When you open up the Crystal Visions Tarot by fantasy artist Jennifer Galasso, you are entering a different world -- a colorful one filled with crystals, fairies, animals and mystical figures. The artist was inspired by Stevie Nicks' latest CD "Crystal Visions" as well as her interest in crystal balls.
I was enchanted with the vibrant images right away. The artist's color choices are bold and bright yet still ethereal. Purples, scarlet reds, deep indigos and lush greens make this deck a visual feast for the eyes. While the art is fantasy based, it manages to steer away from being too cheesy. Although some of the figures were a bit cartoonish, overall the look is whimsical, romantic and mythical. Based on the standard Rider Waite Smith system, this deck stays almost true to the tradition -- there is an additional card in the deck, giving you 79 cards rather than 78. This extra card is called "The Unknown Card" and when it lands in a reading, it represents something that is "not yet meant to be revealed". The usual Majors are featured and the suits are traditional Cups, Wands, Swords and Pentacles. Court cards are Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages.
Different flowers and animals represent each suit:
Cups: emotions -- water lilies and dragon flies
Swords: intellect and conflict -- ravens and winged creatures
Pentacles: material things and money -- crystals, fruitful trees, wildlife
Wands: creativity -- candles, sprites, dragons
While I enjoyed the art in the Minors, the Majors are the standout part of this deck. My favorites were the Hierophant with the pope sitting on a throne in front of a stained glass window adorned with different religious symbols; the eerie Death card with a ghostly figure standing above a seemingly dead female on a headstone; the mighty Emperor with his ram's mask and The Devil with a playful Pan like figure in the background trying to entice a naked woman who lounging by a tree with an apple in her hand (who is tempting who?) I would recommend this deck to any tarot collector, any fans of fantasy art, younger readers or beginners, as well as anyone who enjoys crystals and faeries. There are no really creepy images, making this deck appropriate for everyone. Two Swords Up!
-- Theresa Reed, The Tarot Lady
If you like fantasy art, (and who doesn't?) this deck is a must have for all Tarot deck collectors and readers. It's beautifully illustrated, full of symbology, and evocative. Based on the traditional structure of the RWS (Rider-Waite-Smith) system of a 78 card deck, you will find the familiar names of the Major Arcana, the Court, and the suits: Wands, Cups, Pentacles, Swords. Included is an added bonus, The Unknown Card. The images are clear in their detail and of sufficient size to see them clearly, and surrounded by a narrow white border. The backs are reversible with a large opalescent sphere in the center which is surrounded by a filigree of rose vines and gems. A pentacle rests in each corner, while a chalice sits in the center at top and bottom.
This beautiful deck would be appropriate for beginners to more advanced readers. I believe I will be spending many delighted hours now and in the future, working with this deck. I’m sure clients will find it as pleasing, if not more so, as I do. If you happen to be on the fence about purchasing this deck, I would recommend it for either yourself or as a gift. It's a win-win!
-- Koneta Bailey, New Paths Tarot
Crystal Visions Tarot remains true to the classic Rider-Waite 78-card system in much of its symbolism, as well as in card and suit names. The luscious card imagery also illustrates the elemental aspects of each suit in order to aid the novice in forming associations with the cards. The Crystal Visions Tarot deck includes 78 cards with an additional unknown card for gazing into future situations that have not yet been revealed, or for exploring issues with deeper insight. The instruction booklet offers both upright and reversed meanings.
The LWB provides an Introduction to the deck along with descriptions and divinatory meanings for each card, including meanings for reversed cards. I am impressed with the amount and value of the material in this LWB. We are given the usual DMs but we are also given insight into the reasoning behind the depiction of the characters on the cards. For example, the description of The World includes: "The characters depicted in this card sits on top of the world in the lotus pose. She appears to be meditating, listening to the hum of the universe. She wears a necklace with the Hindu symbol 'Om' symbolizing the most perfect integration of mind, body and spirit."
The colors on these cards are soft yet vivid. The images have a distinctly fantasy feel. The characters primarily consist of broad-shouldered, well-proportioned men and beautiful, slender women with long, flowing hair. These ethereal images are pleasing to the eye in both color and style. Each suit has its own consistent color scheme, inspired by the element associated with that suit. The Cups cards feature violet and magenta backgrounds; the card titles are black on a pinky lavender bar. Swords cards are indigo and lavender, with the titles written on a lavender-blue bar. Pentacles cards are shades of green and brown, with the titles written on a pale olive-green bar. Wands cards are orange-red and maroon, with the titles written on what I would call a rosy beige bar. The artist's "cool" and "warm" palettes make it easy to recognize the elemental associations in any given spread.
The symbolism on the cards also ties in nicely with elemental associations. For example, the moon appears in in various phases on all of the Cups (Water) cards. Lions and dragons appear on many of the Wands (Fire) cards. Birds or butterflies appear on most of the Swords (Air) cards. Trees and plants dominate the scenes on the Pentacles (Earth) cards.
This deck is likely to appeal to readers who prefer traditional RWS titles and symbolism, but also like to work with cards that feature romantic, fantasy-style art suggestive of the Faerie realm. The level of detail in the images encourages closer study of the cards, yet is not overwhelming. Although the characters are not people you are likely to see in your everyday life, many of them are approachable and engaging. The Unknown Card may not appeal to everyone, but you don't have to use it if you don't like it. I recommend meditating on The Unknown Card before shuffling and drawing cards from this deck for the reading.
-- Zanna Starr, Tarot Notes
When I saw images of the Crystal Visions Tarot deck online, I thought it was very pretty, but I just didn't realize how beautiful these cards actually were until I bought them and held them in my hands. For many decks, sample images don't truly do a deck justice, and this one is no exception. Having these cards in my hands to shuffle and read with on an up-close-and-personal basis allowed me to quickly connect -- and to classify this deck among my favorites!
I love the feminine feel of this deck. The imagery is beautiful with rich tones that speak to me on an emotional level. And for those who prefer the RWS (Rider-Waite-Smith) style of Tarot, the symbolism of the Crystal Visions Tarot remains true to tradition -- from the titles and ordering of the Major Arcana Cards (with Strength as #8 and Justice as #11) ... to the suit names: Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands ... to the traditional court card names: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. while the deck is beautiful to look at, it also renders such beautiful and meaningful energy in reading the cards. As mentioned, this deck really speaks to me on an emotional level. In fact, I quickly made friends with the Crystal Visions Tarot. Doing my first reading with this deck of cards was like connecting with a dear and trusted friend -- even though the cards and I just met during the first week of January 2012. What a lovely way to start my new year in the world of Tarot!
If you are familiar with a RWS deck, you can read the Crystal Visions Tarot straight out of the box with the understanding that there is that extra card in this deck. But for those who are new to the Tarot, I like the way the author and artist has written the 63-page accompanying booklet. It's far better than most LWB's available for a deck. I feel that even a beginner to Tarot could successfully learn Tarot with this deck and the proper books for learning this subject.
A fascinating thing I noticed in this deck is that for the cards that can signify change or rebirth on some level, there are butterflies as part of the symbolism for those cards. In the description of the High Priestess card above, the author tells us that butterflies are a symbol of rebirth and eternal life. I definitely agree, and I would add to that description that butterflies are a symbol of change. Butterflies can show us a "lighter" side of a situation, or can show how thought transforms or changes one's understanding of life and circumstances.
This is a deck that I plan to use frequently since it feels as comfortable to me as the RWS traditional tarot deck, and thus I appreciate the fact that a quality cardstock has been used for this deck. The quality cardstock will allow the Crystal Visions Tarot to stand the test of time with heavy usage.
While I noted that this deck has a feminine feel to me, there are still plenty of male characters contained within the cards. A third of the deck does feature men in the imagery. So it's not a gender biased deck. It just has a soft, gentle, nurturing, and feminine feeling for me. Of course, I don't want to leave you with the impression that this deck is filled with fluff and can't tell it like it is. It definitely can tell the tale of a difficult and challenging story in your life, but at the same time, it's like having a friend by your side who will offer comfort, support, and guidance to get through whatever you're going through. This is the kind of gentle strength that offers empowerment.
I highly recommend this deck to anyone who enjoys the RWS tarot decks, to those who want a gentle deck that has a softer approach (yet still powerful!), and even for those who are just starting with the Tarot. The Crystal Visions Tarot follows RWS tradition in a way that doesn't clone or copy the familiar and well-loved kind of traditional tarot deck, but is still similar enough to immediately resonate with. Collectors will also want to get a copy of this deck, too.
-- Velvet Angel, Tarot Wisdom Readings
To call a tarot deck "different" is definitely vague. The Crystal Visions Tarot is different from many tarot decks I have come across. The cards reflect Galasso’s fantasy style, so those who enjoy fantasy-themed decks will surely like this one. Most of the characters on the cards are women, which is a change from many more traditional tarot decks. Similar to the back, the cards are colored in mostly soft pinks and purples. Each card has a colored rectangle at the bottom with the name of the card, and the background color changes depending on the suit of the card, which is great for the reader. The card backs are simple yet complex, with pentacles in each corner and a circle in the center adorned with flowers. A chalice adorns the center of the long ends of the card. The entire back color is muted and soft, pleasing to the eye and drawing you in. The cards are shiny but not slippery. From an imagery perspective, the deck has some similarities to standard RWS symbols, but it is far from a clone. The Fool in this deck walks off a cliff, but instead of a dog she is accompanied by a number of butterflies.
Galasso's attention to detail is impressive -- the Ace of Cups is one of the most beautiful cards I have ever seen in a tarot deck. One interesting fact is the many of the cards have some kind of reference to air -- a dragonfly, fairy, butterfly, or other winged creature -- which is something you don't often see in tarot decks. I especially liked the Death card, which has Death holding a staff topped with an ankh and the inscription VITA MUTATUR NON TOLLITUR (Life is changed, not taken away) on a tomb. Butterflies reinforce the overall transformation feel of the card. It softened the card but rendered it neither foolish nor powerless, which is a fine line to walk.
This deck also features an additional card, bringing the total number of cards to 79. "The Unknown Card" is explained as an area of the reading which requires further examination -- like a past event, for example -- or that additional steps need to be taken to clarify the bigger picture. I'm not a big fan of extra cards in tarot decks, especially with vague descriptions, so likely I'd use the deck without this one.
While I'm not a fan of reading with fantasy decks generally speaking, I intend to give this one a try. I think my clients will like it, and I know I'll enjoy reading with it, especially when I need a change from RWS clone decks and I'd like something soft yet powerful.
-- John Marani, in ATA Quarterly Journal
The first thing to note about this deck is the beautiful use of color in each card. A major strength of this deck is its ability to create a mood or feeling with each card by such masterful use of color. In the author's own words, the cards have a "vibrant and consistent color scheme, in order to be easily recognizable within a spread."
The artist has consistently portrayed each suit experience through specific colors, crystals, people and other beings. She also assigns elements to each of the four suits in the LWB. The world and its artwork are largely influenced by her work as a fantasy artist and illustrator.
Coins -- the scenes take place in and around tress, lots of greens and yellows, crystals and earth spirits.
Cups -- all scenes take place in same locale and include water lilies, dragonflies, the moon in its different phases, pinks and reddish purples.
Wands -- features lions, unicorns, horses, mountainous terrain and lots of red.
Swords -- the scenes are bleak, cold and snowy with nurds and other winged characters.
One particularly striking card for me is the 4 of Swords. A woman lies at rest on her back in snow that almost covers her, and her arms are crossed as if keeping her only slightly warm. Swords, roses and petals are strewn on the snow around her, and the whole scene is viewed from directly above her. While her face is expressionless, the image itself is felt at first glance. In readings I have found that the characters' faces and eyes do not communicate nearly so much as do the gestalt of colors, symbols and flow of details in each card image. Messages with this deck seem to be toned down in an almost introverted style for a nice and gentle read, much like getting advice from a dreamy friend who, even in anger or elation, remains subdued and calm.
-- John Alan, on Tarot Guild
I love the colors and sense of grace in this deck. The intention with this deck was to create art that was unique, but that would be close enough to traditional imagery to allow new readers to learn the Tarot easily. This is a traditional 78 card deck with one additional card in the Major Arcana, entitled the Unknown Card. It represents an answer that is not yet ready to be revealed. I love decks with an extra card like this”! The Unknown Card can refer to something from the past, or something that is going to happen in the future. The area that this card falls in indicates where steps need to be taken to clarify the big picture. There is also a hint to move forward with an open mind, leaving all bias behind. I loved this card before I even knew what it represented -- my thought was "Yes! Another deck with a card that is 'gifted'!" What an incredible card, with the female figure holding a crystal ball in her left hand. In front of her we see the shadow of an owl. Her whole body posture invites the Seeker to peer into the crystal ball! The artwork is done in a fantasy style, using reds, greens, lavender, and dark brown predominately. There is a sense of gentleness and "otherworldliness" that draws one in, and makes one feel right at home.
This is one deck that if I had my way, I would talk about each and every card! However, that is not allowed, so we will look at the cards that pulled me in the strongest. One of my birth cards is the Hermit, so that is one card that I look at in every deck. If there was a make or break card for me, this would be it. Here we see a lone figure, in a lavender robe, sitting atop a mountain, with a lamp in their left hand. They face the right hand side of the card, generally considered to represent the future. To me, they appear very wistful. The Empress stands in the middle of a garden, wearing a bright red dress, and carrying a triskele scepter in her right hand. She holds a heart-shaped charm. Lush greenery is behind her, as well as a tree with bright green foliage and ripe red fruit. In the upper right hand corner of the card we see beautiful butterflies.
The Lovers shows a man and a woman embracing, with flowers in the right and left hand lower corners. The figures are bound by ties held by two doves.
The Ten of Swords in this deck is one of the least scary, but saddest, images of this card that I have seen in any deck. A female figure is face down in the snow, bloody, with ten swords in her back. She is surrounded by snow and barren trees. The clouds in the sky behind her are attempting to part, indicating that there is hope.
The Eight of Pentacles shows a female figure, standing at her spinning wheel, paying ardent attention to her work. I like this card because she is working outside, with greenery surrounding her and a tree behind her.
The Fool in this deck just carries incredible energy! The figure is a female, with dark, flowing hair. She stands on a precipice, one foot on land and one in the air. There is a trail of butterflies in the air to her right.
I found this deck very easy to read with, and feel that it would be a great deck to offer clients as a choice for their readings. The art alone is gorgeous, and the additional card (the Unknown Card) opens up new avenues for reading. It could simply be taken out of the deck if the reader preferred not to use it.
-- Bonnie Cehovet, on Aeclectic Tarot
I felt compelled to look through the cards a second time, and a third. Each time I did, I saw something I hadn't noticed before. There are figures of people in the twisted tree branches, and delicate angels in the clouds. The lush flowers and trees have lovely texture, as do the brilliantly colored dragons. The skies and landscapes are evocative. When I looked closely at each card, I realized this isn't a trite deck. I felt like an old woman who has mistakenly assumed a young, pretty girl to be shallow and stupid. Crystal Visions Tarot is true to Rider Waite Smith structure and interpretation. In many cards, the subtle symbolism honors a wealth of tarot tradition, often in clever ways.
It would take a long time to describe all the cards I love in this deck. They include the Fool, who is female. Butterflies, appropriate for the air correspondence of this card, also surround her. Her dress has red ribbons, one of which has casually wrapped around her leg, giving her the ancient tradition of the Fool's red-striped legs. In the World card we see a large lotus flower cradling a globe on which sits a woman in lotus position. More butterflies here, not elementally appropriate, but acceptable, because they are flying out of her palm chakras. As I mentioned earlier, I question the addition of a seventy-ninth card, entitled The Unknown Card. This card says that the answer is, at present, unknowable. Perhaps we need to look within and find the answer in our own heart. The card is actually quite lovely. It shows a modern Goth-looking young Pagan woman holding a crystal ball. The image is rather different from the rest of the deck. It stands out as a special card, belonging to none of the suits. It is a legitimate tradition in random token divination to use a blank token. It makes sense for Galasso to offer us this option.
That I have already started using Crystal Visions Tarot for professional readings is the highest praise I could give any tarot deck. However, I was initially unsure if I wanted to use the Unknown Card, or use my prerogative to remove it. So far, I have left it in the deck. I must admit, it pops up at very appropriate times.
It has been a while since I've discovered a new deck to add to my short list of professional reading decks. Crystal Visions Tarot is attractive, evocative and easy to understand. Unlike many fantasy art tarot decks, its images are uncomplicated and traditional. Do not be fooled by its youthful energy, Crystal Visions Tarot will give great wisdom and depth. It will be a solid learning and reading deck for anyone from beginners to seasoned professionals.
-- Christiana Gaudet, on Aeclectic Tarot
Fantasy artist Galasso has transformed classic tarot imagery into a vibrant tour, through a crystal ball, into a magical world filled with fairies, fantastical creatures, and exotic flowers. Color creates the backdrop against which the story of each card is told. Lyrical and mysterious, the illustrations almost sing.
-- Anna Jedrziewski, Retailing Insight Magazine