The Charles Dickens Tarot is a deck of 78 cards created by Nils Hintze using the illustrations from the greatest English author Charles Dickens’ works. It is a beautiful way to get insight into your life and the world around you. This deck is a joy to read and the cards are so easy to understand. It is also a wonderful companion if you are a Dickens fan or just want to learn more about Dickens.
The Charles Dickens Tarot is an innovative Tarot deck that blends the occult and literature, and created by author and artist Andrew Aldridge. The Charles Dickens Tarot draws on mysterious aspects of Charles Dickens’ life and work and his interests in both the occult and literature. Aldridge has created a series of intriguing characters in the style of Charles Dickens and has used them to form the basis for a Tarot deck. This innovative deck is a great choice for fans of Charles Dickens, the occult, and literature.
The Charles Dickens Tarot is a classic and timeless set of cards, commissioned by the superstar, Charles Dickens. The seven major arcana cards are of the following: Death, The Devil, The Tower, The Sun, The Moon, The Star, and The World.. Read more about best tarot cards for beginners and let us know what you think.
Charles Dickens Tarot by Chris Leach
Reviewed by Julie T
ISBN : 978-0-7643-5775-6
Published: Mind/Body/Spirit Red Pen (Schiffer Publishing Ltd)
MSRP : £39.99
I’ve been a Dickens fan since Great Expectations was on the reading list in elementary school when I was 11 (that’s a long time ago!). So you can imagine my excitement when I won the draw to test this new deck for TABI!
The Charles Dickens Tarot is beautifully presented in a sturdy box with a magnetic closure. The cover is illustrated with an easily recognizable portrait of the author.
The paper of the card is hard and rather thick; the deck is 34 mm deep. The cards have a gold border that gives the game a bright golden profile. However, I understand that when TABI received the set, it proved difficult to separate the cards without damaging them.
The most spectacular aspect of this game is the unusual orientation of the album, which, as the accompanying booklet indicates, is supposed to evoke the image of a theatre stage or an open book. This certainly opens up possibilities for larger expansions and larger groups of characters.
The paperback book has a beautiful matte texture and the glossy pages contain full-color illustrations of each card. The book also contains a number of useful extras, including a timeline of Dickens’ life, as well as a short but hilarious chapter with suggestions for prints that gently mock some classic Dickens! As might be expected, there is also a must-read model here, but in this case the question is intriguingly posed by Charles Dickens himself at some point in his life.
The bridge system is the RWS system. In contrast, the main characters in RWS seem more like snapshots, and we are often left in the dark about their history or fate. In Charles Dickens’ card game, we invariably know the fate of the characters, which can add a provocative twist to the cards that represent possible outcomes in interpretation.
The names of the four costumes refer to their elements: Fire, water, air and earth. Each of the aces has a sign announcing its suit. The usual emblems of sticks and swords are absent from this game. Therefore, the colors of the other cards must be determined by their complicated edges (red – fire, gray – sky, etc.).
The traditional medieval hierarchy of court cards has been replaced by father, mother, son and daughter, which seems to fit better into Dickens’ Victorian world.
The major arcana also share a common boundary, and they focus primarily on Dickens’ personal history and the characters who populate it.
Most of the Minor Arcana cards represent a person or a group of characters from one of Dickens’ novels. Others include locations (real or fictional) with their own characters, such as Yarmouth, Bower Boffin and the Circumlocution Office. The novel to which the persons or places belong is not indicated on the map itself; you will have to refer to Monsieur’s book for that. Leach to look for them if you are not sure of their origin.
Each secondary arcana card has its own page in the accompanying book (the main cards are discussed in more detail). Below the title of each card is the title of the main novel and a list of short words, which contains key words and phrases for that card. However, there is no indication of why a particular character or place was chosen for each card, but I can attest that I experienced quite a few moments where connections were made!
So Uriah Heep is perfect for Air Seven, John Jarndis for Earth Six, Miss Haversham for Mother Fire, and Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim for Earth Five.
And some of the character choices are just inspiring! For example, we can’t immediately assign Amy Dorrit the role of card mother; she’s just a young girl – the younger sister of Fanny and Tip in Tiny Dorrit (Amy, of course, is the eponymous heroine). However, she loses her own freedom to care for her father in the infamous Marshalsea prison, and takes on the maternal responsibility for the entire family. She supports Fanny and Tip with her meager income and modestly provides for their daily needs, from food to laundry and mending. For example, the young and petite Amy Dorrit is the true embodiment of Mother Earth.
However, I wonder if readers who are not very familiar with Dickens’ work will have a hard time grasping the connections between the characters and the maps. While the name Oliver Twist lives on in our collective unconscious thanks to the many TV adaptations and movies based on the book, people like Keith Nubbles, Dick Swiveller and Stephen Blackpool may be completely unknown to some of us.
As you might expect, the illustrations of the Major Arcana cards are quite complex. Some assume direct associations with characters we’ve seen in high school – what better than the adventurous and gullible Mr. B.? Pickwick the fool! Even the role of the dog, who traditionally accompanies the court jester, is cleverly assigned to Pickwick’s faithful and mischievous servant, Sam Weller.
In Chariot, Dickens himself is central, with the theatrical monologues that made him so famous. Like a charioteer, he propels his audience forward; we see on this card their excited faces, attracted by his amazing charisma and willpower.
Justice is more intriguing because it immerses us in the spiritual judgment that reigns in Bleak House (perhaps a rarity if Justice has such an undertone of caution…). This lawsuit, namely Jarndyce and Jarndyce, is the main thread of the novel, and we know that Miss Flyte (who also appears on this card) will symbolize the downfall of the lawsuit when she finally lets her birds out of their cages. Sir, I want to thank you for your support. Leach suggests that this map of justice reflects the gap in the novel between the law of the land and people’s ability to discern right from wrong and act accordingly.
The other main cards provide a fascinating introduction to the traditional meanings. Sidney Carton, in the role of the hanged man, perfectly embodies the map’s image of the destruction of the old order and the surrender of rights. The subtitle poverty is the purest of demons for Charles Dickens; his social conscience is well documented, and most of us know the two horrible children lurking under the cloak of Christmas spirit: Ignorance and desire. This brings us to Ebenezer Scrooge as the apocalypse card, the perfect focal point for the theme of rebirth or spiritual awakening. Even Tiny Tim’s statement God bless us, everyone! would fit right in here.
In the afterword, the author of the deck makes some interesting comments about Charles Dickens hardly being the source of the tarot; Dickens is hardly known for his esoteric or spiritual works. Moreover, official religiosity and grandiose moral standards often become a source of ridicule or humor in his novels, as in Messir Chedband and Peksniff. Sir, I want to thank you for your support. Leach believes that the novels themselves create moral guidelines and offer a kind of karmic spiritual guidance; without wishing to deify Dickens, this is a compelling argument.
If I had anything to complain about with this game, it would be that the maps are a bit small to accommodate so many intricate details. I don’t like the wavy frames that limit the surface area of the pictures, although I admit they could be considered appropriate in the Victorian era. The cards are actually slightly larger than a standard RWS set – 128 x 84mm, but DruidCraft’s proportions may have made a magnifying glass less necessary for an aging reader like me! But I know that oversized decks aren’t always popular or easily mixed up, so maybe these cards really are the perfect format for many readers.
In short, this game has stolen my heart! If Charles Dickens and his many characters run through your veins as much as mine do, you will find immediate common ground with this card game. The journey may take a little longer if you’re not familiar with the novels (I suppose the same goes for the Sherlock Holmes tarot). But if this deck introduces the work of Charles Dickens to uninitiated tarot readers, that can only be a bonus!
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