Review by Treewitch / Margo Benson
The Fountain Tarot is a sleek, contemporary and clever deck, and is a dream realised by its creators. The three friends, Jason Gruhl, Jonathan Saiz and Andi Todaro, conceived the idea of a tarot deck and each applied their creative expertise to bring it about. They were not experts in tarot knowledge at the beginning of the project, but spent a long time studying a multitude of decks and learning what had come before. They wished to continue to honour the hundreds of years of tarot. This involved deep research into archetypes, symbols, story-arcs and design elements. Then there was the paper quality and the accompanying booklets. In their words, they wished to create, ” A fun and magical tool for self discovery.”
They have done just that.
Each of the 79 cards (I’ll come to the extra card) was painted in oils on wooden panels and were worked on over the course of a year. The models used to depict the character archetypes are friends, family and fellow artists, and the flavour of the deck is along the Rider Waite Smith mode (apart from naming Justice as VIII and Strength as XI).
The style is crisp and fairly stark at first glance, but the more you look, the more you see. There are fine details to be found and the imaginative concepts in each image make for clear and efficient understanding.
The physical attributes of the box, book and cards are superb. The box shimmers like a molten mirror with a wrap-around magnetic lid. The LWB is just over 100 pages of information, keywords, meanings for both upright and reversed cards, plus some sample spreads. The cards themselves are edged in silver, which looks and feels beautiful.
The Fountain, in the words of the creators, “…exists outside and beyond the cycles of birth, death, time and form.” In a reading it can suggest, “Oneness, a moment of cosmic clarity.”
As I was becoming familiar with the deck, I asked other tarot readers what they made of The Fountain: It seems that people either love it, or leave it out of the pack altogether. Most of those I spoke to left it in and felt that it pointed to a connection to the universe, a gift from the Source of all that is. Many felt that the message from The Fountain centred around accepting and embracing one’s intuitive abilities, and were actually very moved by it showing up in a reading. The very first card I drew for a reading for myself was The Fountain, which I took as an omen to leave it in!
The backs are inspired (among other things) by Mexican churches, incorporating ancient and modern geometric shapes.
The colours are tranquil and the minimalist depictions make the deck both straightforward for those familiar with the RWS system, but the absence of a plethora of symbols invites intuition and imagination. In the few weeks that I have come to know The Fountain Tarot, it has become a favourite in my collection.
I highly recommend visiting the creators’ website for more insight into this extremely cool deck, as well as videos and news concerning further collaborations and projects.
Written by Jason Gruhl
Created by Jonathan Saiz
Designed by Andi Todaro
Self published by The Fountain Tarot