Book Reviews

Review: White Numen – A Sacred Animal Tarot Deck

A bit of an unusual review from me today – a beautiful tarot deck!

White Numen: A Sacred Animal Tarot by Alba Ballesta González

Ownership: Review copy sent free of charge by Liminal 11. All opinions my own.

I’ve never reviewed a tarot deck before, but I’ve been using them for several years, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to show you this beautiful new one! Before we begin, I want to be clear that I take a very non-religious attitude to tarot – I think they’re valuable tools for self-reflection if you use them the right way, but I don’t think they’re magic. I use them in quite a prosaic way, looking for what leaps out at me about each card, and what the meanings make me think of about myself or my current situation. Many cards are vague enough that their descriptions could apply to any number of situations, so in the same way that a horoscope might make you think “oh yes, that ‘tricky person’ must be my boss”, a tarot reading for me helps me to identify what my mind leaps to, rather than what the cards themselves are. That’s what tarot is for me, but then I’m not a particularly spiritual person. I have nothing at all against those who are, and who use tarot as part of their craft, so I hope no one is offended by this!

Anyway, that said, let’s take a closer look at this gorgeous deck! The White Numen deck comes in a really gorgeous thick card slipcase with a magnetic closure, which feels very luxurious, and inside the co-ordinating inner box are the cards and a small hardback Instructional Guide. The Guide includes a brief description of each card’s meaning, as well as some other tidbits like explanations of different spreads, a foreword about the history of numen, and a letter from the artist. This would be a pretty good beginner tarot deck, as you have everything you need to get started, but I do find that the card descriptions can be a little bit too short and simple – I usually end up supplementing with the much more detailed general analysis on The cards themselves are a good size to fit in my hand (and I think I have pretty average hands for a cis woman!), and easy to shuffle and handle, with a slight sheen that helps them slip over each other nicely. Everything about the presentation and feel of them is a treat.

The art is stunning, full of soft colours and textures that are really calming and beautiful to look at. Each card is a work of art that instantly evokes a particular feeling – the artist is a master of conveying a huge amount of information in relatively simple, small drawings. The facial expressions and body language of the figures is so easy to read, and really helps each image to tell its own little story for you to interpret. The suits are harmonious in colour and theme when you look at them in sequence, but they also coordinate nicely across the whole deck. It almost feels like art for a fantasy graphic novel, and I’d definitely be keen to see what else the artist gets up to!

The natural world twines in and out of the cards – I was expecting animals to be a more of the focus given the name, but most of the central figures are humans, with animals alongside. Actually I think it’s nature as a whole that is more prominent as a theme, though there are repeated animals throughout each suit, like the snakes above. The card themes draw quite strongly from the Rider-Waite deck, which is the one I (and I think most people) are most familiar with, but it also adds two special cards of its own, the Black Numen, representing destruction, and the White Numen, representing Creation. I’ve yet to draw one of these while actually using the deck, but looking at them individually I think they are a nice extra in the deck that could really add colour to a reading.

All in all, this is a really enjoyable deck to use, and a lovely piece of art in its own right. I definitely recommend it if you’re in the market for a softer-feeling tarot deck than the classic Rider-Waite!

6 thoughts on “Review: White Numen – A Sacred Animal Tarot Deck

  1. I often ponder that I would probably find Tarot a useful thing in a similar way to you and then some past Catholic school lesson breaks down the ‘logic’ door in my brain and says ‘THESE ARE NOT FOR YOU’ and I close the tab… 😀 These are beautiful though

    Liked by 1 person

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