Earlier this year the Chrysalis Tarot by Toney Brooks and Holly Sierra made its way to #1 on my must have list. I had been following the creation of this deck on facebook and checking in regularly with Toney's blog. Not long after I wrote my must have post I finally got a copy of this gorgeous deck in my hands.

Holly Serria the artist for this deck went above and beyond with the packaging. Everything about the packaging was done with the consumer in mind. The littlest details made a huge impact as I unwrapped each layer. It did not surprise me at all to find out how quickly the first release of this deck through U.S Games sold out.

Right off the bat you can see there some very unique features to the Chrysalis Tarot. 

For starters the minor arcana has some name changes.

  • Pentacles are stones
  • Cups are mirrors
  • Spirals are wands
  • Scrolls are swords.

I have to admit I am not always a fan of changing the names on the minors, but once you start working with the cards in this deck, it feels very natural. But I just had to ask Toney what the rationale was to this change.

Leeza: I have to say Toney your pip cards did take me a little time to learn, not a lot but a little. What was the reasoning behind changing the name of the suits on the Minor arcana Cards? 

Toney : Mainly to open up new channels for artistic creativity. We didn't make changes for the sake of change; there were sound reasons behind every change we made to the traditional RWS schema. I also thought the new suit designations, especially spirals and scrolls, provided sharper correspondences with the elementals of fire and air than did wands and swords. 

The next thing you will notice is that the court cards have become a Troupe, which to be honest I really like. This level of creativity really opens up the dynamics of the court cards. I feel the archetypes that Toney and Holly have created in this troupe are very accessible to new tarot readers. And only deepen your work with the cards if you are a master reader. But there was something else about these troupe cards that caught my attention and again I had to ask Toney another question. 

Leeza: One thing I am always on the look out for in a deck is the use of animals and animal totems and although your deck is filled with animals the court cards really stand out to me. It would appear that each of your Troupe members have an animal companion or totem. Can you tell me a little more about that?

Toney: Troupe animals represent the particular character's Spirit Animal, totem or familiar. Animal Spirits throughout the deck was particularly important to both of us. The Ravens in the major arcana play a huge role in Chrysalis magic, and you spot them on quite a few other cards as well. Owl is high profile too.

Seeing as I had Toney answering some of my questions I thought I should push my luck and ask a couple more to give more insight into this very magical deck

Leeza: I have to ask this, which is your favorite card in the deck and why?

Toney: My dog Ozzie posed for The Companion, so I have a sentimental attachment to that card as one of my favorites. On another level, Ariadne is my favorite. As a goddess who turns up in both the Celtic and Greek pantheons, Ariadne has played a huge role in my spiritual development for almost 20-years. The lesson of her card is the heart of spiritual transformation. Moreover, this card replaces a card (death) that scares people and, in my opinion, has long outlived its usefulness, so to speak. Death as a tarot card is like the "black box' warning on packs of cigarettes and drives newcomers away from tarot. 

Leeza: Do you feel you created this deck or did the deck bring itself into being through its constant communication with you?

Toney: From my metaphysical perspective, the deck manifested itself. Synchronicity played a significant role throughout. For instance, synchronicity brought me and Holly together. I made many design decisions based solely on synchronicity.

This deck fits nicely into my hands, which are average for a woman. The cards are nice and smooth and do not stick together at all. They shuffle and fan with ease and grace. This deck is a pure delight to read with once you have a handle on the name changes. 

This is a great deck for those people who seem overly intimidated with perceived scary imagery. Although there is nothing light and fluffy about the Chrysalis Tarot, its images are gentle, warm and non threatening. This can be very important to those who just use decks for their own personal readings. 

My only small beef about this deck it the little white book.

Seeing as there are so many unique things about the Chrysalis Tarot I feel a bigger companion book would have been the icing on the cake with this deck. The website is full of wonderful blog posts about each of the cards, yet it is a right royal pain to have to dig through blog posts to find more information for ones readings.

I can only hope that perhaps there is a workbook or journal companion in the works for users and lovers of the Chrysalis Tarot. This deck has so much depth to it that one really does need time and space to sit with it and soak it up. 

All up I give this deck a 4 star rating.

To find out more about the Chrysalis Tarot visit http://www.chrysalistarot.com/