The Celtic Dragon Tarot
Dragon fans rejoice! This deck represents my first foray into dragon-themed decks (of which there are many), although since purchasing this one I’ve acquired another dragon-based deck. You may recognize one of the designers of the deck, D.J. Conway. She is also the author of Moon Magick, one of the textbooks we use here at the Tradition of the Witches Circle.
While this deck is far from my favorite, it is a favorite with clients who are looking for the interactions between humans and dragons that are portrayed here. This deck has at least one dragon on each card, and three on the card backs, which are nice and simple with a combination of which and gray.
One of the reasons that I tend to shy away from this deck is because it lacks much of the traditional tarot imagery. This fact makes it difficult for new readers to use right away, especially if the book was not purchased with the deck or not available during a reading. For example, the Five of Pentacles has two humans and five dragons, as well as the five pentacles, but no symbolic insight can be gleaned from the card itself. The expressions on the faces of the humans are neutral, while the faces of the dragons are somewhat menacing.
Another reason that this deck is not one of my favorites is that the suits do not necessarily have the same element as in the traditional Rider-Waite; Swords are represented by Fire, and Wands are represented by Air. Yeah, I know…I’m a purist in many respects. But this is a change from many Tarot decks out there, so know how you’re going to read the cards before you lay them out. For me, Swords are Air and Wands are Fire, and I interpret them as such, but the choice is up to you, of course.
However, there is some fantastic artwork on these cards that made it necessary for it to be a part of my collection. The Two of Cups shows a large dragon filling a cup which is being held by a man and a woman standing across from one another. This was an original way to get the dragon into the image. They are surrounded by roots and flowers—solidity of the relationship and fertility—and the whole scene is presented with a full moon as the backdrop.
For major arcana cards, The Hermit is one of my favorites, showing a large green dragon on a hillside studying books. Temperance shows three different color dragons of equal size, showing the balance of the card meaning. However, Chains, which is The Devil in more traditional decks, is quite a disappointment to me. In this card, the man and woman appear chained together by a dragon who is holding the chains. But the chain does not go around the figures; in truth, the chain only is shown on the floor and not at all connected to the humans. The book talks about there being sparks from the chains, which I saw but only upon close inspection.
My favorite card in this deck was the Ten of Cups, which shows a family at a table. The cups on the table have rainbows coming out of them, and small dragons come spilling out of a jug on the tabletop. It shows much of the traditional imagery of the card: family, peace, and happiness.
If you’re into dragons and have a solid understanding of Tarot imagery, this deck may be just what you’re looking for. Buy the deck and book set together to make sure you’re not missing any of the imagery