Illustrated by: Kate Taylor, Ffiona Morgan et. al
Published by: Daughters of the Moon
Distributed by: Daughters of the Moon
Year Published: 1991
ISBN: book 1-880130-09-2, cards 1-880130-04-1
Type: Deck of 75 Cards
The Daughters of the Moon Tarot in a very interesting round feminist deck with a long history. It began in 1980 as the Book of Aradia (which can be seen in volume III of The Tarot Encyclopedia). In 1984, a black and white version of The Daughters of the Moon was released. It was a re-imagining of the earlier deck, and different than the current black and white deck. (The figure Moon card in the 1984 edition has a long braid; in the current version the figure has short hair.) In 1991, a revised colour edition of the deck was released, and this is the deck reviewed here. In 2007, the most recent black and white edition was released. My version of this deck features two cards per page, printed on heavy card stock, and all cards are black and white versions of the 1991 colour deck, with a ©1986 in the border.
The Daughters of the Moon Tarot is influenced by RWS Tarot tradition, but many changes have been made to make it more closely fit a feminist/lesbian worldview. The court cards have been reduced from 4 to 3, and renamed Maiden, Mother and Crone. Each of these court cards is also named for a goddess and astrological sign: Crone of Flames, for example, is Cerridwen and Sagittarius, and the Mother of Pentacles is Corn Woman and Taurus.
The deck features 5 suits. That is, the Major Arcana is now the suit of Aether, representing the element of spirit. The Minor Arcana consists of Flames, representing Fire; Cups representing Water; Blades, representing Air; and Pentacles, representing Earth. It is interesting to note that the 5s have been given the task of representing the troubled energy of their suit. For example, the 5 of Pentacles is Earthquake, and the 5 of Flame is Volcano.
Another major change in this deck is the lack of male figures. Two versions of the Lovers card are included, one featuring two women, and one featuring a woman and a (somewhat androgynous) man. Both cards can be used, or the Reader may choose to use only the card that reflects their current romantic reality. A Pan card has been included, which the Reader may choose to include in order to represent positive male energy. It’s female counterpart is the Cyotewomon [sic], and neither really have a traditional equivalent. Other changes also occur in the Major Arcana in order to remove male figures, like the deletion of The Emperor and the High Priest. The Major Arcana is named as follows:
|RWS Name||DotM Name|
|The Fool||The Dreamer|
|The Magician||The Witch|
|The High Priestess||Isis, The Priestess|
|The Emperor||Not Included In Deck|
|The High Priest||Not Included In Deck|
|The Lovers||Aphrodite, The Lovers|
|The Hermit||The Wise One, Crone|
|Wheel of Fortune||Life Weaver, Spiderwomon [sic]|
|The Hanged Man||Reversal|
|NA||Coyotoewomon, The Trickster|
|The Tower||Kali, The Awakener|
|The Star||The Sun|
|The Moon||Yemeya, The Moon|
|The Sun||Amaterasu, The Sun|
|The World||Shakti, The Life Dancer|
Note that the cards themselves in the DotM deck are not numbered.
The artwork on the cards on the cards vary. This is because several artists participated in the creation of the deck. Overall, though, the cards do hang well together. I believe Ffiona Morgan and one or two others directed the drawing of the cards in order to ensure some coherence.
There is a book available for this deck, as well. It provides some basics about Tarot reading, a spread, and a sort piece on the creation of the deck detailing the creators’ frustration with “patriarchal” Tarot decks. The book also addresses the round shape of the deck which does not allow for card reversals, but rather it provides “varying gradations of positive and negative” depending on how the card is rotated. Also included is a description of each card, and this is what makes the book worthwhile. Some card meanings do differ from the traditional RWS meanings. For example, the 10 of Flames (Rods/Wands) means celebration, and the 7 of Cups (the traditional “wish card”) means jealousy. Because this deck is so unique, I believe that the book is a necessity. That said, it is well written and not particularly expensive, so obtaining it and reading it isn’t a chore.
Now, I do have some problems with this deck. Firstly, I find the naming to be inconsistent. Some cards are named after goddesses, some just have titles, and some include keywords. There also also no consistence to the border colour; it appears to have been randomly selected. The card stock is also just a little too thin for my liking. And, lastly, this deck and book invoke a huge pet peeve of mine: the use of womyn, womon, etc.
As interesting and worthy this deck is, I don’t believe it is a deck for everyone. It is best suited to lesbians, feminists, women looking for a very female-centric deck, and for readings focusing on women’s issues. But, despite all of this, I still like it quite a bit.
The deck can book, along with note cards and Tarot readings, can be purchased directly from Ffiona Morgan at DaughtersOfTheMoon.com.
Summary of Features
# of Cards: 75
Reversable Backs: No
Symbol Inspiration: RWS with significant changes
Suits: Flames – fire, Blades – air, Cups – water, Pentacles – earth
Size: approx. 13.5 cm (approx. 5 1/4″)
Rating: 3.5 – An interesting deck if one is looking for a female-centric take on the Tarot. People looking for a traditional deck will be confused or disappointed.