Created by Melissa Wotherspoon the Lonely Dreamer Tarot was a recent Kickstarter campaign where 400 backers raised roughly $20k OVER her anticipated goal to bring this project to life! Inspired by the works of French artist Odilon Redon, known today for the ‘dreamlike’ paintings he created in the first decade of the 20th century. Redon’s art was inspired was inspired by Japanese art and which, while continuing to take inspiration from nature, heavily flirted with abstraction. His work is considered to be a precursor to Surrealism.
The deck is lovingly called “The Lonely Dreamer Tarot” as an epithet for Redon the child. Young Redon was misunderstood by his parents and largely left alone, spending hours lying in the grass gazing at the clouds. There is no doubt that young Redon began to look inward and to develop a vivid inner world of narratives and creatures which he then translated into intensely beautiful and often starkly psychological visual works, turning his loneliness into art. Wotherspoon inspired by this and looking for a creative way to process and reflect on the world around here created this deck. Focusing on the work of Redon, as his work lends itself well to intuitive interpretation and thoughtful reflection with such an incredible range of imagery and diversity in his work, Wotherspoon felt like more people could benefit from the unique inner dialogue that whispers in your ear when viewing his work.
Creating a deck inspired by another artist was an interesting challenge as an artist myself, mainly because I wanted to do his work justice without transforming it into something it was never intended to be.M. Wotherspoon
The Lonely Dreamer Tarot comes in a magnetic durable box with rose petal finish and a ribbon. A 78 page guidebook that is basically a little white book. The cards are a standard tarot size with card stock being a high quality 330 gsm with satin finish and linen texture. The card stock is to me a perfect blend of quality and functionality! Feeling very tasty to the touch with that right stock that is flexible and durable, and perfect for withstanding riffle-shuffling. And to all my Deck Sniffers out there: This is definitely a deck you would enjoy getting a whiff of! lol The 78 card deck is based in the RWS system plus an additional 6 cards, for a total of 84 cards in the deck. There is an additional 8 of wands card if readers prefer a certain image, and the other 5 cards are “extras” for intuitive readers that would like to leave them in.
As Melissa stated in her campaign there were only 500 copies of this deck produced and no intention of creating a 2nd run! She is potentially considering creating a companion oracle deck in the same Redon inspired style but this has not been set in stone! At the time of writing this there are currently 59 copies left of this for Sale in her Etsy Store, so if this is something you are interested in let that FOMO sink in hard core !!!!
So I’m not gonna lie… from this point on is almost going to be a verbal vomit stream of consciousness because I am not sure I have words to describe how this deck makes me feel! It honestly is unlike anything else I have experienced with any other deck and in a good way! The imagery of the deck is not necessarily something that I can always immediately connect with, but it’s more of an intuitive read.
I FEEL the images. I FEEL the colors, the stroke of the paint brush, the emotion, the intention. For me, sometimes it is very difficult to put feelings into words…this is one of those circumstances!
The art reminds me of something I would see in a museum gallery. A piece of fine work displayed in an ornate golden frame. A visual work to inspect, to walk into the scene, and sit in my emotions, heck, sit in the emotions of the art. What does this painting say to me? What feelings do I get from it? What was the artist thinking or feeling when she painted it? In this way the art itself could be subjective. Allowing the individual to derive their own meaning or emotions from each of the cards. There is something magical about this to me!
Two cards in particular I want to discuss as it draws out some feelings in me that I want to address:
I find this artistic representation of the Magician to be very interesting. To me the Magician is very light and radiant, a point of discovery of one’s own power to manifest dreams into reality…and proud of it! This depiction does not take away from that, but flips the feeling on it’s head. Instead of a more outward expression of this new found joy the solemn tone and dark and muted color pallet make me feel like this actualization is more of an internal discovery and not something broadcasted or shared with the world.
The vapors in the card represent the Magicians ideas and aspirations coming into being. The symbolism behind the meaning of the card is still there for me… this card just invokes a different emotion out of me. Which is the case with most, if not all of the cards. This is why I find this deck to be so intriguing!
For the 10 of Swords I want to read directly from the book for this one:
“A solitary figure crouches behind a rock as if being hunted down. The damage is done. Words and events leave their marks like invisible swords in our backs. It can feel like the pain will never go away, but this card indicates a clearing in the distance, offering brighter days to come.”
I wish I was good with words, eloquent with my speak, but alas I am not. The most I got, is this card gives me goosebumps! lol A different kind of feel than the traditional imagery. One that is not such a direct translation of a bloody man on the ground with 10 swords in his back. But rather the mental anguish felt, and yet hope in the distance seen.
As I still consider myself to be a new learner I am not going to lie, reading with this deck is a little challenging! Interestingly enough, it calls to me to work with it! Have patience and sit with the imagery. Meanings don’t necessarily come to me immediately, but the more I sit and FEEL the cards the more I understand. I image this would be a challenging deck for anyone that considers themselves to be a new reader, however I wouldn’t want to discourage those from trying if they are drawn to it’s imagery!
The overall quality of this deck is really great! A smooth textured durable box, with ribbon, both inside and out adorned with imagery and quotes. The card stock I am really impressed with. I think it meets this “sweet spot” for me between quality and functionality. It’s at that point that even if I wanted the quality to improve it would affect how I am able to shuffle and handle the deck, and I love how it works in my hands! My only qualm would be the guidebook. Now we all know… I am not the biggest guidebook fan…but it’s something about this deck, it’s art, it’s story that I WANT MORE! This for sure if would ever be turned into a novel I would love to geek out on and read more! On the flip side of the coin I suppose keeping the information to a minimum then allows the reader to come to their own conclusion….which I suspect is exactly what the artist wants us to do!