The Hezicos Tarot
Created, illustrated and self-published By Mary Griffin
(Commentary by Arnell Ando)

7 Chariot My first inkling of this deck's existence came when Mary Griffin contacted me through my website in late 2008. She was contemplating the pros and cons of self-publishing versus the process of jumping through hoops trying to get published. Upon visiting her site, I immediately fell enchanted with her colorful, whimsical and ethereal imagery, finding her cards to be delightfully refreshing in theme and style. Ever since, I have been pining for the Hezicos Tarot, both as a reader and a indie collector of art decks. Enthusiastically I encouraged Mary to get it out in the world by whatever means necessary. To say I've been eagerly anticipating this deck is a understatement, but Mary took her time, carefully finding the ideal printer who would take the greatest care in the production of her deck, including the 50-odd page book and the charming box the set came in. Mary mentioned that, the feel and size of the Tarot card is just about as important as the image on it, and as it happens, the cards are indeed a comfortable feel for shuffling and have the perfect weight, size and thickness to my taste, and should live a long life of daily readings and meditational spreads.

The titles on the Major Arcana cards are in a cheerful font, while the numbers are not the more traditional Roman numerals; for as Mary explains, she "chose not to use Roman numerals as these are not taught these days in school, well certainly not in the UK anymore..." Her deck which is populated by wee fairies, pixies, sprites and other woodland creatures and majestic beasts follows a Rider Waite theme so, as she puts it "enabling beginners to learn with ease". The little book that comes enclosed with the deck is written in a straight forward, down to earth manner that will be comfortable for readers to follow at any level. My only frustration is that the font, while lovely, is a bit small for my old eyes (I am in dire need of a stronger prescription for my spectacles). But it is precise and to the point. The book has the card images in color which is a nice touch, and 2 or 3 cards are shared per page. The Majors and Court cards offer descriptions of the cards along with the upright and reversed meanings, while the Pip cards share only the interpretations in both positions (sans the card descriptions). The Court cards each give a description of the type of personality associated with that card which can be useful to beginning readers and those that have challenges interpreting who these people may represent in their daily lives; while the card meaning explains how this energy may be apparent in the querrent's situation within the reading. For example:
Queen of Cups
Description -
A beautiful compassionate woman. She makes an excellent friend, always supportive and caring. Her family, home and friends are very important to her. Often artistic, intuitive and psychic.
Card Meaning -
If you are looking for love this is a good card to show in a reading. A time to look at your emotions and work with your feelings. Look at the creative gifts you have been given, time to put them to good use.
Reversed -
Problems and disappointments within relationships. Feeling insecure. Are you being taken advantage of? Are you being taken for granted?

And here is an example of one of Mary's Major Arcana card descriptions:

8 Strength 8. Strength
A woman sits with two tigers; she is completely at ease with their strength and power. She feels no threat being with these magnificent animals.
Card meaning - This is a time of inner and outer strength. You will have the courage and self-discipline to triumph over enormous pressures. Fight for what is right for yourself and your family. Be compassionate and helpful to others around you. Take control of your life. Health improvement and recovery after illness.
Reversed - Feeling confused and needing support from others. Weakness, abuse of power, feeling insecure, disgrace.

The Pip cards have the number and title written as well as the number of corresponding symbols depicted for each suit. The Wands are called Rods in this deck and the elfin folk that populate this suit have the appropriate number of Rods put to work within the scenes of the cards. The Cup cards are mostly surrounded by beach and aquatic scenery and Mary has found clever ways to incorporate Cups into the imagery. Many of the Sword cards have a slightly darker air to them, in keeping with the traditional meanings of the cards, and as is often the case with this deck, a familiar atmosphere to anyone used to working with the Waite Smith deck. The Pentacle/Coin suit has fairy folk with little Coins which have an 'h' embossed on them (for Hezicos Tarot, no doubt). The four Aces stand out from the rest of the Pip cards as they are  lovely paintings of the suit symbol without the background scenery found in the rest of the deck. The Court cards are especially striking as they are headshot portraits of each noble King, Queen, Knight and Page; each one carrying the energy of the suit and looking more regal than the last. They all wear symbols of their suit in the form of earrings, headdresses, and/or necklaces. Ace of Rods

I am not usually attracted to overly sweet Tarot decks, but Hezicos Tarot, while delightfully charming, whimsical and undeniably cheeky, is also rich in symbolism, which may not be immediately apparent when first absorbing the brilliance of the colors and beauty of the artwork. The imagery has an earthiness and timeless quality as shared by this gifted illustrator. The deck is consistently alluring throughout and as much attention was given to designing the Minor Arcana and Court cards as was to the Majors.

The card size is approximately 4.5" High by 3" Wide (11.68 x 7.62 cm). There are no borders on the imagery, which flows to the edges of the cards, (the many collectors and readers who share a preference for borderless cards will enjoy this aspect of the deck, including moi). 4 of Coins The 2-piece box is made of sturdy, thick cardstock and makes for a comfortable home for the deck. It appears that a couple of those mischievous little creatures are trying to escape the packaging, out from the top of the box. The backs of the cards are an earth-tone design incorporating all 4 suit symbols and are reversible. The corners of the cards are rounded and the deck should hold up well to years of use. The cards are printed on semi-gloss cardstock. The deck has a title card and did not come signed but I wonder if Mary Griffin wouldn't mind inscribing it for those who request it.

As it happens, Mary and I both contributed new art to a collaborative deck project on the Tarot Collector's Forum and many of the artists and collectors there got to know Mary and her artwork through this stimulating exchange of creativity. While the Tarot Collector's Forum group was in discussion about our shared collaborative project as well as personal projects, we discussed Mary's method of creating the art for her deck, as well as her self-publishing experience. I've attached my questions to Mary regarding her deck making process and her detailed response here for those who have an interest in such matters. In her booklet, Mary also shares how she created the artwork in great detail.

4 of Swords Back of Cards I recommend this deck for Tarot  readers ~ beginners and advanced alike, and to  collectors, especially those with a penchant for  merriment as brought on by the magic of  mystical creatures. This deck set was obviously a labor of love for the artist and is presented with enormous care and attention to detail. The quality of production is exceptional and the art a real joy to behold. It became available to order as of January, 2010, directly from the artist's site. For the time being, Mary Griffin is kindly offering free shipping worldwide. This set can be ordered via Paypal.

The Hezicos Tarot

9 Hermit 2 of Cups Queen of Cups

Mary Griffin has been immersed in artistic endeavors since she was a child. She enjoys working in most mediums, but specializes in painting animals and the wee fairy folk. You can also see a sampling of her “Trompe l’oeil” and painted furniture on Mary's site. Coming from an artistic family she is fortunate in that they have always encouraged her creativeness.

Mary has many private commissions under her belt and has exhibited in the UK, and sold her work in many countries including France, Spain and India. This beautiful new Tarot deck is sure to become an international hit as well. Aside from being an accomplished artist, Mary is also a psychic clairvoyant specializing in Tarot. She resides in Cornwall, England with her wonderfully supportive husband and is a proud mother and grandmother. She is already hard at work on her next creative project, a children's illustrated storybook.

You may purchase the Hezicos Tarot on this page of Mary Griffin's site for $35 British Pounds (around $58.00, depending on the exchange rate), via PayPal. This includes free shipping worldwide.

*Note as of May 2010 ~ You can hear Mary Griffin being interviewed about her deck on Tarot Today Radio. and also do readings with callers.

Arnell Ando