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Ritual Abuse Tarot by Ryan Sheffield

Hello, soul friends!

I decided to really complete some of these deck reviews I had on my list to do before I forget to add them on here. I am not going in any order, so that is helpful. Today's review is covering a deck that was caught my attention as soon as I saw it on Instagram! It's vivid imagery, standout artwork, and super creepy vibe set my deck collector's heart thumping away.

I hope you enjoy my review and generous pictures!

Ritual Abuse Tarot

This is an intriguing deck that I had my eyes on but missed out on purchasing. Once I saw that it was available again, I jumped at the opportunity to purchase. I was so excited to catch this before it sold out. It really is absolutely breathtaking in person. I have been drooling over this deck since I first saw it on Instagram. The artwork is a wonderful homage to Stephen Gammell's creepy and eery standout pieces from Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark Series.

From Etsy's product description of the Ritual Abuse Tarot:

Ritual Abuse Tarot is a dark, satirical tarot deck featuring 78 original charcoal illustrations by Ryan Sheffield (me). The project has been a labor of love six months in the making, created as an homage to artist Stephen Gammell (Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark), who gave me a childhood's-worth of nightmares and, most importantly, inspired me to make art. The deck includes all 78 cards of the Major & Minor Arcana professionally printed on linen card stock, a 22-page instruction manual, and a metal case.

About the Creator

Artist / Writer / Board Game Designer / Maker of Things Instagram: @junkfiction / @craftfairgames Twitter: @ryanXsheffield / @craftfairgames

My Personal Review

This is a 78 card​ tarot deck which includes a lot of traditional elements, exquisite depictions, and artistically unique cards. The first thing I noticed was the luxe and thick cards. This deck has got to be the most luxe deck I own. The card stock is good weight, silky, and so beautifully matte. This makes photos a dream. No shine, luster, or stickiness. They shuffle like a dream and are beautifully smooth. The line card stock is luxe and really lends to an incredible finish and shuffle for this tarot deck.

As I shuffled through the deck the first time, I was taken aback by the creepy artwork. Ryan's artwork is absolutely stunning - and it is such a beautiful homage to Stephen Gammell's work. Even if it is meant as a satirical deck, he did a fantastic job of interpreting each Tarot archetype and traditional character with their own spooky spin, that I found so unique and refreshing.

The guidebook is simple, but I felt was a nice addition to this deck! Each card has the traditional name of the card on there, and they all include very RWS influences. Of course, Ryan added his own dark and unique take on all of the cards, but you can look through all of the cards and recognize the familiar symbolism from a traditional RWS deck.

As you can see in the pictures here, I have included each of the suits that have the traditional symbolism depicted. Pentacles, Cups, Wands, and Swords - all easily identifiable. The Majors are all engaging and stand out in their own way. All of the cards have a label so you can easily recognize and match it up to the guidebook. It is a dark, spooky, and powerful tarot deck that continues to send goosebumps of delight and confirmation rushing over me!

​The card stock is actually very smooth, but lacks the shinier finish that newer decks tend to lean towards, but the weight of the card stock does allow it to bend without cracking. It reminds me of a Linen finish. No flaking or separating of the edges with this deck, either. Always a welcomed thing with such hard to find Indie decks that are crowd favorites. I also love that these beauties are great to take pictures of since they are much more of a matte finish that doesn't take away from the beauty of the artwork.

The backs are reversible, as most traditional Tarot decks have, so you can easily use upright and reverse meanings for your readings. They are simple, but not my least favorite backs. I actually prefer these simplistic symbols on the back of the decks that allow an opportunity to pull cards either upright or reverse.

This came in a unique tin box is a beautiful and different approach from most independently published deck. It is metal which makes the cards easy to store -so this would be great for traveling. The cards are a traditional tarot size, which is wonderful. The smoothness is a wonderful addition that makes it a gorgeous one to shuffle and unique to have.

It is a well-done, high quality deck that is perfect for anyone on the Tarot journey and would like a more modern take on the traditional symbolism and also loves the spooky, creepy, or enjoys a little throwback from their childhood.

Enjoy the extra shots from this deck below. It is so fun!

A little depiction of the creepy work by Stephen Gammell from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Any one else remember these books? They gave me the creeps but I loved them so much!

Overall, I found this to be an exceptionally well executed Indie Deck - it sticks to the theme, it is a wonderful homage, and still a workable deck. The artwork is dark, spooky, creepy, ethereal, and mystical. There is a very definitive look to the deck, and I just love the amount of love that went into each card. Ryan did a stellar job, and I highly recommend this deck to anyone who loves Tarot, and is looking for a darker deck to work with!

My overall opinion is that this deck is a 4 star choice.

Artwork - 5 stars

Card stock - 5 stars

Ease - 4 stars

Guidebook - 2 stars

I hope that you enjoyed my deck review, and also enjoy other deck reviews that I add to this site. I have a passion for exploring new decks and also finding various ways of connecting to my intuition. I appreciate you checking out my site and taking the time to read my review.

Happy Reading!


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