Here are some impressions (and a few more images) after spending considerable time with the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot this weekend.
The roundness of the cards is something I like in theory but not so much in practice. It makes for awkward shuffling, disorientation while quickly going through the cards, and – at least in this deck – makes it so much harder to even see what’s on a card if you don’t take the time to put it the right way up and then focus clearly. Which is a pity because these images are really interesting for the most part.
The companion book is by far not as preachy as the one for the Wheel of Change Tarot but it still has a noticeable agenda. (Although, to be fair, even the notes by Chesca Potter to one of my favorite decks, the Greenwood, come with something like an agenda.) I’m also not so sure how I feel about the fact that both creators of the Songs for the Journey Home have once been disciples of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) back in the 1980s as they say in the book. Maybe it’s because I don’t really understand what Osho is/was all about. Or maybe I just distrust any kind of organized spiritual practice.
But for the most part I like the actual cards, and that’s what counts most for me. Many of the images are collage-like drawings and some have pretty interesting spatial perspectives. The art is often amateurish in terms of proportions/anatomy (that means, I believe most deviations from realism aren’t entirely on purpose) but it’s effective nevertheless. And the colors are very nice indeed.
My favorite major so far is the Hermit who regards her reflection in a quiet pool under two palm trees. I also enjoy many of the Earth Songs (7th, 8th, 10th, Innocence/Page and Creating/Queen) as well as the 9th Flame Song, the 3rd Wave Song, and the 2nd Wind Song. The new names of the minors seem a bit unwieldy to me, but that’s probably just lack of habit (Three of Cups isn’t necessarily “easier” than Third Wave Song, after all). But I like the renamed courts (Innocence, Awakening, Creating, Resolving) as a welcome deviation from the Page/Knight/Queen/King model.
Right now I’m thoroughly unsure if this will end up being a keeper, especially since so many people seem to want this deck so much (or is that just because it has become unavailable through the creators?). I don’t think I’ll give the deck away immediately, but I also don’t see it becoming one of my main go-to decks due to the roundness and resulting shuffling difficulties and space requirements for readings.