Each Tarot deck has its own body, soul and spirit. While one may choose to purchase a particular deck instinctively, love at first sight, it takes time and patience to learn a deck and get into its groove.
The body of a deck is represented by its aesthetic content, its particular artwork and design. The “eyecatcher”, as the professionals call it. Once a deck appeals to our taste and standards, an emotional connection is established, and that’s how we get in touch with the soul of the deck.
The third step is the most challenging. Discovering the spirit of a deck requires dedication and conscious effort. It is about learning and understanding how each deck works and how we can make the most out of it. While most modern decks are knowingly or by simple mechanical copying are based on the traditional Golden Dawn system, some choosing the Waite-Smith, others the Crowley-Harris pattern, there are also notable exceptions.
The Sideways Tarot has born during the pandemic of 2020. The lockdowns, fears, uncertainties, dark feelings and thoughts that overwhelmed us during this period have eventually been converted into positive things. We all had more time to spend with ourselves and for introspection. Looking for answers, many people turned or returned to spirituality. No matter how dark life can get sometimes and how lost you may feel, don’t forget, there is always a light of hope somewhere.
Roxi Sim-Hermsen is both an enthusiast Tarot lover and a gifted visual artist. She also created the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot and the Sacred Feminine Oracle deck. The global circumstances and the combination of these two qualities materialised into the Sideways Tarot. Although she did not intend to create another deck, the images came to her while she was writing morning pages, and the words turned to thumbnail sketches of the Major Arcana cards. It is just another proof that in real life, Magick sometimes just happens.
The cheerful colours and the children-like drawing evoking chalk on the sideways attract attention and make the first impression. I imagined a rabbit hole from Alice in Wonderland or an imaginary slide that brings the curious wanderer to uncharted territories of Magick.
The Magick of the Sidewayz Tarot is that it shows the world through the eyes of a child. Therefore, one can explore the world with the curiosity and amazement of the first time experience, and everything looks bright, sparkling and electrifying. It also means that we can put aside all our biases. The Sidewayz Tarot opens up the doors of a brand new universe where we have the opportunity to renew ourselves.
A Tarot deck is a journey, and we can take a path on our own. If each Tarot deck has its story, the Sidewayz Tarot is a fairy-tale. There are no “dark” cards in this deck. The Death is just an autumn leaf; the Devil is a mirror, and a recognisable symbol depicts each card favouring the reading and concomitantly inspiring new possibilities of interpretation.
Do you remember the tale about Hansel and Gretel? These are twenty-two, not white but colourful “pebbles” from which one can lay its own trail to and from the house made of gingerbread, cake, and pastries from the heart of the forest. However, this house is made of secrets waiting to be discovered and revealed. Those can be ancient mysteries or aspects of our everyday lives.
How far or deep you are willing to, respectively, how intense these experiences will get, is entirely up to you. Your imagination and thirst for knowledge are the only boundaries.
The other part of the equation is Jade Storm, an experienced Tarot reader. She wrote the accompanying booklet for the deck. The guidebook for a Tarot deck is just as important as the deck itself. Jade Storm is an intuitive Tarot reader; therefore, not surprisingly, she proposes a method based on meditation, observation, imagination and personal interpretation. What, according to the traditional esoteric terminology, is called meditation, Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung called it active imagination.
Similarly to Jung, Storm considers the journey a healing process. Each card represents one step forward. She recommends keeping a Tarot journal and document all our impressions and sensations. She deals with each card separately, just as she gives a list of meanings for the symbols in each card at the end of the booklet.
Another creative way to look at the Sidewayz Tarot is to compare it with the popular playground game called Hopscotch. Instead of tossing a lagger into the numbered geometrical patterns, one will pull cards from the deck. You have the instrument and the instructions to work with the deck and use it to your benefit. Or you can turn in another direction and find your own way. In any case, enjoy the experience!