Songs for the Journey Home does have a tarot structure despite not having "tarot" in the title. There are the traditional major arcana, though some are renamed, as well as 10 cards in each suit and 4 court cards. However, the suits have been renamed to their elemental form (see above stats), and the names of the courts have also been changed to Innocence (Page/Princess), Awakening (Knight/Prince), Creating (Queen), Resolving (King). Also, the deck is fairly non-traditional in meanings. The artist and author have created their own system though some RWS meanings do remain.
Surprisingly, the changes to the system do not detract from the readability of the deck. The color pencil images are bright and dynamic and often convey their meaning without you ever having to touch the companion text. Songs lends itself to a very intuitive reading style. I have been using it for my daily card draws and have been getting lots of insight without having read anything about the deck beforehand. After my reading, I would check the book to see how my interpretations compared. Often, the book lent more layers to my interpretation or brought other potentials to my attention. The book is well-written, and while not totally necessary for using the deck, is a wonderful complement. I toss aside many companion books, but I enjoy reading this one.
One of my favorite cards is the High Priestess. She is shown as the roots of a tree, with flamelike tendrils around her. It's an effective picture of Her quiet power and accessibility. She reminds me that I have the same gifts within myself if I care to look. Another favorite is the 2 of Wind, which shows two gulls wheeling over a landscape. Looking at the picture, I can feel the wind and the detachment and the need to get a bird's eye view of the situation. Almost all of the cards provide this same emotional impact and sense of place. The artwork is sometimes cartoonish, but it packs an intuitive punch.
The deck is round and has soft yet vibrant illustrations that can be read intuitively. These lead to a feminine feel without overt feminism. I've found that this deck is especially good for more meditative readings. Meanings tend to lean more toward the psychological, which makes this deck great for self-examination and uncovering of people's motivations.
The only major problem that I have is the reconception of Temperence as Renewal. That archetype seems to have been completely removed from the major arcana sequence, which I don't like. Also, it seems to describe a concept that is adequately covered by other major cards, most specifically the Death card.
I recommend this deck for those who like a more feminine reflective voice and those who like good use of color. I wouldn't recommend it for tarot beginners. Although it can be used very intuitively and the companion book is excellent, the meanings can't really be transferred to other decks. For more experienced readers and collectors, this deck will be a lovely addition.
Copyright K. Mayberry. Not to be used without permission.
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