Inspired by ancient rituals and stories of sacred animal spirits, White Numen Tarot is a stunning and original tarot deck designed and created by Alba Ballesta Gonzalez.
Alba Ballesta Gonzalez
Born and raised in Spain, Alba is a 2D artist who co-founded Weba! Studio (animation and indie-games) whilst finishing her major in Fine Arts, where she continues to work as an Art Director. For the past few years, Alba has been working upon animation, videogames and illustration for various companies including Magic the Gathering and Nickelodeon. Alongside her career, Alba also enjoys developing personal projects such as her latest Tarot deck – White Numen Tarot.
What is a Numen?
So, what is a Numen? It’s a question which I asked myself when first flicking through this deck. Alba explains that “Numen’ is a Latin word connected with divinity, here within the image of sacred animals from whom ancient religions evolved” – In short, a ‘Numen’ is a magical, primal being.
I personally associate the Numen with the image of a wild dog or wolf-like beastly animal, though I deem this creature to be more spiritual rather than specific. Having read through the guidebook, I have since found that ‘Numens’ were once painted upon the roof of caves and ceilings of celestial domes, they represented the interdependent relationship between animals and humans – the ancient bond that once recognised our relationship with animals beyond sacrifice and the spilling of blood. The image of the White Numen which features throughout the White Numen Tarot deck is a visual attempt to symbolically close the wound between animals and humans before the path is no longer able to be forged.
As with all Liminal 11 Tarot decks, White Numen Tarot arrives in a sturdy, magnetic close, externally and internally decorated box, inside of which is a separate box (which is also internally and externally decorated) enclosing the White Numen Tarot cards alongside a small, hardback guidebook.
I personally adore Liminal 11 packaging, there’s something really funky about the box within a box setup and, of course, the cute, little hardback guidebook which sits so perfectly alongside the cards.
Liminal 11 makes the cutest guidebooks in the history of Tarot. Each and every one of their decks includes a dinky, little, hardback, colour-printed guidebook which is perfectly sized for slipping inside a pouch or small bag when out and about.
White Numen Tarot includes a sixty-page colour-printed, hardback, dinky, guidebook which includes a contents page, a forward, an introduction, a guide to the major arcana, a single page guide upon each of the major arcana cards, a paragraph upon each of the minor arcana cards, and four spread examples.
Printed on standard-tarot-sized, glossy, card, White Numen Tarot has a grainy effect on both the back and front of the cards. The non-reversible card backs are printed in dull tones of grey, blue, and gold whilst the front of each card features a grainy, off-white border, teamed with simple black numbering and titles at the top and bottom of each card.
This is a lovely deck to shuffle as the cards move freely and easily, though I will admit that I do tend to prefer reversible designs on the back of Tarot cards.
The Major Arcana
Though White Numen Tarot is a sacred animal deck, the setup and titling of the archetypes within the major arcana still follow the traditional concept of The Rider Waite Tarot. However, I personally feel that the symbolism and imagery in regards to the major arcana, has stepped away from the stereotypical, traditional Tarot resulting in a mystical but modern concept.
For example, ‘The Sun’, as a card, would most usually be depicted by images of the sun whereas the White Numen Tarot features a young woman walking along a desert landscape bouncing a spherical object from her hand, whilst a bird-like creature rests upon her arm. As a result, this card has a completely different vibe and in my opinion, offers differing messages to that of a stereotypical Rider Waite Tarot deck.
‘The Tower’ is another example highlighting the distinct differences between the traditional tarot deck and the White Numen’s modern take upon tarot. Whilst ‘The Tower’ card would most usually feature images of lightning bolts, crumbling buildings or structures being struck, ‘The Tower’ within White Numen Tarot features a wounded, impaled soldier – still a shocking image but far different in design.
I rather like the alternative imagery as I personally tend to read intuitively from imagery which alongside my prior knowledge of the Tarot helps me to gain a much bigger picture in terms of readings.
The Minor Arcana
White Numen Tarot follows the traditional suits of Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. Each suit has a particular colour scheme symbolising the related elements (Wands being red for fire, Cups being blue for water, Swords being white for air and Pentacles being green for earth). The court cards also remain traditional in terms of titling as Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings.
The Bonus Cards
Alongside the traditional seventy-eight cards, Alba has also included two extra bonus cards: ‘Black Numen’ and ‘White Numen’, which the guidebook further explains the meanings for. I personally have taken these two cards to signify lightness and darkness, much like the yin-yang of life.
Here’s a short video-walkthrough guide further explaining and outlining The White Numen Tarot.
I have been working with the ‘White Numen Tarot’ for almost a week now to carry out various spreads including daily single-card draws and more detailed spreads. Though I’m not usually a fan of animal-based tarot decks, the White Numen is far different from other decks that I have encountered and though at first I feared that this deck may be a little too modern for my liking, I have completely fallen for the White Numen’s quirky, unique, bold and bright, oriental-cartoon style artwork.
This is a great deck to carry out intuitive readings with as the imagery is quite clear yet features so many little aspects and details making for a really interesting and informative read.
Purchasing & Pricing Information
White Numen Tarot is available to purchase online directly via Liminal 11 from April 2021 onwards. The standard edition of the White Numen Tarot is priced at £21.99, whereas the special edition (which includes metallic gold edging, an embroidered white velvet tarot bag, Alba’s Golden Constellation Oracle deck, a custom cotton tarot scarf, sticker sheets, deluxe prints of the Black Numen and White Numen bonus cards, a signer and numbered authenticity card, and a blue tin with gold decor) is priced at £75
Inspired by sacred stories, rituals, and animal-based spirits, the White Numen is a fairly-priced, indie-style, modern but quirky take upon the traditional tarot which arrives in a beautiful box, alongside a great little guidebook ideal for tarot readers of all abilities. I personally have found a real connection whilst working with the White Numen and would therefore recommend this deck – it’s definitely different and as Coco Chanel once said “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different”.
For further information on the White Numen Tarot or alternative Liminal 11 products visit www.liminal11.com
Disclosure: I was sent the above product for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.