Author: Andrea Aste, John Matthews
Artist: Andrea Aste
“The Tarot of Light and Shadow” is an amazing project co-produced by New York Times best-selling author John Matthews and multimedia artist/writer/animator/film make Andrea Aste. It consists of two 79 card decks and a 157-page companion book. The decks and book come in a sturdy, lift-top box.
The card stock is sturdy, and easy to shuffle. The cards are 2 3/4 inches by 4 ½ inches. The “Light” deck is a mauve color, while the “Dark” deck is a blueish color. Both decks have a ¼ inch plain border, with the card title/suit across the bottom. Aste has an amazing ability to take just a few simple lines and create a whole “other” world. The illustrations are an exciting gateway into another world!
The theme for these decks is the ability to explore both sides of a question at once. The Shadow deck representing our inner, instinctive world and the unknown, and the Light deck representing our rational outer world and that which is known.
The Major Arcana retain their traditional titles, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The Minor Arcana suits are Swords, Cups, Serpents (Pentacles) and Wands. The Court cards are entitled Page, Knight, Queen, and King.
There is one addition card with each deck entitled “The Cosmic Mirror”, considered to be the equivalent of “wild cards”. Each card is depicted as a mirror, a blank speculum on which anything can be reflected. Some of the ways suggested in using this card are: (1) if you are using one deck, as opposed to using both decks shuffled together, this card can indicate that you need to switch decks, (2) look at the card before or after this card, or (3) use this card as a significator for the individual/situation being read for.
The card backs represent the mistress of Tarot as she presides over the mysterious city of Sapientia, where all knowledge is kept, and which lies between the realms of Light and Shadow. The card back is reversible.
In his introduction, Matthews emphasizes that it is important to understand that when we choose to work with a double deck we ae seeing truths from two different angles, mirroring each other.
Matthews also addresses how to work with this deck. He notes that many readers already draw a card from another deck to expand their understanding/perception of a reading already done. The concept of these two decks is to understand that they are two ways of viewing the same thing. What we do not want to do is look at Light as being positive, and Shadow as being negative. Three distinct methods of using the deck are listed, as well as ways to use the Cosmic Mirror cards.
In presenting the Mirror Spread, Matthews suggests that “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” is a parallel universe, similar to our own but subtly different. For me, the spread acts as the gateway between the two universes.
All cards (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana) are presented with an overview of the card’s energy, along with a paragraph each on how the card would be read in a Light Reading and a Shadow Reading. Color illustrations for both decks accompany the descriptions. The Cosmic Mirror card discusses how to use the cards (Light and Shadow), with color illustrations.
The section on new spreads and sample readings includes The Divine Fool Spread, The Eternal Truth Spread, The Cosmic Spread, and The Directional Reading. At the end of the book are links to the artist and author’s sites, and suggestions for further reading.
I highly recommend this deck to anyone wishing to experience reading with unlimited possibilities and greater depth.
© January 2021 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.