Table of Contents


Tarot Reflections

 November 15, 2004

Gems of Self-Publication: Blue Moon Tarot
Valerie Sim, CTGM




This first edition of this Majors only deck was self-published in April 2001. Since that time the artist/creator of the deck, Julie Cuccia-Watts, received multiple requests weekly from people hoping for a reprint of the Blue Moon. Ms. Cuccia-Watts listened to her fans and this second edition was born in response to those numerous requests. She says in the dedication in this reprint: “For all of you who prefer your Tarot served up dark and serious, here is what you have been waiting for.” And it was worth the wait. The cards in this edition are offered with no loss of color or detail from the first edition and in laminated cards that are both vibrantly alive and easy to shuffle. The deck is dark (at least accordingly to most people who see it), it is serious, and it is very different from any deck released previously.

Ms. Cuccia-Watts is not new to Tarot. Her Ancestral Path Tarot (US Games, Inc.) is a well-known favorite of Tarotists everywhere and has been continually in print since 1990. But the Blue Moon does not follow the usual structure found in most Tarot decks, including the artist’s earlier deck. The structure of the Blue Moon is based on the lunar calendar, and the artist relates that the calendar’s relation to the Tarot came to her in a dream. The deck contains the thirteen full moons of the year, the eight cross-quarter days and the World, which is the central card. This structure is explained in detail in the book offered with the deck and can be seen below in the diagram of the Blue Moon Tarot System Guide.

The cards and their relationships to full moons/cross-quarter days are as follows:

World Center of the Wheel
Emperor Full Moon in Aries
Judgement Halloween
Death Full Moon in Taurus
Strength Full Moon in Gemini
Temperance Winter Solstice
Magician Full Moon in Cancer
Wheel of Fortune Candlemas
Chariot Full Moon in Leo
High Priestess Full Moon in Virgo
Fool Vernal Equinox
Justice Full Moon in Libra
Lovers Beltane
Empress Full Moon in Scorpio
Hierophant Full Moon in Sagittarius
Sun Summer Solstice
Hermit Full Moon in Capricorn
Star Full Moon in Aquarius
Hanged One Lammas
Devil Full Moon in Pisces
Tower Autumnal Equinox
Moon The Blue Moon

In the booklet accompanying the deck, Ms. Cuccia-Watts explains her thought process behind the creation of each individual card, and lists other names, symbols and attributes for that card. You may not agree with her personal attributions in every case, but you will understand her reasoning for the choice after reading her generous write-up on each card.

One of my favorite cards is The Fool. The card write-up includes this from the artist: “The traditional Tarot image of the Fool has a dog biting him. This summons images of the Shaman/Sacred Clown being dismembered by his power animals. Going through ‘shamanic death’ is often referred to as being ‘dismembered to remember’. The image also has the fool about to fall off a cliff, plunging unexpectedly into the underworld. Shamans, like Fools, seldom chose their roles in life but are more likely chosen and reluctantly so.” (p 23.)

Another card I really like is Strength, depicting the Full Moon in Gemini just prior to the Winter Solstice. About Shu and Tufnut, twin lions born of the Egyptian Re, Ms. Cuccia-Watts has this to say: “Shu is most often depicted in human form, while his sister Tufnut assumes the lion’s shape… Shu was the ‘Atlas of Egypt’, his role being to support the sky. His lioness sister was goddess of the sun and the dew and legend has it that she received the new born sun each morning. Shu and Tufnut were two of the original nine gods of Heliopolis, but their personalities were later absorbed into Horus and Bast.” (pp 9-10)

Ms. Cuccia-Watts’ artistic talent is undeniable and I find the deck to be not only gorgeous but also fascinating in its novel perspective. If the afore-mentioned dark and serious artistic style is for you and you appreciate very evocative fine art, you might want to grab a copy of the Blue Moon before once again, it is out of print. I seriously doubt there will be a third incarnation. The deck is limited to 1000 copies and can be ordered from the artist by contacting her at

Next Issue: The Gaian Tarot and A Fool and Her Friends


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