When I teach tarot to beginners, I always recommend they start learning with a RW-based tarot deck.
(RW = Rider-Waite, the tarot deck originally created in 1909 by A.E. Waite and illustrated by Pamela Colman Smith, originally published by the Rider Company).
There are many tarot decks that follow this tradition, using the same stories, meanings, and symbols as the original deck, but in a more attractive package. The Green Witch Tarot is one of them.
This deck was designed for a very specific type of person, so before I start this review, I want to let you know that I’m not that person. I’m not a practicing witch. I have a fairly limited knowledge of the Pagan symbols used in the Green Witch tarot deck, and although I think the images are beautiful they don’t really “mean” much to me. My ignorance might be (unknowingly) influencing my review of this deck.
However, if you are Pagan, Wiccan, a witch, or just consider yourself witch-curious, you’ll love this deck. It’s a very good deck for tarot beginners, with a few minor caveats.
FYI: I purchased my copy of The Green Witch Tarot from Amazon in mid-2017 for about $24.00. It’s also available directly from the publisher for a few dollars more.
The Green Witch Tarot Review
This a great deck for tarot beginners who are Pagan, Wiccan, a witch, or curious about witchcraft as a practice.
The illustrations are beautiful and the symbols, meanings, and images are clear on (almost) every single card.
HISTORY OF THE GREEN WITCH TAROT DECK
The creator of the deck and author of the companion book is Ann Moura, a writer, teacher, and former Navy Lieutenant who is a practicing solitary witch. She learned the craft from her mother and grandmother and has been practicing for over 45 years. She’s written many other books about Green Witchcraft which can be found on her website at AnnMourasGarden.com.
Kiri Østergaard Leonard illustrated the cards. She’s a friendly, generous and prolific professional illustrator from Denmark who now lives in Austin, Texas. She specializes in detailed images inspired by fantasy, folklore, and fairy tales. You can view her portfolio and purchase prints of her illustrations from her own shop at KiriLeonard.com. (Highly recommended! Her tarot card illustrations is lovely, but the cards are so small it really doesn’t do her work justice. Her larger pieces are amazing).
There is a fascinating article on the publisher’s website about the creation process and inspiration behind the deck. I love getting an inside-peek like this.
THE PACKAGE & CONTENTS
The packaging of this deck and companion guide is extremely similar to others produced by Llewellyn. The large outer box opens from the side, revealing the tarot book with the deck underneath. It’s a lovely presentation and quite sturdy, but it’s not particularly amazing.
The back of the card shows a wreath made of roses and vines to create a pentacle. It’s quite pretty, but more than that, I appreciate how the design is offset towards the top of the card. This makes avoiding reversed cards very easy during a tarot reading. It’s tiny details like this that really set a well-thought out deck apart. You *know* the creator agonized over every last detail!
READING TAROT WITH THE GREEN WITCH TAROT DECK
The illustrations on the Green Witch Tarot deck closely follow the RW-traditional meanings. Very closely! This makes it a breeze to read with.
There are a few key differences, though. First, this is a Pagan deck. The Judeo-Christian elements of the traditional RW-deck are gone and replaced with Pagan references. Many of the cards have been renamed.
For example, the Cups are called Chalices and the Swords are called Athames. Most of the Major Arcana have been renamed using Pagan identifiers like the Lord of Shadows (Death), the Greenman (The Fool), the Oak King (The Hanged Man), the Holly King (The Hermit), and others.
Despite the naming differences, the stories and symbols used are the same as the traditional RW-deck. Even if you don’t know what the Wild Hunt or the World Tree are, you’ll be able to read the cards.
The only place I struggled with these cards is with the court cards. The images on each of the court cards, especially the Queens and Kings, don’t seem to match the traditional RW-meanings. With this deck, you may have to rely on memorization instead of intuition or the visual representation to remember the court cards. It’s the only real flaw in the deck I found.
USING THE GREEN WITCH COMPANION BOOK
I’m rarely impressed with the companion guides that come with a tarot deck. They usually seem thrown together using boilerplate text and scanned card images.
This book is different. The Green Witch Tarot companion book was written by a real witch. And it’s obvious she cares deeply about her practice and sharing information with others. it’s the real deal.
To quote from the Introduction, Ann Moura writes, “The Green Witchcraft approach to the tarot is based on a personal relationship to nature, earth magic, the elementals (earth, air, fire, water), and the power of the immanent Goddess and God in their many aspects, and to the faeries, spirits, and entities of the earth, otherworld, and underworld.”
Like most companion guides, the book describes each card in detail and then shares keywords for the upright and reversed meanings. This book really shines in the descriptions, though. This is not boring boilerplate. The author includes a description of the animal and plant life illustrated on each card and is adept at wrapping together the tarot card meanings, stories, symbols, and emotions.
The book also includes seven tarot spreads, some standard and some witchcraft-specific.
IS THE GREEN WITCH DECK GOOD FOR BEGINNERS?
The illustrations are extremely clear. The images follow the RW-based traditional deck closely (although some cards do use different names).
You don’t need to be a Pagan or witch to read tarot using deck. (Although, I’m sure it helps!)
PROS OF THE GREEN WITCH TAROT DECK
- The illustrations are lovely and very clear to read.
- Overall, it closely follows the RW-traditional meanings and symbols.
- It’s easy to avoid reversed cards because the design on the back of the card is offset.
CONS OF THE GREEN WITCH TAROT DECK
- The Court Cards are hard to read and don’t seem to *fit* the traditional meanings.
- The companion guide is well written, but very short. I’d have loved to have full descriptions of the reversed card meanings (instead of keywords) and correspondences.
Since I’m not a practicing witch, I’m not the target audience for this tarot deck. Although I own this deck and enjoy it, I don’t use it often for tarot readings. For me, this deck is more like a fascinating look into a world I’m not really a part of. I like being a visitor, but I don’t feel very comfortable there. 🙂
However, I highly recommend this deck if you are a practicing witch, Pagan, or curious about witchcraft and you’re looking for a tarot deck that reflects your spirituality. It’s similar to the Everyday Witch Tarot published by Llewellyn, but the Green Witch Tarot feels a bit more “grown up” and authentic to the craft.
The cards are clear to read and the meanings very closely follow the traditional RW-deck, while mixing in some pagan elements. If you’re witchy, this is a great deck for you!