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Deck Review: The Fountain Tarot


Deck: The Fountain Tarot

Created by: Jonathan Saiz: Artist, Jason Gruhl: Writer, Andi Todaro: Designer

Date of Publication: April/May 2015

Published by: Self-Published

The Fountain Tarot is the deck that seemed to come out of nowhere for me. I’ll admit: I have a bit of a problem when it comes to tarot decks. It’s no accident or coincidence when Theresa Reed calls me the Keith Richards of tarot decks… I see a new one that I don’t have and I have to snort… er… consume it.

When I attended Readers Studio this past April, there was a new booth that caught my eye… that of the Fountain Tarot. “The Fountain Tarot?” I asked someone. “What’s that? Is it bad that I’ve never heard of it before?” Truly, I thought I was on my game about new and upcoming decks. I had my list of decks I was looking out for to purchase, and Fountain Tarot was nowhere on it. This deck hit me out of left field, for sure.

I wandered over to their booth and looked at the art prints they had hung of the images from the deck. I poured over their sample copy. And I asked if I could buy one only to find out they had already sold them all the day before at the Tarot and Psychology conference. My covetous nature went into overdrive. Being put on the waiting list just wouldn’t do. My eyes had a gleam of avarice as I said, “you’ll sell me the sample deck by the end of the weekend.” I was so certain. The creators laughed at me, enjoying my enthusiasm. I wasn’t joking.

This interaction preceded a weekend-long stalking of the Fountain Tarot booth. Every so often, I even threw in the “I’m watching you” hand gesture with my fingers flashing back and forth from my eyes to their booth. Fellow conference attendees, sensing my overzealous enthusiasm, even put in good words for me with the booth without me even soliciting them.

Oh yes. I had turned into a tarot stalker. But my crazy nature triumphed, and by Sunday morning they relented and I ended up going home with the writer’s own deck. Did I mention I’m nuts? Friendly. But nuts. And thank you to Jonathan, Jason, and Andi for dealing with my particular brand of crazy.

But enough about my tarot cray-cray. Let’s really get into the meat of why I love the Fountain Tarot.Aggressive surface enthusiasm for this deck can only be construed as a compliment by now, and my love affair with this deck only deepened the more I used it for my card of the day draws for the month of May. The more I saw of it, the more I liked: as a whole and for the individual cards.

First off, the deck is visually gorgeous and tactilly lush. The silver edges give a fine and special quality to the cards, and the packaging is sturdy AND practical.

The deck is comprised of 79 cards in total.

Major Arcana: 23 (The 23rd card is the additional Major Arcana card The Fountain)

Minor Arcana: 56

112-page guide: the meat of most tarot guidebooks or LWBs, large or small, is the meanings section. In this book, it is the section titled “Meanings and Reversals”, and is broken down by Major Arcana and then Minor Arcana. Each card whether Major or Minor has its own meaning page, giving the following information:

  • name and number of card
  • italicized keyword that gives a clue to the meaning of the card (for example: The Emperor’s keywords are “structured control”)
  • a brief description of the card and the artistic choices made to lead to that depiction of the card
  • Meaning (upright)
  • Reversed meaning

Some tarot readers will tell you to avoid the LWB or companion guide that comes with a deck. In this case, the companion book is extremely helpful, especially when an artistic choice was made that deviates from traditional Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) symbolism. I have no shame in saying that I leaned heavily on the companion book during my card of the day pulls, and found reading about each card from the artist’s point of view only deepened my understanding and added an additional layer of nuance on top of my own personal interpretation.

As you’ll notice, most tarot decks are 78 cards. This deck has an additional card of the Major Arcana that comes after the World card (usually the final card in the Majors): The Fountain. In the creators’ own words:

“The namesake of the deck is a card added to the end of the Major Arcana called The Fountain. Though the traditional Tarot ends with The World card (an elegant portrayal of the completion of cycles, harmony, and evolution from novice to expert), we craved a representation of the even larger context in which life takes place, beyond the “doing” of life, and even beyond the cycles – the unnameable force of which everything and nothing are a part. This is The Fountain.”

There are a few cards that particularly caught my eye as I was looking through the deck for the first time.

3 of Swords: I couldn’t help but think of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” when I saw this card.

9 of Swords: With the 9 of Swords (see below), I saw this card as “emotional creep.” The red lines in this card reminded me that the worries and doubts can creep up on us so easily during both times of rest and times of trouble.

Card of the Day: 9 of Swords (reversed) [Fountain Tarot]: I LOVE the keyword provided in the companion book for this deck: “imagined misery”. What a GREAT way to describe the 9 of Swords! With the reversal of this card, your woes are mostly in your head, and it’s time to just let them go. It’s tough to deal with reality when you are paranoid and imagining that everyone is out to get you. The problem of the 9 of Swords is the “creep” concept… that when you think you have gotten rid of a worry, it surfaces again in a different way. The only way to really get rid of a neurosis is to nip it at its source instead of simply curing the symptom. Drawing and deep journaling can help you separate the wheat from the chaff in this regard. This is an isolating card, and for good reason: only you can figure out what ails you. #tarot #cardoftheday #fountaintarot ***New Deck of the Month: The Fountain Tarot by Jonathan Saiz, Jason Gruhl, and Andi Todaro!!!!***   A photo posted by Hilary (@hilary_tarot) on


10 of Swords: The 10 of Swords (see below) absolutely floored me with how disturbing AND beautiful it is.

Card of the Day: 10 of Swords [Fountain Tarot]: A sudden realization of an inescapable truth results in the ending of a situation today. There has been much talk lately (especially in this time of Mercury in Retrograde) of people coming to the realization of “I can’t keep going about this in this way.” If you rail against a brick wall in the same way each time you rail, you’re still going to get the same result: nothing and nowhere. There are certain truths that cut, that lay a situation bare and transparent, much like you can see right through the body of the figure in this depiction of this card. The swords are sharp, yet full of light. This could be a moment of revelation, even though something is ending. It has the potential to be both painful and freeing at the same time. #tarot #cardoftheday #fountaintarot A photo posted by Hilary (@hilary_tarot) on

The Swords suit in this deck is just simply gorgeous. The way that the swords are depicted as both shafts of light and shadow and with a transparent and cutting quality… just wow. The depiction of the 2 of Cups is the most applicable 2 of Cups card for the analogy of love as two people not looking at each other, but looking in the same direction. Some of the depictions of the cards are classic RWS (such as the 5 of Cups or the 9 of Coins) while other cards are quite strong departures from it (such as the 10 of Cups, shown below).


The pros and cons of this deck may be one in the same: its aesthetic beauty is both its strongest point and its biggest distraction. The geometric and sometimes abstract art could lead people to not “see their lives” in the images on the cards. Even so, the Fountain Tarot has quickly become one of my favorite decks. I believe the Fountain Tarot has that certain “love it or hate it” quality that The Wild Unknown Tarot has. I urge you to discover if it’s for you (or not) by purchasing a copy of it yourself!

The Fountain Tarot is available for purchase here:



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One Response to Deck Review: The Fountain Tarot

  1. […] You might have noticed me using the Fountain Tarot on my Six Second Tarot videos.  Hilary Parry wrote a great review about this marvelous deck! […]

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