The Sun and Moon Tarot by Vanessa Decort is the first deck I bought and owned. The following is an honest review covering different areas of what I typically like or look for in divination cards. Let’s jump right into it!
Tarot System: Crowley Thoth
No. of Cards: 78 (Traditional)
Riffle Shuffle: Yes, Easy
Dimensions: 3 x 1.2 x 4.8 inches
Retail Price: approx. PHP 1,000 or $20
Year of Production: 2010 (white borders), 2017 (black borders)
I picked this up from the shelf because of two reasons: one, because of how beautiful the art looked, and two, because it’s called Sun and Moon Tarot.
I had no idea that I had gotten my hands on a Crowley Thoth deck, which a slightly different Tarot system from Rider-Waite Smith. However, upon closer inspection of the cards, I found that it mostly follows RWS imagery. In this deck, the Justice Card and Strength Card are numbered 8 and 11, respectively (as opposed to 11 and 8 in RWS).
Card Stock Quality and Packaging
I’ve had these for two years, and I can say that the card stock is durable. I can riffle shuffle them with ease, and they don’t stick to each other. They have a matte finish, which I usually prefer. They bounce back to their original shape pretty well after a good shuffle.
I have the 2010 version of the cards with white borders (as seen above). In 2017, they were reprinted to have black borders, which also look stunning:
The packaging of these cards comes in two options: a cardboard box (similar to playing cards) or a tin. I have the standard box version, and I have to say I wish I had it in the tin. The box will get torn quickly if you’re not careful, or just from everyday usage.
If you don’t mind discarding the box and getting a small pouch to store it in, you might be better off.
It comes with a booklet of instructions and explanations to help you get familiar with the card meanings. However, it’s not as detailed as some of the other guidebooks I own.
Some people might like that they only have short phrases, but as a beginner, it might be challenging to work with this booklet alone. I went into deep research mode to help me understand the meaning of my cards, and I wrote them down in a separate notebook.
For instance, each card would have a zodiac sign and planet placement that could read, “Venus in Gemini.” As a newbie, you might think, “Okay, and…?” and that’s based from experience. This leads me to say this deck isn’t very beginner-friendly.
There are also no reversed meanings listed. While there’s no rule says you have to work with reversed cards—this is merely a preference—it might be helpful to have for some. At the time, I was too busy knowing the meaning of all 78 upright that I didn’t mind not knowing their reversed counterparts. So, for this deck, I’ve made it a habit not to read them reversed. (You certainly can, though, especially since it has a reversible back design.)
Art and Symbolism
I was (and still am) so in love with the imagery of this deck. Decort did a great job designing the cards with inclusivity, color, and symbolism. This deck has both male and female characters and features mixed-race people. Released in 2010, the Sun and Moon Tarot was pretty ahead of its time—a lot of card collectors out there are still struggling today to find decks that aren’t based on one gender or race.
The people in the cards have no facial features, which may or may not be your cup of tea. There’s no way to know the expression of the characters, but that also means it’s up for interpretation.
Decort took inspiration from many different spiritual systems and ancient symbols in designing her cards, such as hieroglyphics, kabbalism, Taoism, astrology, and mythology. Each piece is so detailed, and you see more and more the longer you look at them.
The Major Arcana
My two absolute favorite cards in this deck are Death and The Universe. I’d gladly have a printout of either card and hang it up in my room. Right away, you can see the thought and detail poured into each card, and the different symbols found in each.
The Minor Arcana: Suit of Swords
The Swords cards are beautifully crafted. It follows a blue sky theme and background, a nod to the element it represents—air. Being the suit of thoughts, it shows how our minds float too much when we overthink. It gives a literal visual representation to “having your head in the clouds.”
The Minor Arcana: Suit of Cups
The Cups have a more playful vibe to them and feature white chalices by the shore or shallow sea. It’s a beautiful depiction of the element of water tied to this suit. Each card also has a moon illustrated in the background. Symbolically, the moon is related to one’s emotions. Fun fact: The front cover of the box features the Two of Cups card, with the keyword “love.”
The Minor Arcana: Suit of Wands
As an Aries Sun and Sagittarius moon, I might be a little biased in saying that the Wands are my favorite suit in this deck. I love the starry night sky background and the vibrance of the fire in the pictures. I can feel the energy and movement from the cards, which is what they’re supposed to evoke or represent.
The Minor Arcana: Suit of Pentacles
Last but not least, we have the earth suit of Pentacles. What I enjoyed about this is that the material gains show up differently per card: coins, daisies, sunflowers, and fruits. It represents the practical aspect of the cards and of any reading.
How It Reads
Because of its colorful and almost cartoonish design, the cards read light or gentle—but they don’t sugarcoat. There’s a yin yang card layout taught in the accompanying guidebook, which is a neat addition to any readers’ arsenal of spreads.
The imagery and keywords are helpful in reminding me of what the cards meant. However, because there are so many symbols present in some of the cards, the interpretation can get overwhelming. You might need to be familiar with what certain symbols and glyphs mean before you’re confident reading them for others.
I have gotten to appreciate this deck overtime as my knowledgebase started to expand. It might be too complex for beginners. (True story.)
What Makes It Unique
The minor arcana cards, except the aces and court cards, have keywords written on top. Two years ago, this was something that I appreciated since I was new to the Tarot. However, it might distract some seasoned readers, or it could throw you off if the word doesn’t necessarily match what you asked.
When I use the deck now, I don’t always refer to the keyword, but sometimes I still find it helpful for additional insight.
I would also say that this deck is an even balance of both the Crowley Thoth and Rider-Waite Smith system, so it’s a lovely addition to your collection. I don’t own a deck similar to this.
Since this is my first deck, the Sun and Moon Tarot will always have a special place in my heart!
This might need a bit more studying, but the information you get after your research is useful in enriching your spiritual knowledge. That said, I do wish it included in-depth meanings and symbols in its guidebook. It would’ve been nice to have a single reference to keep going back to, especially when doing a reading.
Well, that’s it for this review! If you like what you read and saw, I inserted links below as to where to get the cards locally or internationally. Until my next one!
Additional helpful links:
• Vanessa Decort’s website
• Get it from Amazon (tin version)