The Deviant Moon.

Remember when I had apprehensions about having too many Tarot decks? Well, I’m over it. Two new decks have been added to my collection, bringing the total number up to nine. Forget all of the nonsense I’ve said in the past about how many Tarot decks I think is appropriate. I’m only a Fool.

Anyway, this post is dedicated to the Deviant Moon Tarot (DMT), which is apparently pretty popular, despite (or perhaps because of) its slightly grotesque art style (photo-manipulation of gravestones makes up a lot of the clothing worn by these characters, by the way).

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An example of the Major Arcana, a court card, and a small card from the DMT.

I’ll be honest: at first I was repulsed by this deck, almost entirely because of the Hermit. My favorite card in the Tarot has gotten a very non-traditional and downright unflattering treatment in this deck. Where is the wisdom I’ve come to respect so highly? In fact, the entire Major Arcana disappointed me when I looked through these cards online. Some of them were cool, but some were not, and the majority stuck me as just mediocre. Not that the artwork was poorly executed – it’s all very well done I think; rather, it was just some stylistic choices that I didn’t really care for (like the Chariot, for example, and of course the Hermit).

The Minor Arcana is what really stood out to me – really, it blew me away. After looking through them, I was thoroughly impressed, and I could not forget them. Over time, pictures kept coming up online, and I kept turning it over in my head, each time leaning closer and closer to wanting this deck of cards that originally left such a bad taste in my mouth. I was on the verge of clicking “buy” on amazon, but just did not do it, leaving them in the cart for me to mull over some more. That very day, I found the deck in a bookstore, and that was that. I brought them home, and did several readings with them. It was because of the Minors that I was initially attracted to this deck, which is not typical for me.

The Minor Arcana are not totally traditional, either in artwork or in meaning, although you can sense the influence of the RWS on some of the cards.

This deck is undoubtedly darker than most. This is part of the reason why I was drawn to it in spite of myself, though. I’ve got so much light, but light is meaningless without darkness to counterbalance it. This deck has the nightmarish landscapes to contrast with the peaceful dreamscapes I’ve come to associate with the Sun and Moon Tarot. This deck has the corrupt and decaying city to contrast with the vibrant and living nature in the Wildwood Tarot. It fills a void in my collection, that unappealing place in the back of my mind that is there nonetheless, and it does so with a grotesque beauty. And with all that said, this deck is not without its lighter moments, and it has a conspicuous sense of humor. I like that. I haven’t spent any time doing shadow work with my Tarot collection yet. When I do work up the courage to dig up my demons, however, I will probably do it with this deck. The demons will feel right at home in the light of the Deviant Moon, and the humor will help me maintain my sanity.

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The Deviant Hermit – DMT

The more I turn these cards over in my hands, the more I like them. Even the Hermit has grown on me. There was a discussion on the forums on aeclectic.net about this card that gave me heart. I’m not the only person who was let down by this card. But it was asserted by someone that, perhaps, this Hermit represents the man prior to his enlightenment, the very moment before he turned his back on society. His anguish is the anguish of a man who needs to be left alone. It’s all too much. The Hermit has to leave sometime, after all. You can glimpse a hint of what’s to come in the half of his face that is turned away from us – almost serene. He wasn’t always the wise and lonely old sage that is pictured in so many decks. He’s got to start somewhere.

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8 thoughts on “The Deviant Moon.”

  1. This is one I don’t have, and I have A LOT of decks. I initially liked it, even before it was published (I somehow ran across Patrick Valenza’s site), but something always stops me from buying it. The “make or break” card for me is always The Star, followed by The High Priestess. I think I heard there were issues with the first printing, and the second run was on better cardstock, and then he releases a new version that was borderless or something, so was never sure which one to get.

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    1. I like the High Priestess in this deck; the Star isn’t as good as some of the others, which is a disappointment. But as I said above, it’s the Minor Arcana that really makes this deck, at least to me. The Majors I could take or leave (some are really cool, but there are just as many that are meh).
      And the make or break card for me is of course the Hermit, which is why I almost didn’t get this one.
      Another thing that I’ve come to realize about this deck is that I really like the way it physically feels in my hands. The cards are sturdy but not so much so as to bend of their own accord (my Wildwood does that), smooth without being glossy, and the width fits comfortably in my hand while the height is tall enough to make for what I would still call a larger card. I should clarify that I like larger cards, although many are difficult to handle. These are not.
      Anyway, thanks for reading and for your input.

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      1. Not that how well this deck fits in my hands is any indication of whether or not this is a deck for you; I was just taking advantage of your comment to reflect a little bit on how I’ve come to feel about this one since originally writing about it here. Also, I don’t want my comments about the Major Arcana to negatively affect anyone’s opinion prior to their own use of the deck. They’re just unconventional, which isn’t a bad thing. My sense of aesthetics are all I have to go on, here. They don’t actually mean anything to anyone but myself.

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  2. The Deviant Moon is one of my favorite decks. I don’t find it dark, really. The colors are rich, luxurious, sumptuous and the characters have a great sense of humor in some cases. The deck is a little twisted in some ways, but I find it a beautiful thing. The Hermit is my favorite card, too (9 being my life path number) and I’ll admit this particular card gave me pause in the beginning. I’ll bet if you email Patrick, he will be glad to tell you why he was compelled to do this, he’s quite personable and approachable. He may have already revealed the answer in the book meant to accompany this deck, but I don’t have the book. I agree with Wild Enchantress, great post πŸ™‚

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    1. When I say ‘dark’, I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. To me, this deck is dark. Literally. I don’t think there is a single card that is pictured in the daylight, except the Sun, and even that has a certain dreariness about it. Add to that the polluted look of a dying city (or a dying, winter-time forest as the case may be in the Wands), as well as the twisted, inhuman, often anguished look of the characters, and you do get a ‘dark’ deck. Not to mention the manipulated photos of gravestones and insane asylums that constitute much of these pictures. There’s just a vibe about it, you know? Furthermore, I really only meant it in comparison to a lot of other decks, especially all of the other ones that I actually own.
      Now, when I say these things, it should be understood that I don’t mean any of it in a bad way. I was born on Halloween. I don’t really mind dark and creepy.
      Anyway, thanks a lot for reading and for leaving your opinion. Feel free to leave feedback on anything else I write; I always enjoy hearing what people think.

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      1. Oh yeah, I know what you mean. I didn’t take any of it as being a negative thing. It literally is a deck regarding the moon, it’s bound to have a darker vibe. This is the kind of thing I’m drawn to. πŸ™‚

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  3. You know, I think its cool you got it and gave it time. I have bought several decks which I just had to have because they looked awesome, and then I get them and find them very disappointing. It is usually the ones Im a bit iffy on that turn out to be my go to decks in the end. The Hermit is my favourite tarot card too. I like the take you shared on the impression of the image in this deck. These kind of decks push us to think outside the box. πŸ™‚ great post.

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    1. Thank you! It’s funny how things work out sometimes, isn’t it? The things we don’t like grow on us and the things we do get tired.
      And most of the cards in the Deviant Major Arcana stay fairly true to tradition, although of course they have their little twists. The Hermit is the only one that I can think of that has none of its typical elements. I wonder why the artist was compelled to do this? Anyway, it shows an aspect of the Hermit we don’t usually see, and I suppose that’s refreshing, even if it is a little off-putting at first.

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