The Tarot Restless – Review

Sometimes you are drawn to a deck for inexplicable reasons. You keep coming back to it as if there was a invisible string holding the two of you together.

I am a big horror buff. I love the creepy and scary (you should see our house at Halloween). I have been called a little morbid, but The Tarot Restless left me feeling conflicted. I kept flip flopping on whether I wanted it or not. It seemed right up my alley. It’s an unconventional interpretation. The imagery is macabre and at times grotesque. Initially I think I found the imagery a bit off putting, though I still can’t quite figure out why. I finally purchased this deck because even as conflicted as I was about it I kept going back to it when I was looking for a new deck.

This deck is created by Winslow Dumaine and is a journey into a morbid universe where mankind is in the midst of an infertility crisis. The accompanying book Restless Meditations gives a short story of characters within this universe associated with each card as well as the artists interpretation. The concept is unique. Some will be off put by the artwork. Its very dark and morbid. Winslow Dumaine makes no apologies about his artwork style. According to him “people should explore their suffering. Understanding the cause of pain is key to growth“. This deck is filled with pain. Most of the characters do look like they are in some kind of pain or agony.

I would like the see the artists produce a coffee table book or even a graphic novel based on the universe he has created. I hope this universe doesn’t just stop at Tarot because I want to know more about the ghastly beings depicted throughout.

I love the packaging, its matte and sturdy. Its my favorite kind of box that’s travel ready and looks good on your shelf. There is a minimalist aspect to it. Nothing is written on any of the sides and there isn’t even the title of the deck on the packaging. Leaving this out on your coffee table will have your company asking “what is this?”. I love the simple imagery of a hand missing a finger, my husband made joke of this hand giving the “shocker” when it was sitting on our coffee table (note that said missing finger is on the back of the box). I think that even the accompanying book is a conversation starter. The title Restless Meditations leaves one to wonder whats inside. The backs are reversible. I have found myself not using reversals when using this deck. I have been seeing what emotions and feelings have been aroused. For me the best readings have come from not using them, but the interpretations in the book are there should you want to.

The cardstock is fine. It reminds me of the Mystic Mondays cardstock so there is some concern as to how it will hold up. I would like to have seen it a little more matte. This is my biggest complaint on this deck, this is the second deck in a row I have purchased with this super glossy thin cardstock (this may be a little thicker than the Mystic Mondays). A couple of cards did have some imperfections on the back of them from printing. Silver gilded edges grace the lining, which is a beautiful addition. At the price point this deck is at I am a little irked by the cardstock ($60.00 via his website). I would like to see decks at this price point start investing in higher quality cardstock. One concern I do have about the current influx of decks on the market is artists cutting corners on such thing as cardstock in order to get their decks out quickly and cheaply. Cardstock is such an important aspect of a deck, its one of the things that really defines a deck for me (I am going to start to go on a tarot rant here so I’ll move on). This isn’t a breaking point for me though, this deck still stands strong on its own

This deck is extremely complex. It does not follow the RWS tradition and many of the majors have been renamed. I had difficulty initially reading this deck figuring out which cards belonged to which majors. I don’t think it works here to associate them with the traditional majors. Winslow Dumaine has created a world all his own and it demands leaving behind traditional interpretations. I had an easier time getting to know and work with the deck when I stopped trying to tie it to prior associations. The book has been my friend. Not only have I had to really on the book in searching for meaning but I have enjoyed looking through the book and reading the story behind each cards grotesque imagery. My favorite card out of the deck is Black Smoke. It’s one of the majors and I find it striking and haunting. This is not a deck for novices, unless your prepared to use it as a stand alone deck and understand that going off the RWS system won’t really work. I have had to really take my time grasping the meaning of this deck. These cards have so much detail that it really takes time to be familiar with the deck. Everytime I do a reading with it I uncover a new meaning and interpretation.

I would not use this deck personally for ritual work. I could see it working well for Shadow Work since this deck is all about the darkness, grime, and unpleasantness that everyone has inside of them. It would work well as a focal point. You could even take the characters in the deck and give them your own names and assign them to your lesser wanted qualities and work with it from there. This deck could work strikingly well in the right reading with the right client. I would say though to take care which kind of readings and clients you use this for, as it isn’t for everyone and for me it gives off a very specific energy.

One thing I do want to point out with this deck is that if your easily offended or conservative then this might not be the deck for you. There is a lot of nudity in here. Both male and female genitalia are throughout. Some may call some of the images garish and untasteful. The artists uses this though to get his message across and bring life to this morbid universe that’s been created. I am personally not bothered by it, but if you look at the first photo of this review I think you can see why some people would be.

Overall I would recommend this for your collection if your looking for something unique and different. Its creates a whole new reading experience. I don’t have anything quite like it in my collection. I think the price tag is a little more than some other decks similarly produced by independent artists – Its cost me a total of $67.00 for this including shipping. Though I don’t think the price is too outrageous this leaves me feeling that combined with the style of imagery this will be a deck you either love or hate. The deck can be purchased on Winslow Dumaines website along with art prints. You can find his other creative ventures there as well.

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