Review: Clarity Tarot – TABI

Author and artist: Debra Zachau & Kait Matthews

Publisher: REDFeather, Mind, Body, Spirit

Recommended retail price: $24.99 US

ISBN: 978-0-7643-6373-3

The Clarity Tarot Deck, published in 2022, is authored by Debra Zachau, a Tarot reader, author and speaker who runs online tarot classes and also hosts mediumship circles. The artwork for the cards is by professional artist and illustrator Kait Matthews.

This is a standard 78 card deck based on the RWS system, which comes in a sturdy box with a guidebook. It’s nice compact packaging which won’t take up too much room on your shelf. The guidebook is small but thick and includes interpretations for all the cards, guides on how to use the deck and give readings, numerology, and a few spreads.

The author describes the deck as tarot for navigating the challenges of the twenty-first century, describing it has having five unique components to obtaining messages: keywords for love and money (see below), a system to answer Yes/No questions, a timing system, and the imagery. The last one doesn’t seem that unique as most tarot decks have imagery through which readers divine messages. The timing method is performed by drawing cards until a Major Arcana one appears. Then you use the number of that card to determine the number of days/weeks/months applicable. It mentions the “number on the right side of the card” but there are no numbers on the Major Arcana cards, which I am a little disappointed with. So this is either an oversight in the card design or an error in the guidebook.

It also says that this deck can be used to learn mediumship but doesn’t explain in the guidebook how to do that.

The cards are glossy, made from standard stock, and have gold edging. I do love gold edging on cards, so this appeals to me. The card stock might not suit everyone though, and will probably start to show wear pretty quickly with regular use.

Each card features the card title and two sets of keywords, one for love questions and one for money. For example the Ten of Pentacles says ‘Love – secure family life/legacy’ and next to that ‘Money – wealth/family/inheritance’. I think this could be quite useful to help beginners get to know the basic meanings of tarot, but it might be off-putting for more experienced or intuitive readers. I did in fact find this to be the case when I read with the cards. As an intuitive reader I let my eye roam the imagery and found the words at the bottom very distracting. The rationale given for doing this is to help you be sure answers from the cards are coming from your intuition not imagination, which I don’t quite agree is a sound rationale. The keywords could distract from intuition instead, and may not even be exactly what the message is that’s coming through the card. So it could restrict rather than allow the free flow of intuition. However, the keyword section could be easily trimmed off or covered with black marker and you would still have a lovely looking card. The Keywords are always available for reference in the guidebook if you do want them later.

I love the artwork and it’s what drew me to the deck. There are some really lovely interpretations of Pamela Colman Smith’s original designs, which stay fairly close to those on most of the cards. It’s a shame that the title and keyword area is designed in such as way that it covers up some of the image. The artwork is colourful and has enough detail to stimulate intuition. The people depicted are of diverse cultures and ages.

At the top of each card is a ‘Y’ for Yes or an ‘N’ for No to answer Yes/No questions. The recommendation is to lay down an odd number of cards and count if there are more Ys or Ns, with the greater number being your answer. It’s a nice inclusion as an alternative way to use the cards.

The guidebook doesn’t contain reversed card meanings as they are designed to be read upright. But of course that doesn’t stop you from working with reversed cards if you want to, and leaves room for your own interpretation of reversals.

The deck is oriented towards everyday mundane and practical questions about love, money and career. The keywords given in the guidebook are focused on these. For example for the Five of Wands it says “Keywords for love include bickering/let go of ego. For money, tensions at work and don’t engage with gossip.” I found the interpretations and keywords a bit limited, and lacking the nuance, variation and depth that I’ve found in other decks. This might not be a problem if you are a complete beginner and just want some very simple meanings to start with. But if you are a more seasoned reader, or seeking to use the deck for a wider a variety of contexts, you probably won’t find anything to add to your existing knowledge. The author describes the deck as giving you “deeper awareness and greater knowledge” but I don’t think it does this as well as other decks.

I do however think the section explaining the symbology of numbers was a great addition. It also helps to flesh out the interpretations given for the major and minor cards, which I think it really needs. You could probably even just read the cards through the numerology and imagery alone.

Overall this deck seems to be aimed at complete beginners and would probably be most suitable for anyone who wants a simple but comprehensive framework to get them started. The various guides and extra information in the guidebook could be a really helpful starting point if you don’t know much about tarot, although I found it a little prescriptive in some areas.

I don’t feel that the deck is really as unique as the author presents it, but I did enjoy the imagery and the section on numerology. I can see myself using this deck after I’ve trimmed it because of the beautiful rich artwork. The author runs online tarot courses and the guidebook feels very much like a condensed beginners’ course on tarot reading, and perhaps a way to attract new students to her courses. Seasoned readers might want to give the guide book a miss and use their own style, technique, and interpretations instead. 

Reviewed by: Helen Masters

Written by HoroscopoDiario

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