Eep! The Bonefire Tarot just landed in my mailbox yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited! This is a deck that I had on my wishlist when I started my tarot journey (along with a few others) but at the time it was out of print, so the only way to get it was second hand – no one was letting their decks go either, can’t say I blame them! The deck was created by Gabi Angus-West as a self published deck several years back, it had a few editions before going to mass production. It was picked up by Schiffer Publishing last year and released in November 2016. I’m not sure why I stalled for so long on ordering it after lusting after it for several years, but I like to think it was for a reason.
Since ordering this deck, a few fun things have happened that I found really interesting. Right after I ordered the deck, I jumped on Twitter only to find someone sharing a picture of a card from the Bonefire Tarot (the person hasn’t shared a picture from that deck in ages, so it was totally random). Later, while playing around on Instagram, I caught myself asking “I wonder when my deck will ship?” only to stumble upon a random picture with someone commenting “thank you, it’s on the way” and at the very same time I read those words, I got a shipping notification on my phone from Amazon that my deck shipped. Interesting!
This deck has been really pulling at my strings in all the right ways! There are very few decks that I feel a deep connection with so quickly, this is one of those decks. At the end of this post I’m sharing a deck interview reading I did to get to know these cards a little more!
Ok, on to the deck itself! I had a nice afternoon with this deck and got to know the cards and book. While I rarely read the book that comes with a deck, I do like to read the books that come with indie or artist decks. I find these books tend to go deeper into the artists perspective and insights rather than a cookie cutter style interpretation, especially if the book was actually written by the deck creator themselves (sometimes the creator has someone else write the book). Before I dove into the book, I sat down with this deck for about an hour and went through the deck, card by card, to get my own interpretation of the cards.
I gushed over the artwork, took in all the symbols, and… talked to myself out loud, as if I were a teacher explaining each card to a student. I do this so often it’s scary lol! When I talk out loud about a card and explain it as if I’m teaching someone else, it creates a special dialogue and a fun way to get to know a new deck. Try it!
A few things to mention, I love that Gabi titled the Death card in a more traditional sense using just the number “13”. Many Marseille decks do this or leave the title of this card completely blank (as if Death himself cut his name off the card), it was nice to see this little detail here. Also, the use of the word “coins” rather than “pentacles” is a personal preference and I was glad to see it used in this deck as well.
Box + Book
I really like this box! I’m not a huge box person as I don’t care much about deck boxes in general, but for some reason I like this one. I have had decks come in big boxes in the past and I know some readers hate them since they aren’t very practical, but I really don’t mind them. I tend to use big boxes like this as a little place to stash crystals and things, so it’s always fun to get a new one. As far as boxes go, it’s sturdy and it’s pleasing to the eye for sure!
The book is hands down, awesome. There is a lot of extra info about the cards, a symbol glossary in back (which I have spent much time reading), a few spreads, and also some notes about the deck in general including the process of how it was made and the inspiration behind it. I’ve heard many complain that the book font is too small, and I agree but it doesn’t bother me at all. The book itself is just shy of 190 pages, I think 187 if I remember correctly, and is loaded with good stuff!
Like I said above, I rarely read the book that come with the a deck but this is one that I will read. I have already read with this deck a few times now and have been writing down my own thoughts first, then diving into the book to get a little deeper. It’s providing some awesome interpretations mixed with my own and I’m loving it, for sure adding more color to my own readings but not taking away from my own perspective of the cards.
This is a thick, stacked deck and I love it! The cards measure roughly 3.5″ x 4.5″ and forms a nice thick deck (pictures below to show size). When I bought the deck I had a feeling I would not like the card stock just based on the reviews I was reading and watching on YouTube. It was told that the cards are very thick and some readers have trouble shuffling them due to size and flexibility, along with the cards being shiny and “sticky”. I decided I didn’t care and still wanted this deck, so I kept all this in mind and kept my expectations very low when it came to the quality of the deck… when opening the box, I was very pleasantly surprised!
The cards, while thick, are not as thick as I thought they would be. I had imagined they would be thick and shiny like oracle cards from the Halloween Oracle or Messenger Oracle. They are much thinner that expected and have a nice flex to them. They are a bit shiny but not nearly as much as I thought they would be, another pleasant surprise. My worry with shiny cards is they would be hard to photograph but they gave me no issues at all.
As far as being sticky, they are a tad sticky but nothing like some decks I’ve had in the past. When I say sticky, I mean that the cards tend to suction on to one another due to the laminate, not them actually being sticky to the touch. Hope that makes sense! Some cards in a deck will glide with ease and are too slippery on some occasions. One good thing is that the stickiness will go away with use so it’s only a temporary issue really, if you would even call it an issue.
My biggest factor with a deck is how it shuffles! I always say that if I can’t riffle shuffle a deck, it’s an instant “nope” for me. Luckily, I can riffle this deck with ease, I give some credit to the fact that I have very long fingers, but it bends better than I expected. The deck fits nicely in my hand and shuffles great (riffle and overhand) – I’m a happy camper for sure!
I know some readers cringe when someone riffles a deck, but it’s my own version of a fidget spinner. Riffle shuffling the deck before I begin a reading is my way of relaxing and bringing focus to the cards. If I don’t riffle a deck before a reading, it throws me off so much, it’s like I just can’t concentrate and I feel mentally blocked.
Overall, I love this deck! The artwork is stunning and so colorful, I’m not normally drawn to such colorful decks either. If you have been wanting to order it, do it!
Using the spread by Little Red Tarot, as always! It’s just a great spread and you get some good info regarding the deck and how it reads. I had a lot of fun with this reading, and to be honest, it was one of the first decks that really spoke to me when doing an interview reading. I think we will get along just fine!
1. What is your most important characteristic? // Page of Cups
First off, I love seeing a court card show up for this question, it gives me a deeper look at the personality of this deck and I feel it runs true. The Page of Cups suggests that this deck is creative, curious, and imaginative – very much a dreamer! Can you tell?! I love the youthful energy I get from this card and I feel it matches up with this deck very well, I couldn’t have selected a better card to sum up this deck. I also love how the girl in this card is looking up at the fish, watching it come to life. It’s like she is breathing life into this fish, much like the artist has breathed life into this deck.
2. What are your strengths as a deck? // 8 of Coins
Creativity was the first thing that came to mind when I saw this card, it’s illustrated as a self portrait as the deck creator herself. You are strong in color and strong in skill with showing a story on your cards. A lot of work went into creating this deck and it’s clear, your focus and passion is divine. You find strength in the details you present, which spills out into a colorful array of candy to my eye.
3. What are your limits or weaknesses as a deck? //Knight of Cups
Again, the court cards are showing up just where I would love to see them! Looking at the Knight of Cups weakness tells me that this deck tends to lead with its heart and intuition, which will leave you vulnerable and a bit sulky. The words “love is blind” comes to mind when I look at this card. Some area’s are left unclear (the wisps of clouds) so you like to leave the reader to do most of the work and figure it out on their own.
4. What are you here to teach me? // 6 of Cups
Ah, the 6 of Cups, we meet again. I found it funny that this card shows up here again since I just pulled this card yesterday and expressed how much I “fear” it. I don’t like diving into the past but this deck is here to teach me that it’s ok to do so. The past has created who I am today and I can learn a lot from just that alone, it’s like a gift being handed to me. In order to see where I’m going, it’s keen to look back at where I came from, much like a map. This card also screams “growth” to me… the left side was noted in the book as the past and the right side is possibly the dreamy future. It’s about facing the past to learn, so that I can go forward with more confidence of who I am as a person and create my vision of the future.
5. How can I best learn from you? // Knight of Coins
I won’t lie, I totally thought those leaves were pot leaves so I instantly thought “stoner circle” LOL! I mean, that would make learning great fun, right?! The Knight of Coins tells me that I can learn best if I am dedicated and focused (not stoned) when working with this deck. It tells me to be patient and always ask questions! Take this deck slow and steady as to not miss anything, there is a lot going on in the cards.
6. What is your potential outcome of our working relationship? // Strength
Ending the reading with the Strength card, I see this as a good omen for me and this deck! This card suggests to me a mutual trust and respect, it’s an equal partnership. Just like the women in the card tames the gentle lion, there is no force here…. allow things to happen naturally and unfold as they will, have patience. I find this card has good balance and support, not like one has more power than the other. The deck presents the story and it’s up to me to read the words – work together!