Ann Moura is a long-time specialist on green witchery who has been writing books on the topic since 1996. She’s teamed up with artist Kiri Østergaard Leonard to create a tarot deck that targets people in this branch of the Craft. Green witchcraft promotes a strong relationship with nature, earth magic, elementals, and the immanent Goddess and God. The deck follows this theme with an emphasis on seasons, the eight sabbats, faerie lore, herbs, plants, animals, and the bounty of nature. Characters in the deck are displayed in the normal activities of daily life.

Moura elected to change the names of several Major Arcana cards to augment the deck’s theme: 0 – Greenman, 1 – Witch, 3 – The Earth Mother, 4 – The Horned God, 6 – The Lady and the Lord, 7 – The Battle Wagon, 8 – The Crone, 9 – The Holly King, 10 – The Wheel of the Year, 11 – The Standing Stone, 12 – The Oak King, 13 – The Lord of the Shadows, 14 – The Sidhe, 15 – Nature, 16 – The Wild Hunt, 20 – Harvest, and 21 – The World Tree. The trump card archetypes are similarly adjusted to reflect the deities and practices of green witches.

Card characters are accompanied by animals and plants that correlate with the card’s meanings. The suits are named for typical altar tools: pentacles, athames, wands, and chalices. The suits correspond to an element, cardinal direction, and a season. Knights can be male or female. Queens and Kings are older and more mature characters that represent an accumulation of power and authority in their suit element.

The accompanying book The Green Witch Tarot Companion begins with an overview. The cards are described in some depth with meanings, reversals, and a few keywords. The third chapter offers six tarot spreads to experiment with. The book is logically organized and will be easy for beginners to work with.

The cards have no borders, something that will please many readers! The imagery features detailed panoramic landscapes with great depth and some interior scenes to provide contrast. The color palette is warm and energetic with bright hues. Seasonal depictions help with timing. Most of the human figures are well rendered and successfully convey the card’s meaning.

Card images sometimes stray to a greater or lesser extent from the RWS canon. In the 5 of Wands, five people are standing around a fire conducting a ritual. Ants crawl along a branch in the foreground. The 7 of Chalices is an interior scene with a woman sitting at a table day-dreaming about the seven chalices before her. Faeries are fluttering around her head and there’s a butterfly near the chalices. A frond of Solomon Seal is visible in the corner. The Knight of Wands is a woman riding a horse along a dirt path that runs past fields ripe with wheat. Golden Seal grows at the edge of the field and a night hawk is soaring overhead. The Ace of Athames features a knife instead of a long sword. Beneath the knife are bright yellow dandelions. A mouse is climbing through the flowers.

The Major Arcana cards are more mythic and folkloric. Trump 4 – The Horned God features a handsome deity with deer horns surrounded by animals in a forest glade. It’s clear that nature is his primary venue as well as the source of his power. Trump 18 – The Moon is simply gorgeous. It features a night scene with a woman approaching a tree-encircled pond. A fish leaps as a gentle full moon glows overhead.

The only trump card I felt really didn’t work was Trump 20 – Harvest. It features a scene with a man standing behind a table covered with fresh produce. A woman standing near a cottage is in the background. There’s nothing wrong with the quality of the image, but it doesn’t capture the profoundly spiritual and karmic nature of the Judgment card. There are many possible mythic events and deity transformations that could have been chosen to give the card more oomph.

Nevertheless, this is a fine deck for any green witch or pagan. The deck and book do a great job of conveying the themes of the Craft. The cards can be integrated into rituals; the deities in the trump cards correlate with sabbats. The imagery of the more difficult cards is thoughtful and somewhat less threatening than decks in the RWS family. The Green Witch Tarot would be a lovely, thoughtful Yule gift to give this year.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Creator: Ann Moura, art by Kiri Østergaard Leonard
Llewellyn, 2015
boxed kit with 240-page book, deck, and non-custom unlabeled white box, $28.99