In the beginning of August I entered a contest on Ohm Sweet Ohm’s Facebook page to win a tarot deck called Tarot of the Absurd. I had never heard of the deck before so I was very intrigued when I looked it up and saw a black and white deck with very quirky art and when I say quirky, I mean fabulous! This deck is very different than any deck that I have ever seen. Granted, there are so many decks out there that I probably have only seen a smidgeon of what is actually available and out of print but this is the first time that I have seen something like this. I started doing a bit of research on the deck, the artist, and when it was created and found in that research that the artist, Jessica Rose Shanahan, has a marvelous sense of humor, which can absolutely be seen in her art in this deck.
When I found out that I had won the contest I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait for the deck to arrive. And then it did. The deck comes in a sleeve that is tied with a red ribbon and it also has a title card which tells you what deck number that you have in its limited run of 600. While the sleeve isn’t going to stand up very well it is very special because the artist assembled them by hand. This is such a huge plus to me so it will receive a very special place in my collection. The art itself is based on the traditional Rider-Waite illustrations, with the Magician becoming the Alchemist, and the suits becoming Blades, Coins, Cups and Sticks. The art is very simple in a good way. Some black and white decks that I have seen the illustrations are very busy making them very difficult for me to read, but not this one. The simplicity in black and white just pops out at you, practically screaming its messages. A fabulous bonus is that the deck is borderless making it easier to read.
The card stock is a bit on the thin side but it seems to me that it should hold up pretty well. It’s also a good size and easy to shuffle which is great because I have small hands. The backs are very simple, but beautifully decorated double doors which lend a bit of elegance and invite you to open it up to discover the secrets on the other side.
A couple of my favorite cards are Strength and 7 of Blades. The strength card shows a woman standing over a lion, prying open its mouth with a face full of agony. On one foot she wears a high heeled shoe and the other is in the upper right had corner of the card. The lion looks as though he is saying “ok. I would have opened my mouth if you would have just asked but carry on”. It really captures the essence of what strength is about and can even say that sometimes we tend to make things harder than what they have to be.
The 7 of Blades cracks me up every time I see it. It embodies the typical meaning of theft, deception or betrayal but with a comic flair. We have a man wearing a long trench coat with 7 blades inside of it and he holds up the one side as if to say “psssstt. Are you looking for a blade? I got what you looking for at a good price.”
The artist chose to have 2 moon cards in her deck, one of which is a mother who is eating her own child. While some may find it creepy, I find it hilarious. Not that I would eat my children but as the mother of 2 girls, their teenage years were very difficult so I can certainly find the humor in this image.
The readings are accurate and to the point, kind of like that best friend who tells you like it is with that sassy sense of humor and her eyebrow arched in disbelief that you even had to ask the question in the first place.
This deck is superbly charming, witty and just plain fun! It will definitely be used on a regular basis in my house. I’m simply in love with this deck.
If you wish to purchase this awesome deck you can do so from the artist, Jessica Rose Shanahan, at
or from Ohm Sweet Ohm
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