model completely.  Having a solid grasp of the RWS allows for immediate comprehension of the card meaning according to traditional meanings with ease, allowing the imagination to cut loose. 


The deck is self-published and available for $20 US or you can view a virtual copy for free here. The cards are printed on plain paper (when I purchased the deck, you could opt for a heavier stock of paper for a few dollars more).  It isn’t laminated, which makes the cards relatively fragile.  The deck is shipped in a handmade slip case with a explanatory Little White Book.  The cards are smaller than average at 2 1/4” x 3 1/4”, making them very easy to shuffle.


I recommend the deck for both beginners and for advanced readers looking for a subtle tool to really engage their intuition with active imagination.