“[Ostara’s] true mystery, however, is evident every year. She is the first warm spring winds, the birds that return, the trees that bud and curl forth leaves and flowers. She is the awakening earth, rabbits and hares, the eggs that appear after a winter of no light.”
Spoiler alert: I love this deck. The Ostara Tarot was one of those decks I laid eyes on and knew I wouldn’t be able to not buy, and probably wouldn’t sleep until it was sitting in my hands. When it finally was, I had a few weeks to sit with it before traveling for over two months with limited space and, regrettably, leaving many of my decks, including this one, behind.
I did not expect to feel like something had literally departed from my soul when I did that. With utmost certainty, I can say that this deck is really a “soul deck” for me, so I felt it best to state this first in order to convey my biases.
THE NITTY GRITTY
The Ostara Tarot is a traditional 78-card tarot deck that comes in a sturdy, solid cardboard box with a flip-up lid and accompanying guidebook. The deck is multi-artist, by Vancouver illustrators Molly Applejohn, Eden Cooke, Krista Gibbard, and Julia Iredale. As such, they divided the suits among themselves.
As stated in the guidebook, the primary themes explored in this deck are “wilderness, surrealism, and feminine intuition,” with the traditional tarot symbolism as the foundation/basis. Each minor arcana card also has an animal attached to it; for example, the four of each suit displays a rabbit in some way.
- Cardstock: I’m a real fan! The cardstock is fairly sturdy without being too bulky or heavy.
- Multi-artist: While this isn’t a perk for everyone, I loooove multi-artist decks. The Ostara Tarot in particular has common threads pulling the deck together regardless of which artist is attached to it, the animal associations being a big part of that. Generally speaking, the varying artwork complements each other rather than clashes, and for those who aren’t a fan of multi-artist decks, I suspect that this may be an exception to that rule for this reason.
- Backings: The card backings are my favorite. Ever. Game over. When I hear, “wilderness, surrealism, and feminine intuition,” these backings (the lush green, the skull, the flowers blooming out of it, the delicate bordering) really embody that for me.
- Sticky cards: The only tricky business I’ve had with this deck is how they’re naturally stuck together when they arrive. It happens. Just be careful when pulling them apart to avoid any damage.
- Flexibility: For me, the lack of flexibility is a bit of a downside. I’ll likely have to stick to overhand shuffling with this deck, although riffle shuffling is my preference.
- Lamination: These cards are laminated, which isn’t exactly everyone’s preference, nor is it mine. I prefer matte cards, but it’s such a minor gripe that I’m kicking myself for even mentioning it.
I RECOMMEND IF…
- You are moderately acquainted with the traditional meanings of the tarot. The Ostara Tarot, although generally rooted in most familiar Rider-Waite symbolism, does deviate in a few cards, and will take a few once-overs to be completely readable. Although I don’t want to dissuade you from making this a beginner’s deck entirely, The Ostara Tarot really does feel better suited for intuitively gathering your own meanings and symbolism from what is presented in front of you, and doesn’t feel like an ideal beginner studying tool.
- Multi-artist is your jam. It’s definitely mine. I do think The Ostara Tarot does strike a happy medium for those who generally don’t like multi-artist decks because of its cohesion in general, though.