The Mary-el Tarot 2nd Edition

Mary-el Tarot, 2nd Edition

Last week I received my first advance copy of The Mary-el Tarot, 2nd Edition!  It really wasn’t that long of a wait.  Schiffer contacted me early last year and said the first edition was running low and wondered if I had anything I would like to add, change, or update to make a new edition.  After some thought I came up with a list of suggestions and ideas.

I wanted the size of the cards to be more manageable, and borderless.  I wanted the finish to be free of some of the problems from the last edition.  I wanted the edges to have a black finish.  I also requested the box to be smaller.  I had some new keywords I wanted to add to the book and finally after a lot of consideration I wanted to repaint a few of the cards I wasn’t happy with.  For the most part I would say that all of my suggestions were integrated into this new version. The new deck should be available for purchase beginning in April/May.

The Box

The new box is nice! 
It’s a bit smaller at 9″ x 6″ vs. the old box that was 12″ x 6″. The graphics are the same with the Red Lion from the 8 of Disks and the glossy black background. The top lid wraps around the front of the box and has a sturdy feeling magnetic closure.

The red and glossy black color scheme is continued inside the box with the ouroboros on the inside lid to match the book cover and card backs.

The book sits on top and then beneath it is an insert with a space in the center to put the cards in. This is the only thing I’m not crazy about with the new box set up. It’s pretty useless really.  When you have the cards held together with the paper band they are hard to put in and take out. Once you take the band off and they are loose, there is no support underneath the insert and the cards go everywhere. It isn’t lost on me that this is one of the consequences of the smaller box. Luckily it isn’t a big deal to just take out the insert and just place the book and cards inside.

The Book

On the outside the book looks the same.  Same size, same graphics.  Inside is a different story.  The old version was black and white with paperback type paper.  In the new version, each card that illustrates a chapter is printed in beautiful full color on smooth high quality paper. The headings are now printed in red, making it easier for your eyes to scan the book for a certain cards or keywords.

The main difference you will find in the text of the book is updated keywords.  These are the keywords that have evolved after having worked with this deck for 9 years since its completion rather than less than a year when I first wrote the book.  I left the rest of the book pretty much as it was because it was a picture in time; meant to use words creatively in a small space to explain the underlying symbology, and hopefully, send you off in different directions to seek more information. I didn’t want to change that. 

The Cards

I’m really happy with how these came out.  They are smaller than before and a nice handling and shuffling size, even for those without humongous hands. The old version was 3.5″ x 5.5″ and the new version is 2.75″ x 4.5″.  As you can see in the picture the actual image size is the same, only the border has been removed.  I really like the images borderless because the images can flow together in a reading, lines, shapes, colors, and forms move from one card to the next with no division.  In the early days of working on these cards I tried out all kinds of fancy borders but over time I really came to prefer the simplicity of a borderless image, which is how I made my personal deck. I am so pleased to have them available like that for everyone now.   

The titles are a white font with a fine black outline.  They are readable and fairly unobtrusive. The finish on the cards are matte where the old ones were glossy. There is a black edging on the cards now as opposed to raw cut paper, or gold or silver gilding.  It looks simple and elegant and I like it a lot!

One thing I noticed about the cards out of the box was that they stuck together a little and I was concerned that it would be a problem. After a few shuffles and lay-outs I was happy to find that they had begun to slide individually and separate just fine. In fact, they shuffle really nicely and the smaller size helps a lot.  The first edition cards were sized more to impress than to be functional, I think.  When it comes to tarot, ultimately, function is everything IMHO!

The last thing, and the one that took the most work on my part, is the four new cards.  I repainted II The High Priestess, V The Hierophant, XX Judgment and the 3 of Swords.  I’ll give you a brief reason why I repainted those now and I plan on going into it in more depth in future blog posts.

The High Priestess.  I really was fond of the original High Priestess.  She was one of the first cards I painted.  But when I closed my eyes and thought High Priestess, this is not what I saw.  What I saw was the Rider Waite style High Priestess (which I think is brilliant) and so I wanted to remove my ego from the execution of this card and paint what I saw was true.  This new card is the result.  I love her more than ever now and I think she makes sense.

The 3 of Swords.  The same reasoning as in the High Priestess.  When I painted it I was trying to be original and creative but when I close my eyes I see the heart.  I think the pierced heart is the more true and archetypal image for this card (and one of the most recognizable in tarot in general, don’t you think?) so I was happy to have the opportunity to update it. I am really happy with the result.

The Hierophant.  Whew this was a hard one!  Many many hours of contemplation went into the decision to repaint this card.  I loved the old one.  It’s the card I most associate with but finally I wanted to portray not the negative side of this energy but the powerful and inherent balance in it.

Judgment. I kept the Phoenix for this card but wanted to update the image. I love the idea of rebirth and renewal for the XX in the major arcana (and the XXI World being outside of that repeating cycle) but I thought I could improve the image and add to the color and number symbolism.

I hope you like this new version! Feel free to post any questions or comments you have and I’ll do my best to answer!



Here is the link to preorder from Amazon-

And from Schiffer-

2nd Edition cards with new High Priestess.
Card pocket insert.
Box without insert.
Black Edges
Old book and new book comparison.
New edition cards.
New borderless Mary-el cards.
Old and new box size comparison.
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15 Responses to The Mary-el Tarot 2nd Edition

  1. Mischa says:

    Biggest question is when is the deck going to be available??? . I do love the new art…but admit to being very sad about losing the old High Priestess. Your original was visceral and primal in a way Ive never seen before. But I really look forward to getting this new version!

  2. Marie White says:

    Hi Mischa!
    I was told it would be available in May but I saw on the Schiffer website that they show April as the available date. Sorry about the HP!

  3. Wim Van Moer says:


  4. birdie says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us — I got confused seeing a “2nd edition” listed on Amazon, and was very glad to be able to read about the changes made in such detail, both the physical/material and the imagery. I find it frustrating when there are new editions of cards (and/or books) but there’s no information at all if they are different.
    I was wondering if you might be able to say anything else about the cardstock? The paper weight and the specific finish, or perhaps compare it to another deck on offer at Schiffer?

  5. Wing says:

    The Hierophant is my favourite card in the 1st edition. For the four cards that’s been updated, is there a way to buy those cards individually in the new format?

  6. beewillow says:

    I’m so happy I found your explanation for the changes. As you can see by the date I’m posting, I’m REALLY late for the game! Thank you so much for your gift to the world, sweet artist 💗 I don’t yet have your deck, because I was trying to find a 1st edition. Now that I understand why you changed things, I will happily start with the 2nd. Changing and updating must’ve been such a bittersweet process!! Birthday money going into it 🎁🎉

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