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Published October 31, 2023 Updated October 31, 2023

Jack-O’-Lantern Tarot

Giuliano Costa's Jack-O’-Lantern tarot blends Rider-Waite symbolism with the rich and atmospheric themes of Halloween.

2021 Italy Lo Scarabeo Giuliano Costa Folklore Halloween Tarot Add to Collection

Giuliano Costa's illustrations for the pumpkin-themed "Jack-O'-Lantern" tarot are detailed and capture the spirit of the season without being overly whimsical. The illustrations feature pointed black hats, skulls, bats, and plenty of carved pumpkins. The colour palette is rich and autumnal, offering depth and mood to each card. The artwork remains loyal to the Rider-Waite tarot symbolism, which has become the de facto modern tarot template, while successfully weaving in the theme of the Jack-O'-Lantern into the designs.

Above: A selection of cards from "Jack-O'-Lantern" tarot. The Strength card shows a vibrant woodland spirit and an ethereal figures dancing in the clouds, while the Four of Swords incorporates bat-themed armor and nods to customs with carved root vegetables.

The box's back references the pre-Christian origins of the jack-o’-lantern, highlighting its roots in ancient Irish Celtic rituals where faces carved into root vegetables served as wards against restless spirits during Samhain, now known as Halloween.

As the Wheel of the Year turns to autumn, this lovely tarot reflects how the distance between our world and the spirit plane thins and fades.

This implies that during autumn the boundary between the living world and the spirit realm becomes more permeable; and this deck is a tool to contemplate this season when the spirit world is traditionally deemed more accessible.

The tradition of jack-o'-lanterns was introduced to American literature later, with notable mentions in Washington Irving's 1820 short story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" further popularising the pumpkin, especially through the depiction of the Headless Horseman with a fiery jack-o'-lantern.

The set comes in a 2 3⁄4 x 4¾ inch box and contains 78 cards along with a guidebook.


Major Arcana


Minor Arcana: Cups


Minor Arcana: Pentacles


Minor Arcana: Swords


Minor Arcana: Wands

References

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By Adam Wintle

Member since March 15, 1997

Adam has been involved in developing the site as well as reviewing new decks and conducting research. He is particularly interested in innovation, Kickstarter and East Asian cards. He is a member of the IPCS and webmaster of the EPCS.


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