The Herbcrafter’s Tarot celebrates the handicrafts, tools, and time-honored folk skills related to herbs, trees, flowers and other plants that share their gifts with us. This deck and book set explores the relationship between herbs and how people use them for medicine, creativity, ritual, and spiritual guidance. It also considers herbs as archetypes and explores our partnership with the botanical realm. Herbcrafter’s Tarot is an engaging introduction to herbalism and plant spirit magic, and can be used as a profound divinatory tool.
The set includes a 78-card deck and a 124-page book full of herbal inspiration and ideas for crafting with the cards.
I looked for quite a while for a deck of tarot cards with a tie to plant magic and nature – and I’m so glad this is the one I went with. The cards are the perfect size and made of good cardstock that doesn’t stick together, has a nice enough box to use until I find a bag I like better and a book that goes into GREAT detail about the choices made behind in the scenes in creating the deck. Though it’s a tarot deck it doesn’t follow any classical style like the rider-waite or crowley and though this can be difficult to those still learning, I absolutely loved how they tied the meanings of the cards with the personalities of magical plants. So here are all the reasons the deck get’s 5 mystical eyes out of 5!
👁️ – The plants are not just art on the cards but a part of the energy of the deck. That means each plant is explained, it’s environment is described, and even it’s uses in magic and folk healing. This sounds like it would be true of all plant decks, but others I looked at with beautiful botanical artwork really only used those images as art. Nowhere was the choice of why that flower went on that card explained. The Herbcrafter’s tarot is clear and educational and you learn about the plants as you read.
👁️ – This deck was created by two people with some shared celtic heritage, but the writer is also mexican-american so the plants featured are this incredible mixture of european plants you might find here in canada and around the pacific northwest, and plants and practices from the Sonoran Desert. This is… honestly it’s incredible. This means that in addition to rosemary, plantain, and mugwort you have plants like yucca, cacao and ocotillo with explanations ofits significancee in mexican culture and medicine. The court cards have been renamed to spanish names for herbal healers and practitioners so Pages become Hyas (daughters), Adelitas (warriors), Madres (mothers), and Curanderas (healers).
👁️ – In the tarot, 5s usually represent challenges or strife. In the herbcrafter’s tarot the plants feature on the 5s are threatened or endangered, and each card tells you how you can hook up with an organization they’ve partnered with called United Plant Savers. White sage, black cohosh, goldenseal, and slippery elm are all threatened by overharvesting or deforestation and are vital to our ecosystems and herbal medicine! One day I pulled one of these cards in a position asking ways I can make a greater difference in the world – so I donated to United Plant Savers campaign to save and replant the Goldenseal plant. What a beautiful way for me to put that into practice immediately!
👁️ – On every page they recommend ways you can craft with the plant on the card and sometimes this includes suggestions like “make infused honey” or “create a tincture” but it obviously doesn’t list a recipe. When you go to the back of the book, though, you find instructions on how to make honey, syrups, teas, tinctures, salves and other “crafts” you can make with magical and medicinal plants. If you’re actually trying to learn how to physical connect with the spirit of the plant you pull, it’s right there. The plants and crafts they choose also really line up with the actual tarot message of the cards. For example, the high priestess is represented by Mugwort, a plant of psychic visions and interpreting dreams and one of the crafts is to create a mugwort dream pillow. (my fave!) The High Priestess walks between the worlds and can move into the spirit world or astral realm, so this is a great way to really work with that card’s energy.
👁️ – Finally, these cards are not just about the plants – they’re about the magic and medicines of the plants and most importantly, the people (and practices) that work with them. The Hya of water shows a small girl brewing chamomile tea with the help of her mother, the adelita of earth is weaving brigid’s crosses from the leaves of a yucca, the madre of fire is crushing thyme for potions and brews, andd the curandera of air has used a rounded boline knife to cut rosemary, and is raising it to the sky. This not only demonstrates an attention to detail, but it really ties the entire deck together as a story – our story! The story of healers and witches and medicine women.
The entire deck is incredibly well thought out, researched, and put together. The book covers everything you could need to know to read the cards, but they also uphold the general meanings of the tarot cards. The artwork is just gorgeous. The book explains the pictures were hand drawn using prismacolor pencils, but only after the writer and artist staged the scene with the actual flowers and photographed how they wanted the cards to look. I cannot imagine the amount of time that went into creating this deck, but I’m so grateful for it.
I highly recommend this deck in general, but if you’re brand new to the tarot and using a book based on the classic rider-waite symbolism you may not find this deck is helpful. That being said, it’s not impossible, of course! It’s a beautiful deck with a very clear book and lovely symbolism of its own.
Did you hear? I WROTE A BOOK! Green Witchcraft: A Practical Guide to Discovering the Magic of Plants, Herbs, Crystals and Beyond comes out 2/25/2020 and is currently available for preorder!
If you like the plants featured in the Herbcrafter’s Tarot more than 20 of them are also featured in Green Witchcraft including alfalfa, willow, marigold and calendula, borage and mugwort.