Detail of Nine of Wands, Mystic Mondays Tarot, by Grace Duong
Mystic Mondays Tarot, by Grace Duong

Mystic Mondays Tarot, by Grace Duong
Chronicle Books, 9781452176383, 78 cards, 159 pp., 2018

Graphic design artist Grace Duong combines digital technology with modern art and spirituality in the Mystic Mondays Tarot.

“Mondays are for new beginnings, and this deck is your key to a fresh start any day of the week,” reads an excerpt from the product description. This line is what initially drew me to the deck. As someone who deals with depression and anxiety, I try to work several “fresh starts” into every day. A deck aimed specifically at that sounded great to me, and indeed it hits squarely on that mark.

Mystic Mondays began as a kickstarter campaign in 2016, and it is now available from Chronicle Books. Images from the cards appear in gallery showings worldwide and available as poster-sized prints, jewellrey depicting characters or elements from the cards, and even an app available from iTunes and Google Play.

To cover the specs, the cards measure 2-1/2 x 4-5/8 inches. Cards have silver-foiled edges, and when the light moves across the edge of the deck you see a myriad of bright colours, like a prism. The card backs are black with a mystical, geometric design in white to pale pastel. This design is also featured on the box, which also reflects this holographic colour-shift when looked at in the light.

As the cards have to hold up to the gilding process and hold onto the foil itself, it is a rather thick deck, and the cards are quite heavy and stiff. They don’t readily shuffle in standard fashion. After many weeks of shuffling to break them in, they have begun give way a little, but I still just spread them out on my table and mix them together.

The companion guide measures about the same, at about 1/2 inch thick. It consists of thick, full colour, glossy paper, with two pages devoted to each card (one for the upright and one for the reversed meanings), along with planetary and astrological correspondences. There is a one-page introduction to the concept behind the deck, and the rest of the book is devoted to the cards in a chronological fashion.  The insight in the book is faithful to the original tarot meanings, but is presented in a very modern, practical, and easily applicable fashion.

Five of Pentacles, Mystic Mondays Tarot

I want to mention that a few weeks after receiving the cards, a recommendation for Mystic Mondays Tarot actually showed up on my Amazon feed. Curious, I read some of the customer reviews and was dismayed at the number of negative ones that had to deal with the foil or silver gilt edging on the cards.  It’s true that when I pulled the cards out of the box, a great many of them were stuck together, and it looked like there was black splotching along the edges of the card faces, which I presume was the adhesive for the foil. But by gently running a fingernail down the edge it flaked right off, leaving each card unmarred and the foil edge cleanly intact. Because I was so enamored of the deck, I thoroughly enjoyed doing this with each card, and so I was sorry that so many people thought their decks were damaged or flawed. Spending that time while examining each and every card made me feel closer to the deck and more eager to use it.

The imagery on the cards is dramatic, yet simple. The background colours are often gradients that move from one to the next, giving a sense of motion. The colours range from deep blues and purples to vibrant neons. The cards strike me as primarily feminine. Of the cards that show characters, only nine are male, while 32 are female. The court cards consist of princesses, knights, queens, and kings. The images themselves are very simplistic, without a lot of extraneous detail to sort through. Instead, the vibrant colours and minimalist images envoke imagination.

Although I use the Mystic Monday cards nearly every day, I would not call them “everyday cards.” Unlike most other decks, these don’t travel with me, but sit up on my table for special use and undivided attention. When I’m feeling stuck, I go upstairs and spend some time with them, taking my time in shuffling and handling and finally dealing them out for consideration. They’re very special. They seem to know it.