Unless they've been living under a social media rock the past few months, almost every Tarot practitioner and enthusiast has been long awaiting The Fountain Tarot. A collaboration between artist/creator Jonathan Saiz, writer Jason Gruhl, and designer Andi Todaro, the deck got its start on Kickstarter and has been hotly anticipated since the project was funded and decks were able to be mass-produced and released. While I'm never one to give into hype, and even resisted buying this deck for a longtime purely based on it being "the next big thing," I am here today to proudly and loudly admit how completely and utterly wrong I was. This deck is beautiful magic, plain and simple. If you consider yourself a serious Tarot enthusiast, you will be sorely mistaken if you do not head to the deck's website and put in an order. Now.
While the card-stock is perfect, the finish is perfectly matte, the backs of the cards geometrically sumptuous, and the edges gilded with glittery silver, the true heart of this deck is the jaw-doppingly beautiful artwork. While sticking within the RWS framework, the art is modern but deep, minimalistic yet perfectly detailed. It's cool palette guides the user gently though the journey of both the Major and Minor Arcana, speaking calming yet placing just the right amount of emphasis on what it needs to say.
While I don't want to gush, I will admit I'm hard-pressed to find a card I don't resonate with, much less pick a favorite card to write about in detail. There are a few, however, I'd be remiss to not mention, as there were a handful I was immediately drawn to.
More often than not a card I don't think twice about, I felt an instant connection to Temperance. Usually an androgynous angel-like figure, something about this card's step away from the traditional portrayal spoke to me the first time I saw it. Death is beautifully creepy (for lack of a better term), and the Two of Cups I adore for its cool warmth and emotional depth. Lastly, the Two of Swords is stunning in my humble opinion. While it doesn't stray too far from the card's traditional depiction, it speaks volumes on the oceanic depth of the human mind; much like the deck does as a whole. If I could blow this card up and frame it in my living room I would.
One thing I have come to instantly appreciate about this deck is how it helps me with some of the cards I find the most troublesome to interpret. The Nine of Swords, Six of Swords, Four of Cups, Five of Coins, and Eight of Wands are ones which often leave me scratching my head or dissatisfied with general interpretations. Here the art perfectly captures the cards' essences, remaining faithful to traditon while honoring the artist's unique vision and helping me grasp a better understadig of the cards and their meanings.
As this deck is clearly a special gift to its reader and querents, I thought I'd interview it using TABI's Interview Spread (which I found through Tarot Seed who found it through Little Red Tarot; love how connected this community is!). Here are the results:
Card #1: Tell me about yourself? What is your most important characteristic? - The Emperor Ah, a fellow Aries! This card tells me this deck is one that will not dick around; it'll tell me exactly what I need to hear, even if I may not want it to. It will be demanding and tough yet strong and righteous. It won't ever lead me down the wrong path; challenging ones, yes, that will require introspection and growth, but it'll never give me what I can't handle.
Card #2: What are your strengths as a deck? - Temperance, reversed Spiritual imbalances are this deck's forte. Its strength will lie in its ability to shed light on the dark and help me see where I need to shift my balance in order to remain on the path that will best suit my journey toward enlightenment. If I'm feeling stuck in the spiritual shadows, this deck will help me find my way.
Card #3: What are your limits as a deck? - Nine of Coins, reversed The deck can't do the work itself. While it may be able to help provide answers and suggestions, it's also a deck that will ask me to take its advice and wisdom and work at it. I can't simply flip the cards over and get every answer I need. With this deck, I'll get hints at which direction to head; it'll be up to me to start the journey and see where it takes me.
Card #4: What do you bring to the table? What are you here to teach me? - Judgement Release, freedom, escape from that which holds me down. This is a powerful deck for declaration and reformation, and it's here to show me not only my weaknesses but how I can grow into and surpass them as I work toward finding my true Self.
Card #5: How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? - Knight of Swords Take some serious action! I won't learn from this deck by using it occasionally; I need to dive in head first and use it as often as I can to work with it effectively. This is a deck that thrives on movement and use, and the more it's shuffled and drawn the more I'll learn and gain from it.
Card #6: What is the potential outcome of our relationship? - The Hierophant Teacher and student, master and apprentice; this deck has volumes of wisdom to teach me if I'm able to really sit and listen to what it has to say. The relationship may not always be an agreeable one, but any bouts of argument will only be encouraged to help my grow both spiritually and mentally as a reader and practitioner. The deck is the perfect mix of old meeting new, and that dynamic will only grow as this relationship gets deeper and more meaningful.