A freudian carnival with lusty intrigue as the main theme, the Eros deck is coquettish and dripping with innuendo. This deck will certainly make you blush. Sex is not just included, it is the main star of this deck; each card finds a way, often humorously, to incorporate it. The characters in the cards are topsy turvy, each image filled with both shock value and little inside jokes that only an experienced cartomancer would detect.
The Fool begins our journey through this bacchanalian adventure, his cartoonishly large ass setting the tone for what's to come. Flipping through the major arcana you’ll find yourself laughing at a drunk Temperance, a Justice holding scales-turned-brassiere, and a Hierophant that, looking upon The Lovers doing The Devil’s dance, has him praying with knees upward.
Try counting the genitalia in this deck, I dare you. There must be hundreds. Some are subtly referenced, like the rooster or ‘cock’ on the Emperor's’ shield, some are hidden in plain sight like the Magician’s “wand”, while some stare proudly at you as if they were saying, “look at me, look at me.”
Moving into the minor arcana you’ll find a classic Pip style common to marseilles decks in that there are not unique individual scenes. Normally, I would find this a bit disappointing, but this is not a normal deck. Each Minor card contains erotic symbols of their own--some delicately hidden and others standing prominent. Looking through the suits you’ll find yourself counting, "...8 penises, 9 penises, 10 penises...", wondering just how many they can fit!
The court cards conclude this deck looking like boisterous buffoons enraptured by their desire. They seem to be performing their own kind of courtly embrace as they look to the side waiting for someone to join them in their revelry. Perhaps they’re looking at us, the readers. Maybe they're asking us to open a bottle of René Pogel and begin to indulge in some horizontal refreshments of our own.
With a deck like this you have to ask when, if ever, you would actually use it in a reading. With love and sex as its primary theme this deck would certainly work well for readings focused on relationships. The comical nature of many of the images also suggest that this deck would be fun to bring to a party and do readings for your friends. Though I have to admit, at it’s core, this is a collector's deck. This kind of uniqueness appeals to the collector impulse of cartomancers. And let’s admit it, most of us tarot readers have hoarding tendencies when it comes to our deck collections.
The uniqueness of this deck even goes beyond the cards themselves: the box the cards come in is ‘titillating’ in both senses. Additionally, the companion book, more than just a guide, is an adult coloring book filled with naughty limericks to enhance your readings.
It is clear that each component of this deck was carefully thought out. Looking beyond the humorous and sexual surface level, you see a deck with beautiful artwork, clear attention to detail, and outstanding creativity. So while this certainly isn’t the first deck I grab for readings, it still holds a prominent place on my shelf and in my heart.
What are your thoughts on this deck? Share in the comments below.