Bleu Cat Tarot by Beth Seilonen and Schiffer Publishing
Status: Currently reading with it
Best for: Everyday questions but especially those with a fun or not-so-serious edge to them. Great for cat lovers or fans of the Siamese cat breed.
Favorite cards: Magician, Sun, Tower
Acquired from and date: Bought myself in early February 2014 from Amazon
My adoration for cats has been life-long and well-known. Early 2014 rolled around and I realized I didn’t own a cat related deck at all. Which was weird because there’s a great many cat-centric decks out there! My problem was that I’m kind of specific on the kind of decks I want to own so many of the more popular ones weren’t super interesting to me.
Then I found this one. The Bleu Cat Tarot is minimalist, and simple at it’s core. Artfully done images of Siamese cats are done in indigo but keep the playful yet dignified attitude of cats. And it has Siamese! My favorite breed of cats.
This isn’t just a novelty deck to catch the small niche of Siamese lovers. It reads extremely well as it’s a RWS clone. It’s definitely one of those deck you’ll either love or feel “meh” about.
Super quick note: The blue of the ink and the black ink lines are darker and more pronounced in the deck than in the instagram pictures. The other photos have shadows because I wanted to stay true to the coloring of the ink. Simply put: The cards are white, not beige.
The Bleu Cat Tarot is a four tone deck. It has vibrant purple-blue denim indigo with a lighter gray-blue that matches the border and background flecks. (The depth of the blue color doesn’t show well in my photos due to lighting.) Then there’s the white of the card and the black ink of background imagery. The card images themselves look something like parchment paper, not entirely smooth despite the card itself being smooth. This is likely intention and comes from the type of paper the art was originally hand-drawn on.
The artwork is stylized and you’ll know just from glancing at these accompanying images or even the box art whether this is for you. There’s no sneaky surprises when it comes to the art. It’s entirely consistent.
The life within the art speaks to anyone who has ever owned a cat. The Death card? A dying plant and the cat standing on a cat carrier (prepping for a trip to the veterinarian, according to the included book). But there are still esoteric images like the High Priestess or Hermit.
The court cards (page, knight, queen, and king) add a little humanity but donning on appropriate hats, helms, and crowns. So you have a page with a plumed hat and a stack of books or a knight with a sword and feathered helm. It’s nothing so out of sorts with the rest of the art. In fact, some tolerant cats might even deal with the costumes in the courts fairly well in real life.
The writing has a slight “Asian” feel to it, reminding me a tiny bit of Chinese restaurant menus in a good way. It’s all in capital letters, blue on gray background. The Major Arcana aren’t numbered but the minor is, save for the Ace, which is spelled out. Since the text is computerized, like the borders, it’s uniform and therefore isn’t hard to read.
The borders are small and suit the deck. At first I wasn’t fond of them but they grew on me. Not all of the border is computerized. The diamond at the bottom of the cards and the triangle at the top of some of the cards are part of the original artwork. The borders and text were added later on the computer. Unlike a lot of decks with borders, this border doesn’t take away from the art. It kind of feels a bit weird though. At first I didn’t like the borders but not I’m rather apathetic to it. The borders exist and they’re small enough where it’s not worth the effort to attempt to trim them.
The deck is a Rider-Waite-Smith clone but switches out the swords, wands, cups, pentacles for feathers, plants, fishes, and balls, respectively. It goes along with the cat theme beautifully. But with all thematic swapping of suits, it takes some getting use to.
The other thing is that this deck can be kind of tricky if you’re not overly familiar with the components of a RWS deck. The deck doesn’t contain many details so if you don’t have a firm grasp of the RWS tradition, you might find yourself stuck trying to figure out what the card might mean just from the image. Intuitive readers might have an easier time with this deck, if they can get into it. If not, then it probably won’t click much at all.
You also have to channel your inner cat mentality. For example, the 7 of Fishes (Seven of Cups) had a bunch of food bowls in it, floating around. Which matches the traditional imagery of the Seven of Cups well but also matches a cat’s mentality. What kind of fantasy does your cat have? Probably something related to food, I’d gather.
I’ve also used this deck with great success for answering questions about being deceived, pride /ego, procrastination, and laziness.It’s also extremely good at spell related questions, especially glamours and illusions. It’s also unusually good at spirit related cards and handles faery related questions without having to deal with the faery decks’ run-around behavior.
This deck does sometimes throw you the odd “well, what did you expect?” sort of answer. All readers get the “how do I overcome this thing?” where the deck answers “by overcoming it”. Super helpful. This deck does that too but it adds a slightly sly or even cutting response. Exactly like a cat would, really. I guess if you want straightforward answers, you’d need a dog themed deck. Ever meet someone who is super intelligent but perpetually done with people and just sits back, making snarky comments? That’s this deck.When it wants to sass you, expect ALL the sass.
That being said, generally speaking the deck answers the questions in a helpful manner. It’s pretty good at giving you a different perspective. I also think it helps calm down things when you’re feeling panicky. That’s probably more the color palette than anything else but sometimes I feel like the deck is saying, “hey, chill out”.
Since the cards only have four colors throughout it, the cards could come off as “boring”. It photographs well but it’s not a deck I break out for client readings often unless it feels appropriate in some way. It’s definitely not a festival or faire kind of deck. It could be a really good deck for trying to read your animal’s inner thoughts and mood but I usually stick to using it for everyday questions for myself.
When it comes to the practical stuff, the deck really shines. It’s a matte finish deck with thick card stock. It’s easily double in thickness of some of my “thin” card stock decks like Fairy Lights. While the thickness adds height to the deck itself, the cards shuffle easily. The card size itself is a not quite standard size for tarot decks. They’re in the ballpark of 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches. Around the size of a pocket memo book and a little shorter (but not wider) than my phone when in a case. I’d consider them a great size for cards but the thickness can make shuffling a bit less automated than a playing card deck.
The box it comes in is a keeper. A magnetic closing, thick cardboard box with white ribbon to keep the lid from flipping open entirely and cracking the hinge. The cards come right to the top of the box so you’ll need to place the included book on top of the deck so you don’t loose any cards. The lid does stay closed but if you’re aggressively tossing the box around, expect it to fly open. It’s only held closed by a magnetic. That being said, I haven’t felt that I’m at risk of losing my cards or damaging them if I keep them in my handbag or a small pocket of a backpack. I might add a rubber band to the box if I had the box in a tote-style of bag where it’s tossed in with everything else. I’m paranoid though so YMMV. I believe the deck was shipping in this box with plastic wrap over it, just as a heads up. It didn’t come with any additional packaging outside of this.
The included book is the same size as the deck itself. I find that the printing is a bit too close to the binding so you have to open the book widely in order to really read the card descriptions. The book doesn’t offer reversal meanings but does have a blurb around reversals. Pretty much, the meaning might slightly change but otherwise, read however you want.
Do at least skim the book. There’s little tidbits in there than can help determine meaning of certain cards or at least explain why they’re not exact clones of RWS. Also, the deck was created around Seilonen’s own Siamese cat’s antics so that comes through clearly with the book descriptions and introduction. The deck is meant to make cat owners smile at the kitty antics – and it does it’s job beautifully.
There’s two included spreads in the deck. They’re written for this deck so they fit the theme and are solid. Both are four cards each, one for situations and another for introspection.
The Bleu Cat Tarot is a cat tarot deck but it’s a cat tarot deck for cat owners who want to smile at the ridiculous kitty antics their own cats have pulled off. It’s not just for Siamese lovers – anyone can appreciate the cards, but the specific breed will pull in anyone who enjoys Siamese.
The art is stylized so if it’s not your style, you’ll want to give this a miss unless you’re a serious collector. It’s also not super beginner friendly as doesn’t have a ton of details to parcel out the meaning from. That being said, as a RWS deck, if you have a fairly good grasp of the cards, you should be able to read this deck easily.
While this deck isn’t vibrantly colorful or full of details, it’s full of fun and life. It’s definitely a deck that you either aren’t interested in or it’s totally your thing. It’s different while still being a RWS. As a Siamese and cat lover and someone who likes unique tarot decks, it was a must-have for me.
The Bleu Cat Tarot by Beth Seilonen © Schiffer Publishing