Created and self-published by Mary Griffin, this stunning deck took 3 years to complete and is the most wonderfully colourful deck I have seen in a very long time. I was surprised to discover that the Hezics Tarot is painted in watercolours, I never knew watercolours could be so vivd. The shades of pink and orange, of green and lavendar, of blue and yellow are rich and full and a delight to behold.
The deck is based on the Rider Waite-Smith Tarot and remains true to the imagery and structure of it. The only differences being a name change in the Minor Arcana: Pentacles become Coins, and Wands become Rods.
When I first opened the packaging my heart skipped a beat! There inside was a beautiful box. Gloriously finished, glossy and drawn to look like a package in its own right. This is how Tarot decks should be presented – Mary Griffin certainly set the standard with the presentation and safe keeping of her deck. This box is sturdy, the kind that when you receive a luxurious present, you keep the box and use it for something else, you know the kind.
The artwork on the box is done in a style called Trompe l’oeil, which is a hand drawing made to look like the real thing, complete with 2d effects. The front of the box has one fairy trying escape, literally coming out of the package. Nothing has been left out here, the attention to detail is stunning and a welcome change from the usual mass production of other decks.
A Little White Book Like No Other
Once you get over the awe and excitement of the outer packaging of the deck and open this outstanding box, you are greeted with the LWB (Little White Book), and again, true to Mary’s eye for detail and doing things her way, it is a delight and another ‘aww’ moment. This LWB is green, like an exercise book, thick and with a proper spine to it, complete with a space for you to write your name on – as if you could deface this little beauty like that. In actual fact, it has been defaced already with ink splodges and doodles by the Hezicos Fairies, little tinkers they are…
On opening the LWB, you are greeted with the contents page and an introduction to Mary, her artwork, some tarot spreads for you to practice with, and of course the all important divinatory defintions and tarot card meanings a la Hezicos style. This being self published, and with Mary retaining artistic control over her work, the amazingness continues. This LWB is printed in colour. Every tarot card is represented with a description of the card, and then the definitions, upright and reversed, with the card itself printed in full colour. There are even some pages at the back of this book entitled Notes, but again, I couldn’t bring myself to write anything, anywhere on this gem.
The Beauty Inside the Box – 78 Glorious Tarot Cards
The cards themselves are a good size 7.6cm x 11.7cm and of a good quality stock. They have a semi-gloss finish and they are a delight to shuffle and deal out. Being of good quality stock, when the deck is together, it is quite big, but that actually made me feel that this was a ‘proper’ deck. So many modern decks are printed on poor quality, flimsy stock that this is a welcome releif. Being a large collection together doesn’t make them difficult to shuffle though. I have small hands and naturally shuffle vertically anyway so it was no issue for me. Another absolute plus for me – no borders, which means more room for the artwork, exactly how it should be.
No review would be complete without a run through of some of the cards from the deck and so I will now run through the ones I have hand picked to accentuate where and how I believe Mary Griffin has expanded the themes and definitions of these cards positively.
The Major Arcana
For the most part, the Trumps remain true to Rider Waite-Smith imagery, Hezicos style. There were two cards in particular that immediately grabbed my attention:
When I first received my copy of the Hezicos Tarot, I did a reading for a friend. The Magician came up to represent her boss. My immediate thoughts were “he’s hiding stock, don’t trust this guy as he’s pulling a fast one!” Now I’m sure that Mary never intended the Magician in the Hezicos Tarot to depict a trickster, but that’s exactly how he was depicted historically.
It is fair to say that there is a spiritual element to the card, there are plenty of books with strange writing on the pages to suggest that he is a knowledgeable guy. We could also say that this card is a modern representation of manifestation, or, manifesting your dreams and desires. I like the fact that this card allows for a number of meanings to unfold, positively and negatively.
I loved this card the moment I saw it – is the Hermit a Bhudda or is he a genie? Now what I liked about this card is the spiritual element it brings. Yes, it is traditional in the sense that he is alone on a mountainside; yes he carries a lamp and walks with a staff, but this hermit is full of eastern promise from his pot belly to his ‘aladin’ shoes. I haven’t decided who he is yet, but what I like (apart from the gorgeous shades of purple and jade) is the element of not quite knowing who he is, or what he may do. There’s an element of him that I wouldn’t fully trust. He looks like the kind of guy who knows the answer to your spiritual quandry, but will make sure you find out yourself by setting you off on your way the long way round! What a wonderfully different angle to this card.
The Minor Arcana
The Minor Arcana for me, is the most beautiful part of the Hezicos Tarot. Mary has done such a wonderful job of illustrating these pips beautifully and breathed new life into what can sometimes seem like tired old tales. I have again chosen what I believe to be cards that expand on the original theme of the card.
Three of Rods
Thank you Mary Griffin! Finally the Three of Wands makes sense to me. After years of not being able to reconcile the various meanings of this card, particularly the RWS and the Thoth Tarot, I looked at this card and finally ‘got it’.
If the Ace of Wands is the spirit or essence of will, and the Two of Wands is that will controlled, then the Three of Wands is that will directed. The image on the card is of a guy with his back to us, holding his three rods and looking to a hamlet high upon a hill. The way up to it doesn’t look like it will be so easy, but there are no obstacles in his way, he just needs his determination to get there. He sees his prize, his desire, his dream and now he also knows the way – success is just ahead of him and only he can stop himself from getting there.
Five of Rods
The scene depicted on this card is the usual scene of a battle, a fight amongst men. There have been some great expansions on this idea in other decks, but the scene depicted in the Five of Rods in the Hezicos Tarot is so unusual I would say I’ve never seen it before.
Four rods are having the usual fight, but the fifth rod is actually in the middle of them trying to stop the fighting. It’s a brilliant idea, because when all is said and done, the fighting has to stop at some point. So a new definition comes to the Five of Wands, the fighting will end soon; someone is trying to be a mediator, etc. It’s an excellent idea and brilliant expansion on the original.
Two of Swords
The Goden Dawn call this card ‘Peace Restored’, and the scene on this card is peaceful. It shows the traditional crossing of the swords at the chest of the character, but the interesting image in this card for me was the two roads joining to become one just where our fairy guy is standing. If this card is Peace Restored, then we are looking at two warring sides who have settled their differences and joined forces because together, they are united. During a reading it also showed itself to mean making a final decision, choosing out of the remaining two options.
Four of Swords
I often felt this card had a sinsiter side to it. I mean, who exactly can rest with four swords hanging over their heads? It looked more like Russian Roulette with knives than meditation or resting in my eyes, so when I saw the Four of Swords in the Hezicos Tarot, it made me smile. For once, the resting and the meditating was given meaning.
The four swords are still hanging over our character, but in this card the rays of the moon shine through the window landing on him. Here is the power of the moon, of meditation, of spirituality, healing our little guy and offering us the opportunity for healing when we surrender to respite and allow ourselves the time to rest and to experience this healing, and so brings an extra divinatory defintion for me at least, of healing or healing therapies.
There are plenty of other cards that are worthy of mention, but for the sake of space, and of you discovering them on your own journey with the Hezicos Tarot, I shall omit them here. What we will talk about now is the court cards and the aces.
Court Cards and Aces
When I first saw these cards, I have to admit to feeling a little cheated, and I mean no disrespect whatsoever. I love this deck and have been using it since Mary kindly sent it to me. I felt cheated because I felt that visually, they are lacking compared the other wonderful and amazing cards that make up this deck. I’m not comfortable saying that because I love this deck, so let me explain myself a little better.
The artwork is still stunning, just a quick look at the cards I have posted will show you how beautiful and detailed their faces are. But I wanted a little more, a scene like on the Minor Arcana, some action, you know? What I have discovered though, and this is a big plus now that I’ve gotten over myself and my initial moan, is that there are subtle nuances and details that you will find if you study, ponder or meditate with each court card.
The King and Queen of Rods have rather large ears – does this make them good listeners? The Coins have stocky faces so you could say they like their food, they have abundance; the Cups have round faces with a softness that makes them look approachable; while the Swords have many points to them showing their no nonsense approach to life. Each is dressed in a similar attire for their suit and so are recognisable in that way. So there is enough to work on, it’s just not in the way I was expecting and it’s growing on me now because I can give a different visual description of a person in a reading through these court cards.
The structure of the court cards is the same as the RWS, namely King, Queen, Knight and Page. Only these are head shots, profiles to be exact. Posturally, the Kings and Queens face head on, the Knights look to their left while the Pages look to their right.
The aces depict the symbol and object of the suit only. This is where I felt cheated with these cards as Mary has captured some wonderfully spiritual and etheric backgrounds and colour schemes on other cards that I expected to see something similar displayed on the aces. Instead, Mary has opted to show them in their unformed sense, with nothing else around, which is still true to the original idea and theme, I just felt there should have been more on these four cards. Mary has also chosen the Ace of Coins as her signature card, creating a Hezicos coin and currency – a feature that runs throughout the Coins suit.
So, am I disappointed with the Hezicos Tarot? Hell no! Would I recomend you go and buy it? Definitely – go and do it right now! This is a deck like no other that I have seen in a while. It’s beautiful, bright, colourful, vivid and exuberant. It has a playful side, but don’t be deluded into thinking this deck is soft or isn’t to be taken seriously. I given some excellent readings with this deck, it got right to the heart of the problem and offered many a solution. The wonderful scenes and illustrations on the pip cards being an excellent prompt for your intuition and psychic connections when reading. Please also be aware that the Hezicos Tarot has two of the most hard hitting cards I have ever seen in any Tarot deck, namely the Devil and the Ten of Swords – there’s no drama queen in this card, just a brutal and final ending – exactly how I see the Ten of Swords.
Remaining true to the Rider Waite-Smith deck has enabled the Hezicos Tarot the opportunity to be used by beginners as well as professional tarot readers. The pip cards are amongst the best illustrations I have ever seen and really tell their own tale. When you first open the box containing this exceptional tarot deck, you are greeted with an introductory card to the Hezicos Tarot. It contains this message:
Believe and trust in yourself you can create miracles
What a wonderful message – I’m awfully glad Mary believed in herself and created the Hezicos Tarot, it’s a treasure, a joy to look at and incredible to work with. Go treat yourself to it today and create your own miracles.
For more details about Mary Griffin, her artwork and of course to buy her wonderful tarot deck, visit her website The Hezicos Tarot.
“The Hezicos Tarot deck and all its contents including art and text copyright 1996-2010 Mary Griffin all rights reserved and may not be reproduced without permission.”
- Deck Review: Aquatic Tarot
- Working With the Tarot Aces
- The Amalgamated Tarot
- Visconti-Sforza Review: The Golden Tarot
- Tarot de Marseille Review: Tarot de Madenie