Author & Artist / Joe Lee
Publisher / U.S. Games Systems, Inc
“The LeGrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot, comprised of the 78 cards of traditional tarot, not only illustrates the standard symbolism of each card but is also filled with circus and sideshow lore. The imagery corresponds to the well-known iconography of the Waite-Smith deck but is set in the glitter and mud world of a mid-century truck show sometimes between 1930 and the 50’s.”
As mentioned above, the LeGrande Tarot deck is a 78 art card deck based on the RWS and finds its characters immersed in the world of circus. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana retain their traditional names and meanings with the exception of the High Priestess, renamed Popess and the Hierophant as the Pope.
“The Pope is not only the highest figure in the circus hierarchy, the Pope is the owner, the progenitor, and the creator of the show. The Pope turns idle fantasy into working reality.” (page 9)
The cards are printed on a heavy card stock with a matte finish which allows them to shuffle easily. They measure approximately 3.5″ x 4.5″ and fit nicely in my hand. The card backs are reversible.
The four suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins. The Court cards include King, Queen, Knight, and Page.
The deck comes with a 59 page booklet which includes a description of each card and both upright and reversed meanings. An original 7 card spread (LeGrande Circus Card Spread) can be found at the back of the booklet.
I chose three Major Arcana Cards to share. The Hermit which evokes memories of the clown character, Weary Willy, made famous by entertainer, Emmett Kelly. One of the few Clown characters I ever liked.
From the booklet:
The Hermit stands in a the circle of light emitted by his own instrument. He is solitary but not alone for we, the audience, sit in darkness about him. The Hermit will always look into the chaos and glimpse profound order.
The Moon. Driven by instinct, we leap upward to meet the moon’s full embrace. We dance wildly to moon’s subtle song to find the night sky and its artistry. We believe what we perform to be aerial acrobatics of our own volition but the moon’s crescent smile illumes unknowable reaches.
Death: The clown runs around the ring, frightened of the thing on his shoulder, the thing that lurks in every shadow that no one living can avoid. Death is that thing. No matter how fast the fool runs, in the end Death always wins the race. Death is always waiting, the outcome of every action. When do we fools accept the inevitable and make that certainty our ally?
I’ve enjoyed working with the Legrande Circus & Sideshow Tarot and getting a glimpse into the mysterious and mystical world where Magicians, Clowns, aerialists, and daredevils of all sorts, live and make their living. Combined with the intuitive aspects of the Tarot make for an interesting reading.
A lovely deck that can be used by novice readers as well as seasoned professionals. Treat yourself today! Available from Amazon and your favorite retailer.