Dreaming Way Tarot
Author: Rome Choi
Artist: Kwon Shina
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
I love working with dreams and dreamtime, so “Dreaming Way Tarot” brought a smile to my face when it landed on my doorstep! The characters and imagery have been revamped, but the format is that of a traditional 78 card deck. Traditional titles were kept for the 22 cards of the Major Arcana. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, with the Court Cards entitled King, Queen, Knight, and Page.
The box that the cards come is notes that this deck offers a fresh interpretation of the Tarot, with emphasis on numerological and elemental influences. The front of the box shows the image of the High Priestess, while the back of the box shows the image of the Fool.
Rome Choi has been professionally involved with the Tarot since 1997. He studied Transpersonal Psychology at the Seoul University of Buddhism, and allows his Zen practice to inform his Tarot lectures. As with another highly regarded Tarot artist, Robert M. Place, Choi’s characters came to him in a dream. Hence the name of the deck – “Dreaming Way Tarot”.
There is a 39 page LWB (Little White Book) that accompanies the deck. In his introduction, Choi notes that while he was studying at Seoul University he heard a moving lecture by a famous monk, and came to the realization that he already had all he wanted, and there was nothing more he needed to pursue. This knowledge allowed him to understand people better, and deepened his wisdom concerning the Tarot.
The presentation of the cards begins with the Major arcana (text only, no images). The text covers the energy of each card, along with upright and reversed meanings. Note: Choi views reversed energy as either stronger or weaker than the upright energy, but not the opposite of it.
The section on the Minor Arcana begins with a discussion of the characteristics of the suits as seen through the body/mind/soul paradigm. The characteristics of the numbers are addressed next, along with basic meanings for the four Court Cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Page). The cards are then presented in text only, with upright and reversed meanings.
At the end of the book is a spread entitled “The Dreaming Way Five Card Spread”, which defines the following positions: (1) Present Gifts. (2) The Past, (3) Change, (4) Delusion, and (5) Dreams.
The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 ¾”. If you use a riff type shuffle, you may find it a bit difficult, as the cards bend forward easily, but are still when bending backwards. I had no problem with a side to side shuffle (which is easier for me, because I have smaller hands).
The card backs have a wavy green background, with vertical lines of oval forms going through it. It is well done, but it did not appeal to me. The card faces have a ¼” white border, followed by a thin black border. Titles run across the bottom of the card in black type: number and title for the Major Arcana, number and suit in text for the Minor Arcana, and title and suit for the Court Cards.
The imagery is reality leaning towards fantasy. Some of the cards follow traditional imagery (The Fool, The Sun, the Four and Five of Wands, the Aces, the Two of Pentacles, Temperance, Justice, the Ten of Swords, the Four of Swords, and the Hermit). Other cards present updated imagery (Death, the High Priestess, The Fool, the Queen of Pentacles, the Three of Swords, the Ten of Wands, The World, Judgment, the Moon, The Devil, the Wheel of Fortune, The Lovers, and The Magician).
Some of the most interesting cards to me were the Ace of Cups, which shows water flowing from a white up with black dots, Death, which shows a profile view of a dark haired woman in a black dress holding a scythe, and the High Priestess, which shows a brunette with white stockings, green shoes, a black dress with white collar and ciffs, and a black top hat, seated on a green crescent moon, holding the Torah in her lap.
Other interesting cards were the Queen of Pentacles, which shows a Queen, seated on her throne, wearing a red dress, holding a baby, the Fool, who is shown standing on the edge of a cliff with his white dog. The Fool is wearing black shoes, green pantaloons, an orange cowl, a knapsack on his back, and a bright orange figure to his right. The Three of Swords is also an interesting card, showing a female figure in profile, wearing a striped dress, with a white hood and collar. The look on her face is one of resignation, rather than fear, as the three swords pierce her.
In the Five of Wands and the Emperor the use of black and white squares was a bit distracting (for me, anyway), as was the use of big polka dots in the suit of Cups (white dots on black cups, black dots on white cups). The Magician with his/her hands in their pockets also left a bit to be desired.
This is a traditional enough deck to be read with ease, and is different enough to be a good deck to use when wishing to break through a malaise in a reading.
© October 2012 Bonnie Cehovet