Some people struggle with "reading" cards that are more two dimensional and don't contain scenes, while others prefer minimalism and abstract artwork.
Our decks contain a lot of symbolism so we are going to explain our approach! The first thing we recommend when working with our decks is asking yourself: 'what does this mean to me or what does this make me think of?' Your meaning may be different than ours, and that's okay! The deck will respond to you as you use it, so always let your personal definitions and interpretations override the booklet.
Let's take a look at a few cards:
NINE OF SWORDS
Upon first glance, this shouldn't look like a happy card. Swords have been plunged through both eyes and the top of the head - they're coming from multiple directions, bringing a 'trapped' energy. They indicate grief, sadness and anxiety.
The roses in the eye sockets are a nod to Pamela Coleman Smith's art in the Raider-Smith deck. Roses here indicate that there is still life and beauty to be found, but the seeker must shift their headspace.
A couple more details: Notice on the handles of the swords at the bottom there are wings and crystal clusters - these are also lighter elements that indicate that there are other options at the seeker's disposal.
When first looking at this card, there should be a feeling of completion and success. The shape should elicit the sense of coming "full circle."
The winged eye sits at the front of this image, lurking out at the inquirer symbolizing movement. The ouroboros sits behind the eye symbolizing infinity and wholeness.
The laurel diamond's shape represents the energies of the ethers and earth and the plant itself represents wealth, love, and success
FIVE OF WANDS
Notice how the wands are all intertwined with thread and thorns wrapping around them...they look "sticky" and tangled. Their positioning indicates that there is a lot happening, it could feel chaotic and that there is conflict happening.
The thorns: What do thorns mean to you? When picking a rose or blackberries, most likely you are aware of the thorns and you are mindful to avoid them. The same is represented here - great care needs to be taken when approaching this situation. Tensions are high, it is important to ground yourself and not act out irrationally or hurt others.
The eye in this card invites you to use your intuition and look at this situation from a higher perspective.