The moment I and so many others have been waiting for…the 3rd Edition of Steele Wizard Tarot by Pamela Steele just released through Schiffer Publishing - REDFeather! Pamela self-published the 1st Edition of Steele Wizard Tarot in 2006 followed by a reprint in 2010 before it was picked up by REDFeather and released October 2023. While there are three editions, there are also key differences that make them stand apart.
The Steele Wizard Tarot Deck
If you are new to this deck or to Pamela Steele, you’re in for a treat! Pam’s artwork in the Steele Wizard Tarot is centered on her personal journey and work with Shamanism and elemental magic where she achieves wonderful depth of dimension and texture using Laurentian Pencil Crayons. For those as unfamiliar with Laurentian Pencil Crayons as I am, I have learned that they are a “Canadian thing” and I liken them to my favorite medium, Prisma pencils.
All three editions use the same artwork and feature 88 cards including the 78 original tarot Major and Minor Arcana, along with 6 additional Major Arcana and a Maiden court card for each suit. The addition of the Maiden allows for you to keep all 5 court cards in each suit, remove the Page which is the Princess in other decks, or even swap the Knight for a more feminine centered deck. The deck as a whole gives more attention to the Divine Feminine and the power of Mother Nature and her elements. The five additional Majors include: 22 - Weaver, 23 - Universe, 24 - Truth, 25 - Soul Twins, 26 - Evolution, and 27 - I am. These extra Majors are intended to provide you with more clarity in a reading; they can be advice or the antidote to a difficult situation.
The theme of the artwork is very Celtic, Saxon, Nordic viking with an air of fairytales and old world Earthly wisdom. Compared to a traditional Rider Waite Smith deck, the images are much less harsh, even with “difficult” cards. There is a full spectrum of not only colors, but also shades which gives the cards a much deeper depth than seen in a lot of other decks. The deck is ripe with symbolism and story telling which is often lacking or superficial in more modern decks.
Pam uses the titles of “Transition” in place of “Death” on Key 13, and “Materialism” in place of “The Devil” on Key 15.
The Elder Futhark system of runes are used through the deck to enhance the symbolic meanings of the cards.
Steel Wizard Tarot Deck Edition Comparison
The REDFeather edition is more vibrant and colors are more saturated. There is a progression of vibrancy and saturation between the different editions with the 1st Edition having natural muted tones to more vibrant modern tones through the 2nd and 3rd Editions. This change, particularly with the REDFeather Edition, makes the fine details in the artwork much easier to read on the cards.
The black frame was reduced between the1st and 2nd Editions, and then dropped entirely on the REDFeather Edition giving more room for the artwork. The card appears zoomed in, making the art larger even though the card is thinner. I prefer borders on my cards, but I am actually loving the lack of border on this deck.
With the 1st and 2nd Editions, the suits and Majors are differentiated by color in the border artwork. With the frame being dropped to make more room for the center art in the REDFeather Edition, the color coding is shifted to the base of each card alongside the card titles. There is a change in color correspondence with the elements from the first two editions, most notably the Suit of Wands, the Suit of Pentacles, and the Major Arcana transitioning from the full spectrum of colors to a deep lavender shade.
REDFeather Edition Color Coding
Majors - Lavender
Wands - Golden Yellow Orange
Cups - Teal
Swords - Blue
Pentacles - Red orange
Another detail that can easily be overlooked, but can make a huge impact is the change in placement and display of the numerals on the Major Arcana seen in the REDFeather Edition. The 1st and 2nd Editions display the Roman numerals at the top of each card, and the REDFeather Edition changes them to natural numbers and drops them to the base of the card alongside the card title. It is the change from Roman numerals to natural numbers that will make this deck more accessible to people. I prefer Roman numerals, but a lot of people have a hard time reading them, this is especially true for those that have not been taught Roman numerals, have learning disability or vision impairment.
The back of the cards’ design has progressed nicely between the editions. In my opinion, the REDFeather Edition has the best design by far with a subtle print covering the entire back and smaller dragons flanking the vertical edges.
Each edition has gotten progressively smaller. The 1st Edition is more of what I see with oracle cards, the 2nd Edition became smaller with the decreased black border, and the REDFeather Edition with no border is smaller still. When compared to a traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, the 3rd Edition is slightly larger, though very manageable even for small hands like mine. The yellow lines on the three card pile below denotes the outline of the 2nd Edition for comparison.
The card stock has also changed with each edition. The 3rd Edition is much more similar to the 1st Edition with a glossy finish and sturdier cardstock. The 2nd Edition was printed with a linen finish which is not as study as thick gloss, but is great for shuffling, especially bridge shuffling. Despite the thicker paper and glossy finish in the 3rd Edition, the thinner cards in this edition make for an easy bridge shuffle.
The Steele Wizard Tarot Companion Book
The companion book for all three editions is far above the standard “little white book” seen with other tarot decks. The 1st Edition is smaller in size, closer to the size of a pocket book and having 110 pages. The 2nd Edition is a digital pdf download, and the 3rd Edition comes in the size of a standard book and has 192 pages. All three have beautiful color illustrations, something that I think is massively underrated!
Pamela’s companion books really dives into the depths of each cards, gives a good overview of tarot, tarot readings, and self knowledge. She also openly encourages you to develop your own interpretations of the cards and to always follow your intuition. Both of these are signs of a true teacher.
The 1st Edition book was beyond the “little white book”, but the 3rd Edition completely knocks it out out of the park; it is a full fledged tarot book in and of itself!
Expands on Tarot Ethics
Contains additional sections covering what tarot is, tarot myths and truths, keeping a tarot journal, the court cards simplified, the debate between using a tarot spread or not, timing, keywords for each card, and overall explanations of the major arcana and the suits.
Significant expansion of the description of each card in the upright and reversed position including in-depth analysis for each cards’ image; each Major Arcana card has additional lined area space for note taking.
Each card is accompanied by a single sentence piece of wisdom such as “Take a break” for the Four of Swords, along with a quote from Den Elder, the author of “DragonSteele Meditations”, and the Founder of the Church of Tarot and World Tarot Day.
There are several new spreads created specifically for this deck.
Steele Wizard Tarot Box
I love a good quality box, it really adds that extra special touch to a deck. Right out of the gate there are differences in the boxes between the editions. The 1st Edition has a thick and sturdy two piece box that holds both the cards and the companion book. The 2nd Edition has a clasp box only large enough for the deck since the companion book is a pdf download. The 3rd Edition by REDFeather is a clasp box as well, but is much larger to accommodate the deck and larger companion book. The sleekness of the 3rd Edition screams highly quality deck.
To Buy or Not To Buy?
All three editions of the Steele Wizard Tarot by Pamela Steele are great in their own unique way. If you have the 1st and/or 2nd Editions, you most definitely want to add the 3rd Edition by REDFeather to your collection. Not only is the deck itself an improvement on visibility for fine detail in the artwork, the size is far more manageable for small hands or those with limited mobility, and the companion book could easily be a stand alone tarot book. This deck is truly universal and applicable to both tarot novices and experts. It's powerful imagery serves as a wonderful example of what Rachel Pollack spoke about when she said that storytelling and tarot go hand-in-hand in “A Walk Through the Forest of Souls”, and how appropriate that this deck features a forest throughout the artwork.
WARNING TO THE READER:
Counterfeit tarot decks have flooded the market. Not only do counterfeits hurt the publishers and deck creators, they leave you with a lousy product. Counterfeits, intentionally or unintentionally, are being sold in metaphysical and spiritual shops, Facebook Marketplace, TEMU, Amazon and other retailers. Do your homework on How to Spot a Counterfeit Tarot Decks and why it matters: video format at the 9:55 time mark with Ethony Dawn, audio format with Leeza Robertson, and written format with Grove and Grotto. It is important to buy from reputable sellers who know their merchandise like directly from the publisher's website or the deck creator's website.
Copyright © 2023 Brandy Rachelle
Uncredited images from my personal collection or stock images