It’s exciting times when a new deck of cards is acquired, isn’t it?
I’m not someone who has to buy/own every deck she fancies and actually I only have a few, but every so often, one catches my eye and my heart so completely that I get all click-click-pay and a short time later I’m shuffling away merrily.
Sexy, steamy, mish-mashed and very clever, Charissa Drengsen’s Steampunk Tarot is right up my street. It first caught my eye when I saw the brilliant Ten of Cups on my friend Chloe’s blog, Inner Whispers. It’s circus of freaky friends and painted clowns, representing the family you choose, and they’re there, waiting for you with the bubbly and the ‘welcome home’ banner, genuine, loving smiles on their faces. This is how I want the Ten of Cups to feel – this is completion, emotional support and security, the safety net of a bunch of really sound people you love the hell out of and who love you right back for who you are.
Anyway, back to the deck as a whole. If this is a deck review, which it pretty much isn’t, I would add here that the cards are on the flimsy side and the colours aren’t as vivid as on Charissa’s gorgeous website. But they are beautiful, digitally collaged from a mixture of sepia and technicolour, leather and lace, and the pictures make me laugh, and nod.
So without further ado I did the ol’ ‘getting to know you’ reading to find out what the Steampunk and I might have in store as we tackle life’s great questions together…
1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? Nine of Wands
Two women in long dresses take an evening walk in the woods. They have their parasols for protection, which is just as well, because there seem to be lots of umbrellas falling on them from the night sky! But lanterns glow all around, and very importantly, they have each other. Drengsen writes ‘quiet strength’ in the companion book – a lovely way to view the Nine of Wands. A quiet strength, a wisdom from experience, and a sense of being prepared for the next battle. Interesting! Next!
2. What are your strengths as a deck? Five of Wands
Oh my. The ability to jostle? The need to prove oneself? This card is really very funny, showing two guys in their best martial arts gear, bashing sticks, whilst three ladies laugh and observe, to my eyes not particularly bothered who’s going to come out tops.
I’m reading this as an unashamed machoistic tendency – this is a deck that wants to show off and impress me. Will it be fighting my other decks for my attention and preference? Allrightythen!
3. What are your limits as a deck? The Eight of Wands
What can this mean? Here are hands holding aloft their parasols. It’s all about ‘swift communications’ and ‘fast action’ according to Drengsen’s book – being on fire, but with a strong sense of no turning back…I wonder if this deck has a tendency to shoot from the heart, impulsively, and without much thought. Feeling an idea burn inside and just…running with it.
Drengsen makes no mention of this card’s traditional ‘message’ interpretation, and I must say I’m not getting any of this from the card itself. It’s all movement and excitement and go go go… as a limiting factor, I’m guessing this is a quick-fire deck that may not be suitable for the long, ponderous readings. Well, there’s definitely a place in my life for such a deck, so just bring it on 🙂
4. What are you here to teach me? Queen of Cups
Oh marvellous. The very queen of love and creativity, emotional awareness and generous spirits. She doesn’t look like this on the Steampunk card, though, and I’m wondering if this particular queen is wanting to show me a more serious side of all that love and light. She’s in Venice! A city built on water, but sinking fast. And she has a crow sitting upon her teapot! Perhaps a lesson or two in emotional boundaries or self-preservation – only insasfar as is necessary to be loving and creative, mind, but I’m definitely sensing a little (rather sexy) reserve here where other Queens of Cups have seemed uninhibited and almost wild.
5. How can I best learn and collaborate with you? King of Wands
Most, most interesting. Perhaps an answer to this deck’s Five of Wands mentality, I feel like I’m being asked to reign things in a little, to take an authoritative role and direct that spunky energy where I want it to go, not where it wants to take me.
There’s a sense of playful immaturity in this deck which I really like, and seeing this King of Wands here, I’m intrigued to feel that the deck is asking me to be the forceful one. It’s so often the case that we hand ourselves over to the cards in a reading, nodding in wonder as they tell us what we need to know. Here, I’m sensing that a stronger hand is needed to get the best out of these cards.
6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Nine of Cups
Yay! In Drengsen’s book, this is all happiness, comfort and satisfaction. And who doesn’t want a bit of that. It’s not claiming to be the be-all and end-all of my emotional needs, and franky, no damn tarot deck ever could be. But the promise here is of fun times. I love the woman on this card with her green knickers, nipple decorations and welcome sign. ‘Just a real good time’, that’s what’s on offer here, and I for one am very happy with that.
So there we have it. A playful, cheeky deck with a good sense of humour and a lot to prove. I feel like a night in with this deck would be like hanging out with a girlfriend, a bottle of cheap fizz and some yummy cheesecake, setting the world to rights without taking ourselves too seriously. But let’s not forget those royals – the Steampunk is the Queen of Cups to my King of Wands and the lesson is one of knowing when to go with the flow (and wake up with a hangover) and when to take control. We might have a fallout or two along the fizz-fuelled way, but I think we’re going to get along just great 🙂
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.