Saturday, 13 June 2015

Deck of the Month | Dame Darcy's Mermaid Tarot: A Playful, Potent and Sensual World

I recently made an informed decision to select one key working deck per month for studying, closer observation and as a potential 'go to' for client readings. Dame Darcy's remarkable triumph is my deck for June and I'm having such a great time getting to know it.

Plunged into her sugar-sweet nautical world, I can't help but feel intense pangs of nostalgia as I am consistently reminded of the day that I actually discovered her work in a bookshop in Oxford. (I actually tell the story and showcase the book and the deck in this vlog.) I picked up her Meat Cake comic book compilation and couldn't put it down. I remember purchasing it and taking it straight to the pub where I proceeded to lose myself in it and ignore my boyfriend completely! It was everything I had been looking for - whimsical, romantic, sassy, luminously imaginative and with a thread of unmistakable darkness running through it. The Mermaid Tarot deck holds the same energies of playfulness, sensuality and wild adventure.

I am hooked.

One of the things I love about this deck is the slight sense of certain details being possible afterthoughts. Some of the lines overlap, some of the text seems a little squished into the space in places.. I feel that this deck wasn't constructed and illustrated in an artfully self-conscious and highly considered way. Instead, it's like it was scribbled, scratched and poured manically out of Dame Darcy's delicious mind. It's as though it just demanded to be birthed and she was downloading the visions as she created them. There's something so personal about that. Every single time I touch the deck and shuffle through it I get this overwhelming sense of raw magic making itself available to me.

The other thing I love about this deck is that it's so not a novelty deck in any way although it ticks some of the boxes to fit that criteria. Each and every reading and study session has produced profound insights. Dame Darcy has a subtle and intensely cool way of using symbolism and metaphor. She leverages it without sucking all the fun out of it. Of course the ocean is symbolic of the depths of the human psyche, for example, but that doesn't mean we have to be sedate about it! (The Knight of Swords is a merman holding a trident aloft and riding bareback on a dolphin, just to drive the point home.) There are some tender moments in this deck, some captivating, romantic scenes too, and lots of charming, attractive figures with fabulous clothes.

Among many other considerations for this deck I found myself trying to pinpoint what I would advise using it for. Some decks really scream 'shadow work' or 'relationship readings', you know? They have an instant purpose. For me, Dame Darcy's deck is a natural choice for inner child work and also for concerns regarding heightening creative potential and energy. It's a strong contender for relationship readings too. It might not seem like a natural choice for shadow work but the smart way in which she has used the ocean's dreamy depths actually places it into that category for me as someone who values the use of symbolism in deep psyche-diving.

It's not hard to fall head-over-heels in love with Dame Darcy's characters. So many of them are captivating and strangely familiar, like figures from dreams or childhood/adolescent obsessions. I kind of find myself fangirling over the King of Wands and The Magician.. These characters take on lives of their own and they warmly invite you into their world - a world which is sumptuous and eccentric and joyful.

This is actually a great deck for Summer. The bright colours are so seasonal. The other day I laid a fifteen card spread out on my Indian tapestry blanket, picnicking in my vintage shift dress and just soaking up the vibes. Perfect.