Review – The Incidental Tarot

 The Incidental Tarot – Holly DeFount 2011

The Incidental Tarot
The Incidental Tarot is a self published eighty (80) card Tarot deck by Holly DeFount of Raven and Rose Arts. 

“I didn’t intend to create a Tarot deck.  At least, not like this…not in the space of a year.”

The Incidental Tarot came to be “incidentally” from a daunting personal challenge in 2011 to create one original piece of art a day.  To accomplish this challenge, Defount says she chose the ACEO (Artist Card, Editions, and Originals) format because it seemed to be a manageable size to create daily.

I found this deck in its early days, quite by accident and in progress, listed on the IndieGoGo site, a site created for “crowd funding” .   I immediately fell in love with the images, and being a deck collector, this deck quickly went on my “wish” list.

Deck Particulars:

  • Cards measure 3.25″ x 4.75.”
  • Cardstock is sturdy but flexible
  • Borders, you can see them for yourself below.
  • Finish is semi-glossy allowing easy shuffling
  • Backs are reversible
  • Packaging:  Standard cardboard flip top box
  • 80 cards total (2 additional Major Arcana)
  • LWB not included, however there is a downloadable PDF  – “Abbreviated Key to the Meaning of the Cards” with  reversed meanings.  According to the website, there is a companion book in the works that is to be published sometime in the fall of 2012.

Incidental Tarot

The Labyrinth and Ariadne are the two additional trump cards and are titled Talisman I and Talisman II. They function independently from both the Major and Minor Arcana as unnumbered wild cards.  You can read more about how these came to be a part of the finished deck on the web site, (

Talisman I: Labyrinth.  Powerful portent of opportunity and courage. Labyrinth is the key that can open any door, it you will only take the step to enter it.  In a word: OPPORTUNITY

Talisman II:  Ariadne.  Protectress, pathfinder and guide.  She spins the threads that govern our fates, and weaves them together amongst the stars where she resides.  In a word:  GUIDE.

Of the remaining 22 Major Arcana, several have been renamed, but they have retained the basic core meaning of their more traditional counterparts.   For Instance:

The Incidental Tarot

The Incidental Tarot

Others that have been renamed:   The Cathedral = The Hierophant;  Blue Buddha = The Hermit;  Triskelion = Wheel of Fortune;  Temperance = Polarity;  Phoenix = The Tower;  Awakening = Judgment.

The suits have been renamed as well.

  • Arrows = Wands – Action – Fire
  • Roses = Cups – Emotion – Water
  • Quills = Swords – Intellect – Air
  • Oaks = Pentacles – Physical – Earth

The Court holds four positions with a King and Queen in each suit.  But, the members of the court where we might expect to find a Knight and a Page, we find very different characters.  For example, let’s take a look at what we would commonly consider a Page or Princess (depicted as females).

  • Suit of Arrows – The Messenger
  • Suit of Roses – The Muse
  • Suit of Quills – The Oracle
  • Suit of Oaks – The Steward

And in place of the Knights or a Prince (depicted as males) we find:

  • Suit of Arrows – The Archer
  • Suit of Roses – The Bard
  • Suit of Quills – The Alchemist
  • Suit of Oaks – The Builder

Not a far stretch to figure out if you just think about the qualities of the suit in relation to the qualities of the position.  At first I thought it was confusing, but once I took a moment and really looked at them in their element, they fell right into place and made perfect sense.   The subjects in the cards are performing tasks that directly relate to their individual qualities of suit and rank.

The Incidental Tarot

(Examples of 2 Page’s & 2 Knight’s)

The Red King aka The Magician

The only card in the deck that really threw me is The Red King, better known as The Magician.

The Key describes him as follows.  “Ability to manifest energy of the unseen world: to bring forth and utilize its power on earth. A position of great advantage; proceed with confidence, strength and a sense of empowered responsibility.  In a word:  MANIFEST.”

DeFount has a very interesting write-up on her website with the “back story” for The Red King.  Be sure to check it out in full.

A quick note on the Minor “pips”.  For the most part there are no “people” illustrated.  I normally prefer seeing the pips fully illustrated, but these have been created in such a manner that they clearly show the action and/or meaning being conveyed.  Take a look at the three’s and see if you don’t agree.

The Three's of The Incidental Tarot

I would not recommend this deck to a beginner to learn with, but to anyone who has a basic working knowledge of the Tarot, most certainly.   It is available for purchase in a couple of configurations.  The deck alone (very affordable) or with some added goodies.  Ordering was quick and easy, and my purchase arrived as promised.  I, for one, am a very satisfied customer.   Get your copy today by simply following the links ( to the Raven & Rose Arts storefront on Etsy.

Until next time, Happy Tarot’ing and May Your Journey be an Enchanted one.




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