The Transparent Tarot by Emily CardingThe Transparent Tarot, by Emily CardingThe Transparent Tarot, by Emily Carding
Schiffer Publishing, 9780764330032, 280 pp., 72 cards, 2008

Emily Carding provides a rather extensive book with her tarot deck, I felt I would cover them together. It’s nice to see a deck that’s published without the dreaded “little white book”. The Transparent Tarot comes with a book that’s nearly three hundred pages long, a book that’s appreciated even as a seasoned tarot reader, and would be invaluable if this deck happened to be someone’s first.

Carding explores the cards one by one in a standard fashion, not only describing her art and interpretation but relating it back to the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot to help people understand where she is coming from and how she is viewing the deck and revisioning it in her creation.

Along with the standard explanation of the cards, Carding explains the unique nature of her deck, the fact that the cards are transparent, and how this can change the reading. The cards are dealt on top of each other, as well as normally in a spread, so that each position could have one or more card. The way the cards overlap and combines adds a greater insight to the reading.

The artwork is minimalist and drawn in stippled style, but none the less evocative. The Minor Arcana in the scenarios shown are reminiscent to the Rider-Waite-Smith, where as the Major Arcana images are completely different and more abstract, the idea is they serve as more of the “background” or foundation of your life, and the Minors are more the events.

I’ve greatly enjoyed exploring the deck, getting used to shuffling clear plastic cards was a bit tricky, as well as disciplining myself not to look down through the cards in order to shuffle what I want closer to the top. I’ve had interesting insight in doing a normal reading, like the Celtic Cross, but then “walking” my significator through the reading, placing it on top of each card, to better understand how I am, have or will be affected by the situations. Also, being the ceremonial magician, I’ve found it useful to explore important issues in my life, by reading through the Four Worlds, dealing cards for Atziluth, Briyah, Yetzirah, and Asiyah, with Atziluth on the bottom of the stack, and using this to understand how an issue/pattern in my life is presenting itself (Asiyah) and travelling up in levels of archetypal abstraction to the causes.

In my books, Emily Carding deserves acknowledgement for making what is probably the most unique tarot deck published, for pushing the boundaries of what we see in tarot, and how it can be used. The Transparent Tarot is an interesting and fun deck. Highly recommended.