Created and illustrated by Mari in the Sky aka Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar, The Gentle Tarot was published in late 2020. It is a calming, colourful, nature-inspired tarot deck that offers loving, supportive, and graceful guidance through stunning, soft, and sympathetic imagery.
Mari in the Sky
Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar is the artist and creator behind ‘Mari in the Sky’, she is a nature-inspired illustrator who creates hard-drawn art influenced by her indigenous spiritual background and life which she has spent in remote Alaska.
Following graduating from Reed College in 2009 Mariza set about a life-long dream of travelling, temporarily settling in various countries including South East Asia, Europe and Oceania. Mariza has lived and worked in Alaska since 2014, she began selling her art in the summer of 2019 by investing in an eco-friendly printer that she used from home.
Inspired by our natural environment, indigenous artist Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar explores issues of mental health and self-love with the hope of encouraging care for our planet and ourselves that collectively, we may experience our full potential.
The Perfect Packaging
The Gentle Tarot is packaged securely within a sturdy, swish, stylish box which when opened features a mindful message – ‘stay wild dear heart’ printed upon an insert that houses the cards which can be released using a luscious, golden pull-ribbon. Inside the box are the seventy-nine tarot cards and the chunky but very informative guidebook.
The Gorgeous Guidebook
The Gentle Tarot was created and illustrated by Mariza Ryce Aparicio-Tovar, and the accompanying guidebook was edited by Kelli McConnell. This 186-page simple but chunky, black and white printed guidebook features sections upon praise, dedications, and appreciation prior to the contents page. The guidebook then includes an introduction to the deck, information upon the artist, a guide upon how to use tarot cards, some simple spreads, information upon the major arcana, information upon the minor arcana, an opening intention, a double-page upon each of the major and minor arcana cards (on the left-hand side of which is a black and white image of the card) explaining their upright meaning, and finally a section upon the artist and editor.
The Gentle Tarot Deck
Dedicated to ‘our furred, feathered, finned, four-legged friends, along with the threes, mountains, and the seas, The Gentle Tarot is a nature-based tarot deck intended to aid healing of ourselves and the earth upon we walk. Based loosely upon the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, The Gentle Tarot features seventy-nine cards in total (one extra than the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck) including ‘The Unseen’, a bonus major-arcana card.
The cards are of standard size (in comparison to other tarot decks) and feature gorgeous gold, shimmery, edging and a sleek but smooth, non-glossy finish. This deck is slightly sticky to shuffle due to the waxy finish on the cards but I personally haven’t found any issues when shuffling and have used these cards on a daily basis for over a week now.
The stereotypical suits of wands/ staves, cups, swords, and pentacles/ coins have been modified to suit this gentle, nature-based deck, as the swords as now named ‘thunder’ and the pentacles are retitled as ‘stones’. The traditional court cards have also been altered as the Pages is now a ‘Seed’ whereas Knights are now ‘Roots’, Queens are now ‘Flowers’ and Kings are titled as ‘Harvest’.
Each card features a coloured border, the title of the card (which is printed at the base of the card in a casual, arty-font), and numbering which is printed at the top of each card.
The Major Arcana
Each of the cards within this deck feature coloured borders/ rims. The major arcana uses a purple border signifying ‘spirit’, whereas the minor arcana border colours differ between each suit.
Unlike the standard Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, The Gentle Tarot includes a bonus major arcana card – ‘The Unseen’ (featured above).
The Minor Arcana
As I mentioned earlier, each of the cards features a coloured border/ rim which differs between suits. The suit of wands has a red border/ rim signifying fire, the suit of cups has a blue border/ rim signifying water, the suit of thunder (swords) has a yellow border/ rim signifying air and the suit of stones (pentacles) has a green border signifying earth.
The Suit of Wands
The Suit of Cups
The Suit of Thunder
The Suit of Stones
Here is a short video-walkthrough guide that I put together further outlining and explaining The Gentle Tarot.
Reading and Working With The Gentle Tarot
I’ve spent the past seven days using The Gentle Tarot alongside a couple of oracle decks to cast ‘daily draws’ using a single-card pull/ spread and I’ve also used this deck to carry out much bigger, more detailed readings using a variety of spreads including the traditional ‘Celtic cross’ spread.
Having spent time working with this deck, I’ve found it to incredibly mellow, calming and indeed ‘gentle’ to read with – many of the readings that I have cast using The Gentle Tarot have offered compassion, consideration, care and sympathy to the subject. The Gentle Tarot is a heartful deck that provides heartfelt readings.
Purchasing & Pricing Information
The Gentle Tarot retails at $60 American Dollars (which converts to around £43.10 GBP) and is available to purchase online directly from www.thegentletarot.com
The Gentle Tarot is a nature-inspired, soft and sympathetic tarot deck which, despite the alternate namings for the court cards and some of the minor arcana suits, is a suitable deck for any level of tarot reader. This delightful divination deck produces calming, caring and considerate readings which can be delivered delicately through the soft but stunning imagery featured throughout the cards.
I personally have found a real connection to The Gentle Tarot and would thoroughly recommend this deck to other readers – it is a true delight to read and work with.
The Gentle Tarot deck had a whopping 622% achievement of its Kickstarter funding goal of $12,000. It raised $74,708 by 985 backers in 33 days and 10% of all the profits Mariza has dedicated to ocean and climate change research. For further information upon The Gentle Tarot or alternative products from ‘Mari in the Sky’ visit www.thegentletarot.com
Disclosure: I was sent the above product for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.