The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot showed up in the mail as an early birthday gift, one that I may never have thought to look into on my own. I'm not typically into mermaid or nautical type themed decks, but I realized quickly, this deck is a lot more than that. Upon first exploration of the deck I was immediately taken back to my time in the Florida Keys. I was also reminded of my days as a navy brat, living on Treasure Island Naval Station, just a boat ride away from San Francisco. Anyway, I have no idea where her inspiration came from, but Dame Darcy managed to capture the spirit of the unpredictable, multifaceted ocean that I love so well. From the warm, tranquil tropical waters of the Caribbean, to the cool and moody blue-gray waters of the Pacific, Dame Darcy pulls from various time periods and mythology, leaving room for personal exploration and the possibilities of individual imagination.
My deck came with a sheer white drawstring pouch, which doesn't quite fit, but struck me as a sweet and thoughtful gesture nevertheless. I will absolutely make use of it. It came with two extra cards, The Wheel of Fortune and the Ace of Cups. I decided these belonged on my La Siren altar. It also came with a small black and white print, which I think might be from her comic book, Meat Cake, but I am not completely sure. I did find a used copy of Meat Cake on Amazon for just five dollars and of course, I couldn't pass it up. The deck doesn't come with an instruction booklet but there is a little note from Dame Darcy with instructions on how to find the Guide to Using the Tarot located on her website.
Even though I immediately fell in love with the images, I wasn't sure about using the deck for my professional readings . I'm so glad I decided to give it a try. Not only does this deck read incredibly well, but my clients seemed to be drawn in by its unique and somewhat quirky comic book style. Like me, they've never seen anything like it.
There is something about the characters and imagery of the Dame Darcy Tarot that you almost recognize but can't quite put your finger on. It whispers of things elusively familiar, things we've experienced before, if only in books or in childhood movies. For me it feels a lot like nostalgia, conjuring up memories of my life on the ocean.
Enchanted with sexy mermaids...yes, I am. Enamored with vintage style sailors....absolutely! Being a navy man himself, my father did his best to warn me off sailors. And while I may have listened his advice, I secretly carried a torch for them in my heart. There was always something romantic about them in my eyes. A girlish notion I realize, but this explains my infatuation with the beautiful King of Wands, and my attraction to the Hanged Man, depicted as a shirtless sailor with starched dungarees and a hat that manages to defy gravity.
Along with its witty and playful nature, The Dame Darcy Tarot has a somewhat Gothic feel to it. It is laced with humor, romance, and intrigue . Reading with the deck feels a lot like going on a whimsical ocean adventure where anything is possible.
As an afterthought, let me just mention some inconsistencies with the symbolism in the suit cards. With the Wands you'll notice that she sometimes uses boat ores in place of the wands, but not always. I did wonder why she didn't just stick with boat ores all the way through the suit but decided it really didn't matter. She does this with the suit of Cups as well. Sometimes she uses conch shells and other times chalices. With the suit of Swords it's either tridents or swords. The Pentacles pretty much stay the same. As far as I can tell there is no rhyme or reason for this, just Dame Darcy taking creative license. My feeling on this is...you can't put the ocean in a box. Don't even try. Just enjoy the deck for the wild and wondrous creature that it is.
The colors are bright and cheerful, with just the right amount of darkness. So far it's been the perfect summer deck for me. Not to mention, the cards have a wonderful feel to them. I can honestly say that the card stock is everything it ought to be. I sort of wish other tarot creators would find out her secret and follow suit, as it is the perfect combination of durable flexibility, with a silky smooth finish, lending to an overall velvet like shuffling experience.
As a side note, I'd like to mention that several weeks after receiving my tarot deck, I realized I already had something of Dame Darcy's artwork...a copy of Jane Eyre, purchased several years ago. I had more than one copy of the novel already, but felt compelled to buy another due to its sultry pen drawn illustrations.
The Dame Darcy Mermaid Tarot is not like any tarot deck I have ever seen. It is spontaneous, uncultivated, romantic and daring, with a playful and mischievous nature. It is, in fact, my favorite bedtime story at the moment...because who doesn't want to dream of beautiful mermaids, handsome sailors, and ocean adventures? I really can't imagine.
Dame Darcy is known as a sequential artist, (cartoonist/ illustrator/ writer) fine artist, musician, and animator/filmmaker.
For more information about Dame Darcy and her wonderful art please visit her website at www.damedarcy.com