Jolanda Tarot Review

Jolanda Tarot is the creation of Rose Bjorkman, illustrated by artist Hans Arnold. The deck is published by AGM AGMuller, and comes in a stock standard box that contains 78 cards and a little white book (LWB).

I first glimpsed this deck a while back on Submerina’s blog, and liked what I saw. My recent addiction to the Annikin Divination site confirmed this is a deck I’d rather enjoy, and my intuition was right. In the couple of days I’ve had it, it’s been truly enchanting to shuffle a deck which, while based on the Rider Waite Smith, actually has many original, quirky and very witchy interpretations. There is a brief sentence about Rose that mentions “Through her life-long committment to the art of the seeress and to the use of tarotcards as a tool to work magic, she has become one of Sweden’s leading experts on the subject.” This should give you a hint this deck has a definite magical influence in its drawings (though, naturally, I think every deck has that, but I feel in this case it’s more overt). In particular, there is an abundance of animal symbolism which will keep the tarot enthusiast busy and content to discover. There is also a great deal of nudity, though I personally have no issues with this.

Unfortunately, the LWB is rather useless. This is especially given that some cards have different and original takes on the Rider Waite Smith, yet their meanings in the book are more appropriate for the original Rider Waite Smith cards.

As a quick example, take the 6 of Cups – in this deck, the meaning for this card is more fitting with one of its lesser known descriptions of “soulmates”, yet the LWB gives “memories, past influences, nostalgia, longing, childhood passed.” And all of these can ring true, but when I look at the actual picture, I get a definitive “soulmates” feel from it. The cards themselves have a great feel, with a slight laminate texture. They seem to be very thin, though I think they will last well. They have a mauve border that in my opinion could be shrunk a little – if only to make the beautiful paintings bigger and give them a bolder voice. The back is not reversible, and features a dragonfly lady holding what looks like a crystal ball, or a full moon. The colours throughout are very rich and well chosen – if you like this sort of illustrative style, you will love this deck. I made an instant connection with it, and the readings have been brilliant.

Personally, the only thing missing from this deck is a decent accompanying book. There is mention of the book Jolanda’s Book of Tarot and Magic, but I cannot find any information that it will be printed in English. Naturally, there are advantages to not having a book, since you are encouraged to develop your intuition and rely on your own interpretations. Still, I think it would be a great addition to have a reference and learn about some of the animal symbolism from the creators’ view point, as well as the actual creative process behind this tarot deck. For example, why is there a Panda on the Emperor card? To me the Panda is a peaceful vegetarian bear and rather incongruous with my ideas about the Emperor archetype.

If you like what you see below, you will definitely enjoy shuffling this work of art. I look forward to sharing my readings with this deck in the near future πŸ™‚

Many blessings,


  1. An interesting deck, for sure! I really like some of the cards, but not so much that this is a *must have* for me (thank goodness!) What you said about the LWB is one of my pet peeves. I have more than one deck that uses the “standard” meanings when the illustration clearly suggests something more or different.

  2. This deck is definitely on my list of ‘get very soon’!

    I was looking at it the other day. I especially dig the funky 70’s children’s illustration-ish feel to it.

    Lotsa Hugs,

  3. Oh I’m glad you like her! She’s such a quirky, mischievous little deck πŸ™‚

    I’m a “read the cards, not the book” kinda girl, but this deck is *sorely* in need of a guide. I feel like I’m missing so much when I read with it; little symbols and hidden jokes (like, who are those little men that appear on so many of the cards?). I don’t think it’s all just artistic embellishment, given that the deck has a defined background; all those things must *mean* something!

    Anyway, glad to have enabled so successfully πŸ˜‰

  4. I sense your sigh of relief there πŸ™‚ (phew, not another deck to buy!)

    I would love a “proper” book on this deck, but it doesn’t look like one is coming, at least in English anyway. I have found some of the LWB to have improved, for example for some of the US Games decks, but by and large, I agree, most are awful.


  5. Thank you Aj – I’ll try and post more of my readings with this deck in the near future and hopefully give a more in depth example of its usefulness.


  6. Agree – and happy you have found this deck interesting. Some of the minor versions are especially good and so original. He he, how I love to explore a new deck πŸ™‚


  7. Hello Mentha πŸ™‚ Yes you would love it. So many decks, so little time, and even less money!

    Hope you are getting better. Many blessings to you x

  8. Hello hello Submerina πŸ™‚ And thank you for showing this deck in the first place.

    Yes! Who ARE those little men?!! Are they goblins or some spirit elementals, something out of Swedish folk tales? All will be revealed…. one day.

    Many blessings to you and welcome back!

  9. This deck has been a favorite of mine for years!

    It’s actually much more Thoth-based than RWS, which makes the LWB even more silly.

    Rosie herself has written two or three books about it, but unfortunately, those are in Swedish.
    I have heard, however, that she is now working on a book in English… It might take a few years, but fingers crossed it will come!

    In the mean time, I’ve found that the companion book for Ian Daniels’ tarot of Vampyres (also Thoth-based) works surprisingly well with this deck; the book isn’t illustrated, and if you just skip the visual descriptions of the cards, it makes an amazing amount of sense!

  10. Hello, thank you for your comment and suggestions. I really do look forward to an English book from her on this deck. As others have commented, it is sorely missed. I’ll keep my eye out for the Tarot of Vampyres book and will look into the deck as well, though I have a personal preference for RWS – it was my first deck, sigh πŸ˜‰

    Many blessings!

  11. The Tarot of Vampyres book is really good. Get the deck for the book, even if you don’t care for the cards (but I think they’re gorgeous). Between that book and Lon Milo Duquette’s book on the Thoth deck you’d probably be all set. I was at the Jolanda Tarot Web site, and it does sound like the English book is in the works, but who knows when it will be available.

  12. I’ve just had a look at the deck and actually like it. I say “actually” because, coming from Romania, I always laugh silly when I see the portrayal of Vlad in the west. And no, there are no vampires. It’s a nice metaphor for psychic energy suckers, but otherwise, no, no vampires πŸ™‚ Another one for my wish list…


  13. Well that’s too bad, I keep hoping to find one to turn me πŸ˜‰ Just think of all the money you could save on groceries!

    I got the deck about a year and a half ago, and blogged it back then. I called it the Tarot of Vampyres (of Melrose Place) because all the people are so beautiful! It’s like looking at the women in a soap opera with perfect hair. I wasn’t really into the underlying system at the time, but I have done a 180 on that. It’s one of my favorite decks now.


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