They had me at “DRAGONS“. For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with dragons. They have all the magic of fairies but with fangs, scales and claws. Call me obsessed! So when I saw Smoke, Ash & Embers Tarot, I knew I had to add this dragon deck to my collection.
Smoke, Ash & Embers Tarot
Magical Dragon Tarot Deck
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As most tarot lovers do, I belong to a number of tarot groups online. I love hearing about tarot decks, chatting about interpretations and meanings, and generally being around other lovers of tarot. It was in one of these groups that I started hearing a lot of love for Oak, Ash & Thorn Tarot. I was intrigued by the artwork, it was beautiful with an ethereal, fairy tale vibe, but then I noticed a teaser card for the next deck. The card was called Possibilities, and featured… a DRAGON!
I waited until the preorder, then happily ordered both Oak, Ash & Thorn (OAT) and Smoke, Ash & Embers (SAE). I couldn’t wait for them to arrive! Since it was a preorder though, I had to summon up my patience… and wait. But the wait was worth it!
I did a full review of Oak, Ash & Thorn that you can check out, so today I am going to focus on Smoke, Ash & Embers.
Smoke, Ash and Embers Tarot Deck Flip Video
To give you a glimpse of the gorgeous artwork in this dragon deck, check out this quick flip video I did of my deck.
As I mentioned, Stephanie Burrows of Three Trees Tarot is the creator of this deck and OAT. She has an incredible imagination and skill as a tarot storyteller, and I am thrilled that she has shared her vision for tarot. Adam Oehlers is the vastly talented artist behind the gorgeous images. And each card is truly a stunning piece of art. There is something magical about what Stephanie and Adam create as a team. Perhaps selfishly, because their creations resonate so deeply with me, but I hope they continue to work together on future projects. Their creativity together is simply magical!
Smoke, Ash & Embers Tarot is a continuation of the story started in the Oak, Ash & Thorn tarot deck. You might be wondering: Why Dragons? The first deck is about adorable woodland creatures frolicking in the forest. How do dragons play into this story?
It’s all about the magic and going a little deeper beyond what we see when we first walk through the forest on our journey.
OAT shared with us a world that was filled with foxes, hares, squirrels and ravens. SAE invites us to wander a little deeper into the forest. To be still and let our senses heighten. As we take a closer look we might notice a dragon perched in the thick branches of a tree or curled up in a bed of moss, tucked up and out of sight. Still there, just out of reach for most. I know I have spent many hours out in the forest, waiting for dragons. I find this imagery to be perfection.
In Smoke, Ash & Embers the dragons have come out of hiding and we are invited into their magical world, to learn from their teachings, and be guided towards knowledge as only a dragon can do.
If you want to learn more about the inspiration for this deck, Stephanie Burrows provides more details in the digital guidebook.
Once again this deck uses the popular Rider, Waite, Smith (RWS) format, making it very intuitive and easy to ready right away if you are familiar with RWS.
It has 78 cards, 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. It also has an extra 10 of Swords card. This extra card is an alternative artwork so you can pick which card you wish to use in the deck. One card depicts a dragon laying dead on the ground with swords in it, which some may not wish to use, so a more neutral artwork is on the alternative card with a dragon curled up surrounded by swords. Both are profound and impactful, but I like that you can pick which one resonates best with you.
The tarot cards have the same specs as OAT at 70mm x 120mm (2.75″ x 4.75″), with white borders and rounded corners. The cards are a nice thickness and have a wonderful feel in the hand and shuffle beautifully.
Continuing with their green magic mission, the deck has the same eco-friendly features as its predecessor. It is printed sustainably on 400 GSM, FSC accredited, carbon balanced paper with veggie inks. The cards are also protected by matte, anti-scuff laminate which gives the cards a wonderful feel in the hand. The deck comes in an embossed light green cardboard tuck box, which is perfect for storing the cards. You also get a certificate of authenticity, and when your deck arrives it will be packaged with two blank cards to protect the deck as it travels.
As part of keeping the deck as good for the planet as possible, the deck comes with 2 double-sided reference cards with keywords for each card instead of a physical guidebook. These are great when you need a quick reminder of the meaning of a card.
If you need more in-depth information on a card, there is a digital guidebook provided that provides descriptions and meanings for each card, both major arcana and minor arcana.
At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about not having a guidebook, but I have found I rarely use guidebooks that come with my tarot decks (the one exception is True Black Tarot). So I actually am quite happy the creators went this route.
OK, let’s chat about the beautiful artwork in this stunning tarot deck!
The back of the cards feature a dragon and foliage. It is not reversable, but I find the art on the back of the cards stunning and does not affect my ability to have reversals in my readings, due to the way I do card draws.
If there is one thing that immediately struck me about the deck, it was the artwork. I love the mystical, vintage, dark fairy tale feel to the art. It is like stepping into a world that has this incredible energy.
The dragons in this deck are portrayed in so many different ways, from cute to majestic. They all have their own very distinct vibe and lessons and messages. There are also lots of details in each card, allowing you to really tap into your intuition during readings.
The Major Arcana
The Major Arcana feature dark and mystical skies across most of the 22 cards. In fact, the artwork of Smoke, Ash & Embers is a much darker than used in OAT. It is kind of like OAT represents the Hobbits in Hobbiton, all bright, fun and nostalgic. Then Smoke, Ash & Embers feels more like their journey after leaving Hobbiton. More moody and dark with an ethereal feel.
The dragons in the Major Arcana are strong forces. Each card is illustrated to reflect the standard RWS meaning, but with the creators own special twist. If you are comfortable with other RWS decks, you will find this one very intuitive and easy to read.
I love the variety of dragon types in the deck. From the tiniest precious dragons, to majestic powerhouses, each dragon is unique and delivers its messages in its own special way.
The Minor Arcana
The four suits in the minor arcana are referred to as Cups, Pentacles, Swords and Wands. Which is standard for most RSW decks.
Each minor arcana has a theme and special style of dragon featured throughout the suit. The style of dragons tie in beautifully to the meanings of the suit and cards.
The Cups feature water-based, playful dragons with a heart-centered spirit. They have webbed feet, gills, and a frog-like appearance. This suit features lots of warmer colours.
The Pentacles dragons are earthy and grounded with a bountiful spirit. Many of the dragons in this suit have leafy scales and are the dragons you will find in the forest. The Pentacles uses a similar colour palette to the Cups cards, but with a bit of purples thrown in.
The Swords tarot cards feature dragons that are serious and often in flight with an intelligent spirit. Similar to the Major Arcana this suit features lots of dark colours and the dragons are black and winged.
The Wands dragons are fiery and curious with an adventurous spirit. The art features lots of smoke, fire, and fog with lots of reds as the main colour palette.
What I found interesting, was that with Oak, Ash and Thorn, I felt a strong connection to the Swords suit in the Minor Arcana that features Ravens. However, with Smoke, Ash and Embers Tarot, the suit that I connect with strongly is Pentacles. There is something particularly powerful about the Pentacles suit in this deck. So I often turn to it when I want to do readings relating to business, money matters, creativity and crafting, plus matters relating to my home.
Smoke, Ash & Embers Tarot Deck
I’ve loved dragons all my life. They have been a constant for me and show up everywhere. I grew up reading books filled with fantastic dragons. Even when we started the blacksmith shop, one of the first things I asked my hubs to create was a line of dragon products. If there is one thing I will always surround myself with, it is dragons!
Smoke, Ash & Embers does not disappoint for dragon lovers coveting a dragon tarot deck. It has all the magic, the artistry, the storytelling, the strength and the beauty that I associate with dragons. It has become one of my go to decks and I always have it close at hand. There is something very special about these cards and I have a strong connection to this tarot deck. It is like they took the best parts of Oak, Ash & Thorn Tarot and sprinkled in the magic of dragons to create tarot perfection.
If you are looking for a dragon tarot deck, I highly recommend Smoke, Ash & Embers. You can get your copy directly from the creators, Three Trees Tarot. (Be wary of knock offs from other places. I highly recommend ordering direct from the creator.)