The Lumina Tarot, created by Lauren Aletta with Inner Hue, and by Tegan Swyny, is a deck that is very dear to my heart. It is one of my absolute favorites and one that I have used the most when reading for myself or for others. It has a gentle yet potent energy that knows how to guide us into healing, and when it’s time to be soft, and when it’s time to be more assertive. I’ve been wanting for a long time to make a review of the Lumina. Since I know of several awesome readers who are also Lumina fans, I thought I would bring a couple of them in for a collaborative review. I hope you enjoy!
Note: as of the writing of this review, the Lumina Tarot is currently out of print. The maker estimates it will be back on sale in March 2020.
Two amazingly dear Lumina readers have joined me for this review. They are Sarah aka MeditativeMystic, a healer and tarot reader hailing from Chicago; and Juanita Benedicto, an astrologer and tarot reader living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Please check out their bios at the end of this page, and give them a follow on Instagram!
It may just be my long-fingered man hands, but the Lumina feels really good to the touch. The card stock is thick and smooth, but not overly glossy. It’s a thick deck! It feels very real in the hands, and mine has aged gracefully. The high-quality material takes well to use, looking even better with time and use.
This deck is on its second edition. The 78 cards are full color, and are 2 3/4″ x 4 7/8″ (large, but not too large). It comes in a box that contains the deck, the guidebook, and a charming black drawstring canvas bag for the cards. The bag is emblazoned with Inner Hue’s logo.
The set comes with a good-sized guidebook of 190 pages. The guidebook contains insightful information on reading the cards, it provides interesting spreads such as New Moon and Full Moon Insight spreads, and gives an overview of each element and other features of the deck. For each card, the book does not give a list of meanings, but instead presents a few touching messages for the reading, alongside black-and-white pictures of the cards.
[Specs source: Phoenix & Lotus]
The Lumina is a beautiful, eye-pleasing and gentle-looking yet evocative deck. The art is mostly drawn in black and white, with soft yet realistic renderings of people, shapes and wildlife. The colors are added as accents or backgrounds, and they are vivid yet not too bright. The artwork is professional, pleasing, and very well finished. Some cards are mostly geometrically-illustrated, such as the Three of Wands, giving a good sense of expansion and growth.
Animals & Plants
If you like flora and fauna in your cards, you are in for a treat! This deck has plenty of beautifully-illustrated animals and plants, in addition to human and geometric forms and other symbology. Certain animals are associated with each suit. For instance, foxes appear here and there in the Wands suit, such as in the 10 of Wands, depicting a fox sitting atop a pile of sticks. And those animals, in different levels of maturation, appear in each of the court cards. For Pentacles, we have the bear. The Page of Pentacles showcases an adorable baby bear. The Knight of Pentacles (one of my favorite cards in this deck), shows an adolescent bear. They nod to the stages of development that the court cards represent. Queen of Pentacles shows a sleeping bear, alluding to the Queens’ “meditative/inner” embodiment of their suit’s energies.
The plant illustrations are also gorgeous. The Nine of Pentacles is symbolized with an evocative purple flower, and the Two of Pentacles is a stunning array of daisies and garlands. The Hermit displays a Joshua Tree. Insects also abound: the Six of Cups is a really interesting piece, showing cobwebs that have ensnared different kinds of insects. Seven of Wands contains a shiny horned beetle–such an excellent metaphor for this card’s idea of defense and self-preservation.
The Lumina features plenty of people. For a deck heavy with wildlife illustrations, the humans add personality that many will relate to. The Moon card, that contains no humans in usual tarot depictions, in this deck contains a long-haired woman with moon jewelry on their head. The Wheel of Fortune (a stunning card!) similarly has a human shape. The Pages are titled “Maidens” and illustrated with women. The human shapes are all apparently Caucasian-looking and drawn according to conventional or societal standards of beauty. Here is where some folks encounter some issues with the Lumina, as discussed honestly by Junanita in her opinion below.
Myself, I have always turned to the Lumina for its honesty yet gentleness. I have never been scared or hesitant to pull a card from this deck. I couldn’t say the same for some other decks, haha! Some of the pips are more minimally illustrated, which caused me to exercise my understanding of the cards beyond what I could immediately see. But, in this section, the stars are my guests. Now, we turn to our fabulous Lumina readers. Through their honest sharing of their experiences with this deck, I hope you will find a window to peer into its impact on their lives.
M: How would you describe the Lumina as a tarot deck?
“The Lumina has always treated me like a good friend. She knows when to be gentle with me, and she knows when to be firm with me. Lumina usually speaks clearly to me, giving me straightforward answers and I love to use her the most when I am confused. Of course, there are times when things may seem unclear with her, but this is usually blockages within myself that I have difficulties removing.” -MeditativeMystic
M: Share some of your experience with the Lumina, and how it has served you.
“I picked up the Lumina deck when I was going through a tumultuous time in my life. I had just been laid off and I had no idea how I was going to meet my financial obligations. When this deck arrived, I asked what I was to learn by working with it. I pulled Temperance.
Since that day, I have taken it one step at a time. Lumina brought me through financial uncertainty, a painful break-up, crippling loneliness, a neck injury, job interviews, landing a great job, realizing the great job wasn’t for me, and getting the courage to quit and go for the life I really wanted to live. Each pull helped me take a tentative step into the aligned unknown. I learned that temperance and trust went hand in hand.
In May of 2018, I sold all my belongings and rented out a room in Central Mexico. I was still drawing a card everyday. Lumina had become a sacred friend. Each pull was a soulful reflection of not only what was unfolding in my life, but the exact wisdom I needed to download in the moment. I’m so thankful for my friendship with this deck. I have a lot of respect for Lumina as well as a unique feeling of kinship towards it.” -Juanita
“Lumina was the deck I leaned on most during a very tough time of transition. I was extremely unhappy in my previous job and I used this deck almost every time I would pull. I was applying for different positions and I used the Lumina to gain insight on what was happening. A prominent time I remember is when I asked the tarot why I did not get a response from a perspective employer and why I did not get the position. Lumina called me out right then and there with giving me the two of swords and knight of cups as answers to my questions. I interpreted this as “Girl, they are still making a decision. Get your emotions in check, you’re a mess”. The next day I received an email from them saying they still had more interviews coming up and they would let me know. For me, Lumina is very good with these types of situations.” -MeditativeMystic
M: How long did it take for you to read more confidently with the Lumina? Feel free to share any learning experiences.
“It took me a bit longer than I anticipated to read confidently with Lumina, I would say a few months, and some cards still give me some trouble. I learned on The Wild Unknown, which made me think I would pick up things quickly, but it was surprisingly more difficult than I has originally thought. For me, Lumina took a lot of quality time and usage to be comfortable. The guidebook is also one of my very favorite guidebooks available. Reading it often has helped me connect with the deck deeper, as well as my others. I believe that Lumina works best for me during times of transition. I don’t believe it’s an everyday deck, at least right now, but more so a guide that will activate at a deep level when needed. I use my intuition heavily when choosing a deck to use, and Lumina is very obvious when it wants to be used and when it doesn’t.” -MeditativeMystic
“Using the deck everyday, it took me about four months. I would pull every morning and then set the card on my altar to see how its energy would manifest in my life that day. I didn’t go about learning the Lumina passively. I would read up on the card and then I would journal or post on Instagram. Putting the energy into my own words within the context of immediate experiences gave me the mental hooks to hang the cards on. When I embody the cards this way, they live inside me in a visceral way. They become a known and practical experience rather than a paragraph I’ve memorized. ” -Juanita
M: What are the Lumina’s strengths? Any challenges?
“Because I combine astrology with tarot, I love that the Major Arcana includes the sign or planet the card is associated with. This element was what initially drew me to Lumina. I was also drawn to the gorgeous depictions of the cards, especially the court cards and the pips that included people on them. Each suit is identified with an animal which symbolizes the energy of that suit. I loved this detail as well. Finally, another pull towards this deck is the creator Lauren Aletta @innerhue. I heard an interview with Lauren and was immediately drawn to her effervescence. She’s like an innocent child, a wildflower, and an ancient wisdom keeper rolled into one. I knew that I wanted that kind of energy in the deck I would work with next.
However, one strength is also a challenge for me. The people depicted on the cards are gorgeous—like Lauren herself—and the cards are extremely photogenic. I love the design, colors, and vibe of this deck. But sadly, the deck is not inclusive and that is a major downfall for me. The characters in this deck are beautiful, thin, white people, which makes it kind of hard to work with when you’re in Central Mexico and the people on the cards don’t look like the clients you serve. I’ve gone around and round with this because I have a close affinity with this deck but also wish that other skin colors, body shapes, and ages were represented.
Another challenge is that the images on many of the cards don’t lend themselves to go into deep conversations with clients. For this reason, I use the Rider Waite deck when I’m teaching or working with clients because of the rich symbolism found in the artwork which tends to open up many avenues of conversation about meaning that Lumina does not. ” -Juanita
Any tips for Lumina readers?
“Cultivate a relationship with your deck. When I first pulled that Temperance card, I slept with it under my pillow so that I could receive messages in my dreams. After readings, I honor and cleanse my deck with rose petals, a lit candle, a spoon of water, and sage. Developing a friendship with your deck is like building one with a person. You get what you give.
You could say this about any deck. Yet I feel that this has been especially so with the Lumina Deck which entered my life when I really needed wise guidance and a good friend. I’m happy to say The Lumina Tarot has been both.” -Juanita
I hope you enjoyed this collaborative review! Please take a minute to check out my guests, below, and follow their pages!
MeditativeMystic is a healer, currently residing in the southern suburbs of Chicago. Her favorite way to use the tarot is to help herself and other heal through trauma. Sarah is pursuing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is excited to break down the stigma around mental health while bringing more Spiritual approaches to her practice. You may find her on Instagram, @meditativemystic.
Juanita Benedicto is a consulting astrologer and tarot reader. She lives in San Miguel de Allende where she enjoys listening to the sounds of church bells, roosters, and wind. When she’s not pouring over natal charts, she’s wandering the hills with her rescue pup, a Red Heeler named Yara. She can be reached at for juanitabenedicto.com consultations or a spirited game of dominoes. You may also find her on Instagram, @juanitabenedicto.