Tarot of the QPOC Deck Review: Kaleidadope Tarot

First Impressions:

Author's Vision

The Kaleidadope Tarot is one of my favorite decks of 2018. I first spotted it when it was up on Kickstarter crowdfunding for production. I was drawn by its simple style and use of pop culture symbols, specifically Black pop culture, as ways to connect to this age old divination system in modern times. Unfortunately it didn't make the goal but thankfully, creator Krystal Banner was relentless and made it happen despite that. I love that it has that kind of determination behind it and I was happy I got a chance to interview her and get a behind the scenes look at the motivations for creating this lovely project.

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Look & Feel:

The deck comes in a customized rigid box that's well-fitted to the cards. If there must be a box, I prefer that they be sized to the cards and not oversize as it's better for storage. Inside the guidebook and cards fit snugly, and my favorite: the guidebook is the same size as the cards! Deck creators, if you must box, box like this.

The cards feel good in the hand, of standard card stock. They are just a little less than glossy which I actually like (though I prefer matte). I hold the gilding responsible for that- I've yet to own a gilded deck that isn't glossy. The gilding is unique, holographic and evocative of the colorful theme inspiring the cards. I did have to go through the usual glossy card ritual of separating the cards from each other one by one and after that they shuffled easily.

Imagery & Content:

The Kaleidadope Tarot is illustrated, with the cards mostly portraying people in environments that call back to the traditional RWS. For folks who read with reversals, the card backs are reversible. It’s incredibly accessible, and would do well with folks at the very beginning of their work with tarot. Krystal made a point to reference pop culture, particularly Black culture throughout the deck.

Krystal shared that this was part of the motivation for creating this deck. After working with too many decks that had no place for her, she created her own! I also love how images from pop culture are used to create deeper, reflective meaning. Pop culture is often dismissed as shallow which is curious because it shows up in every part of our lives. Additionally, the centering of Black people in this deck affirms the truth that a great deal of what we consider pop culture had its roots in Black culture.

I feel a strong responsibility to be an artistic voice and illustrate my truth. My truth is what is authentic to me as a Black woman, as an artist and as someone who understands the power of visuals and how that can influence what someone believes about themselves and the world.
— Krystal Banner

For the most part I thoroughly enjoy the art. I do have a few gripes. I wish there was more diversity in gender and sexuality representation. My one other complaint is that I wish the Kings and Queens in the court cards had been given more to work with. Part of it is that most of the other cards are so well illustrated that I wish they had been a tad more elaborate. It’s a very minor complaint though, as the rest of the deck is thoughtfully illustrated. What seem like simple images gain deeper meaning I believe because of how accessible they are. Krystal has a real talent for keeping things simple and understated while also allowing for layered reflection.

Additional Thoughts:

The deck would be great with beginners and more experienced readers alike. If you like uncomplicated art that works with simple symbols that are nevertheless filled with depth. I enjoyed reading through the guidebook and it helped me spot things that my eyes may have passed over. Also, it’s the size of the deck which means its a dream to store!

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Where to Get Yours:

Purchase your own copy of the Kaleidadope Tarot here at Krystal Banner’s website and maybe treat yourself to some of her other work. I’m particularly interested in the tarot stickers and candles.