Fairy Lights Tarot by Lucia Mattioli. Published by Lo Scarabeo
Status: Currently reading with it
Best for: Spirit readings, astral or spiritual related readings, faerie readings, complicated social matters, daily draws, getting in touch with your intuition, and story-telling
Favorite cards: Six of Chalices, Eight of Wands, Five of Pentacles
Acquired from and date: Part of a barter with Kara Driscoll in March 2016
Fairy Lights was one of those decks I found absolutely beautiful so I put it on my Crown’s Witchy Wishlist. It sat there for a couple of years while I focused on getting some other great decks in my collection. Then it was gifted to me as part of a barter. I’m not wholly sure what I expected but Fairy Lights both did and didn’t meet my expectations.
I knew the art was soft and beautiful. It’s definitely a fairy deck both in feel and in depth. But for some reason, I didn’t get the same kind of instant pull towards the deck as I did with the other two decks I was given. In fact, out of the three, this one took the longest for me to want to work with. Which is an absolute shame because it photographs beautifully.
And that’s the thing. This deck IS beautiful and I found little to complain about. But it does require some work to get into the feel of it. I don’t deal much with faery courts in my practice but this definitely reminds me of a faery court – in a good way. Each card has a lot of personality so when you’re working with this deck, make sure to study each card closely in order to fully appreciate the deck.
This is an extremely beautiful and intricate deck. The art is very moody, very colorful, and very fluid. It reminds me strongly of some of the art that accompanied the fairy tales I read as a child. The art is soft and diffused. The gray borders might seem like a strange choice but I rather like it. I think it makes the image of the cards stand out, like a window into each little realm the card shows.
This is not a deck that’s all light and goodness, however. This takes a lot of inspiration from fairy-related stories so you’ll be able to recognize the stories within the images. Some I didn’t recognize the stories to, such as Two of Wands, so it might just be a fantastical image or I don’t know the story.
The colors are extremely bright and vivid, as you can see with the variety of photos but there’s a lot of dark images too. Lots of vibrant colors. Really, this is kind of the perfect blogger deck color-wise because there’s so much color and the palettes are really good.
Nudity is also commonplace but when nudity does appear, it fits the image. Justice, for example.There isn’t a huge amount of nudity but it does exist. I wouldn’t consider this a kid-friendly deck. The nudity here is chosen well. It means something rather than just being a part of the art style.
Content-wise, the deck doesn’t have anything that shocks you out of the deck.There isn’t a sudden modern image surrounded by medieval image. The Emperor was the only one that kind of threw me – it shows a conquistador and army at first glance but the more I looked at it the more I realized it could easily just be an explorer and army.
What I really liked is, except for the numbers, there’s zero script on the deck. The suits are separated by a physically shown sword, cup, wand, or coin. For the Court Cards, for example, there’s just a helm, horse, or crown to designate status. The Major Arcana has just the numbers.
But that’s also a challenge. While the symbols for the Court Cards make searching for those cards in the deck easy peasy, it also means that you have to recognize those symbols for those cards.
Same thing with the suits themselves. They’re fairly self-explanatory when you’re looking at the four suits together but sometimes I forget the sword is represented by an actually swords and not the wand. It’s a silly mistake on my part but it’s one with noting.
The deck back is absolutely beautiful. It fits in very well with the deck and makes this a great deck for adult festivals and events because it’s interesting no matter what side is being shown. The image isn’t a mirror reverse, however, so you will be able to tell the subtle difference between a reversed card and a right side up card.
Not that I think reverses matter with this deck. I’m hit or miss on whether I read a deck with reverses but this one I wouldn’t. Or, rather, I wouldn’t for most readings. I think it would be extremely situational. There may be some merit to remembering that this is a view of a faery court which is othered, separate, somewhere else. Upside down is a common indication of this realm. So, if you read with reverses, you might want to keep that idea in mind.
I think this deck could have really benefited from a companion book. The LWB included in the deck is fairly useless. I’m usually one to give the LWB a chance but this one is a fairly standard LWB so it’s kind of a waste. The box is your standard tuck box so it’s nothing exciting in that terms.
This deck isn’t one I’d overly recommend to beginners. If you love the art and are willing to learn, go for it. But the lack of words and the lack of recognizable imagery can make it a tough deck to learn with. If you’re familiar with RWS style decks, you’ll definitely pick up on the placement and shared imagery that occurs with RWS decks but otherwise, it doesn’t stand out.
When it comes to deck size and shape, the deck is narrow in width. I think some of this is a trick of the eye due to the borders but the cards are actually 2 1/2 inches in width. The deck is almost half an inch more narrow than my Dreaming Ways Tarot. In fact, my Classic Tarot, which fits inside a cloth eyeglass sleeve, is probably the same size as this deck. Height-wise, they’re about average. This is definitely one of those decks I would have preferred larger cards though. The art is so intricate and lovely that a larger size would be good to really soak in the details without straining your eyes.
The paper stock is a bit thin. It makes the deck very easy to shuffle but the thinness has me concerned for the deck’s lifespan. Actually, the deck shuffles extremely well. Actually, I found the card somewhat slippery right out of the box. I want my cards to slid easily but not slip out of my hands when just moving the deck about.
I really like this deck. The more I use it, the more I like it. It’s not as playful as my other faery decks but I feel like it makes up for it with the lack of humans. The faeries aren’t just humans without wings. Some aren’t even humanoid and I love that. I’m a big fan of representing things as they appear in the spirit realms and this definitely has that feel to it.
Overall, would I get this again? Yes. It’s a great deck and has a lot of heart the more you look at it.
Fairy Lights Tarot by Lucia Mattioli © Lo Scarabeo