Tarot Deck Review: The Tarot of Trees by Dana Driscoll

I collect decks ~ lots of decks.  At any given time I have 50 – 70 decks in my home.  Some I use frequently, some are only for use with clients, & some I love for the art & would never dream to part with them.  I just went through my collection of tarot & oracle decks.  It took me quite a while, but out of a total of 74 decks I have sorted out 42 of them.  I’ll be offering them for sale as used decks through my website sometime in the coming weeks.  I’ll post here when they become available.

Every once in a while I am very impressed with a deck.  The Tarot of Trees is one such deck.  First of all, I am attracted to bright colors.  This deck is very bright.  The cards have a black border that makes the bright colors “pop” & almost jump off the cards.  I love that.  They look awesome against a black reading cloth.  To your left is the Fool.

The Tarot of Trees was created by Dana Driscoll over a 3 year period and she self-published her deck.  It’s available as a deck only (mine did not come with a LWB, just FYI for any tarot newbies out there), and also with her guidebook.

The guidebook has an attractive purple cover (I love purple) with 5 cards illustrated on the front.  The interior pages are all purple with every card reproduced in full color at full size.  This is great for those of us who like to study the book without getting the cards out of their box.  The guidebook has 98 pages.

Card interpretations mainly follow the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith interpretations we are all most familiar with, plus an ocassional additional intepretation added by the artist that serves to supplement the traditional interpretations.  Two spreads are included in the book:  a 9-card Mind/Body/Spirit layout and a 4-card Daily Divination Tree layout.  Both work very well with the cards, and these cards also work well in a wide variety of other layouts, both traditional and non-traditional.  Here is the 3 of Wands.

What makes this deck unique in the vast and varied world of tarot decks is that there is not a single human figure represented.  The title says it all.  This is a deck of trees and ONLY trees.  

The 4 of Cups is one of my favorite cards from the deck.  That’s strange as it’s one of my least favorite tarot cards.  My first thought when I heard about this deck was, “how can that possibly ever work?”  Well, I’ll tell you how.  Dana Driscoll conveys the meaning of every single card in her deck through the posture of the tree, additional symbols (such as a black cat in the limbs of the Queen of Wands, for example), and color that lends to the mood and atmosphere of the card.  This is a real triumph.  If you examine the cards closely without referring to the book and if you have any knowledge of the traditional RWS interpretations, this deck is very easy to use.  It may take a little while to learn what the cards are at a quick glance as they show up in a reading, but it can be done.  The process took me only two days of working with the deck to be able to tell the Page of Cups from the Page of Pentacles, for example.

Another nice thing is the size of the cards.  They are made in typical playing card size.  This makes them very easy to shuffle.  They are covered with a very light laminate that doesn’t stick, even in this humid as heck Houston climate I have the misfortune to experience daily.  Now, THAT impressed me!  I can’t tell you how often my cards stick together and make doing readings sometimes a tricky business as I sometimes find one card hiding directly behind another.  Here is the Queen of Pentacles.  As you can see, discerning the court cards can be a bit difficult at first, however, the Queen of Pentacles is a protective nurturer, a theme that Dana Driscoll conveys through the imagery of this card as the tree bends over to protect the pentacle from the snow.

The deck is fully reversable with the card backs decorated by the image of a tree and its mirror image.  When you’re shuffling and laying the cards out there is no way to tell if they’re upright or reversed until you flip them over.  I always appreciate this in a deck.  

The Majors are traditional.  The Minors represent the four seasons:  Cups = Spring, Wands = Summer, Swords = Fall, & Pentacles = Winter.  The landscapes depicted on the cards also reflect this seasonal orientation.  

Dana Driscoll says she chose to create a tarot of only trees due to a life-long love of trees, and “also as a political statement about the massive deforestation & lack of respect for the natural world & its inhabitants” (guidebook, page 7).  She dedicates her deck to the memory of a friend who died far too young.

Other things that make this deck unique – included in the guidebook is a recipe for Tarot of Trees incense that can be made at home.  The Author/Artist also includes instructions on how to plant a tree.

The deck is available for sale at the link provided.  The deck alone is $25, deck + guidebook is $40.  I wholeheartedly recommend this deck.  It is a real joy.

I would like to thank Sherry Wood who first brought this wonderful deck to my attention via Facebook.

Until Next Time, Many Blessings!

Nefer Khepri


  1. Hi Girl Detective ~This deck basically follows traditional RWS interpretations. So without the book I doubt you'd have much of a problem. The artist does add a few of her own points of view for some of the cards, but not for all. So if you're trying to save a bit of money, buying this particular deck without the companion book isn't a bad idea. As long as you're comfortable with RWS, then I'd say go for it, and enjoy the deck! Please let the artist know you read about it here. Thanks 😀


  2. May I ask – I have decided to buy this deck – it's gorgeous and the pictures on her website lift my heart – the High Priestess with the vulva shape and the pomegranates in its roots – but I'm not super-wealthy. How much do you think I would be missing out on if I just bought the deck and not the book? I can read Rider-Waite easily, but like to hear an artist's explanation of specific symbols they chose…


  3. I love this deck, too. I agree with you about the delicious colors and easy-to-handle sized cards. This one is a winner. It sleeps next to my alarm clock and is put to work every night in my self-readings. It is well-worth having and is easy to read if you know the RWS system. We had Dana talk about her deck on our tarot podcast 6/6/10, and she was absolutely delightful. I learned a lot about her deck and she did a live reading for the earth with her cards. It is free to hear and is at:http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beyondworlds/2010/06/06/tarot-of-trees-with-dana-driscollLovely review, I have learned much from this little deck with the big personality.Donnaleigh


  4. Koneta~Thank you for your comment. I hope you're able to get this deck real soon. I know you'd really enjoy working with it, as Sherry & I do. It's a lovely deck and the bright colors are great. I'm a sucker for bright colors :)Blessings,Nefer


  5. Nefer,Isn't this a lovely deck? I am like you, when I first heard of it, I thought how can you possibly design a 78 card tarot deck with just trees? I was presently surprised when I saw the actual artwork for these cards online. This deck (among many others) is on my wish list. Enjoyed your review! :)Blessings,Koneta


  6. Hey Sherry,I'd never think that a lack of people in a tarot deck (or cats, or fantastical creatures, or whatever) would be a bonus, but it is. The trees really do speak and I'm having lots of fun with this deck.Blessings,Nefer Khepri


  7. Great review. So true what you have said about the meanings of the cards. This deck is one of the best decks to read with and I think that it is a bonus that none of the cards contain any people in them. Your welcome on introducing you to the deck too!Sherry


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