"Had I lived in the late 19th Century, I'd like to believe I would have been a Symbolist. I'll never actually know, but I think I would have felt at home among those artists and innovators." - Timothy Lantz
In my experience, I have found that I have one of three reactions when I get a new deck:
1. I instantly love it
2. I instantly dislike it
3. I'm unsure how I feel about it, but I'm leaning towards #2
However, I always give decks a chance-putting them through their paces, seeing how they read, allowing for the possibility that they may grow on me despite my misgivings.
When I first saw online images from The Archeon Tarot by Timothy Lantz, I thought they were gothicly superb. When I got the deck in my hands, however, I had the #3 reaction. Would these ambiguous images "speak" to me? Was there anything to glean, intuitively, from these dark, Rorschachian depictions?
After working with the Archeon Tarot, I quickly realized that this wasn't a deck to be read with the left-brain. That is, I needed to dispense with the "OK, we got Wands here. That's masculine, indicates movement..." I'm not saying an individual *couldn't* read these cards by rote memory and logic. I'm just saying that I realized that *I* wouldn't be able to.
So I did something unusual. I corralled my husband who is NOT a Tarot reader (but is highly intuitive), to experiment with me. (Oh the joys of being a Scorpionic couple!) I don't do many readings for myself, often going weeks or months without pulling any personal cards. If I do consult the Tarot, it's always for "bigger" situations-the existential aspects of life.
I shuffled the deck and then invited my husband to ask a question, select the cards, and interpret them. His interpretation of the cards was unexpected and highly accurate. For example, The Devil-normally a card of warning or one indicating obsession-was interpreted quite differently by my husband. He saw the "wings" of The Devil as a "schematic"-a blueprint beckoning for realization and manifestation based upon his actions so that he could "fly". It was also card indicating that he would continue to transcend former religious taboos by his choice of reading material and personal worldview.
When it was my turn, I had some misgivings. I wanted to ask a question about my 7-year-old son, but I actually thought, "Do I want to waste such an important question on a deck I'm unsure about?" I decided to go ahead with it.
I interpreted the cards mentally and invited my husband to interpret them. His interpretation not only expanded upon what I picked up intuitively, but also delivered accurate, comforting wisdom. Amazingly, my son confirmed the reading within a few hours--based on something he said!
I was so impressed with the readings-and confident of the accuracy of the Archeon Tarot-that I asked about a health question that's been troubling me.
Now let me back up and say that Mr. Lantz has taking some liberties with the elemental aspects of the Minor Arcana. In traditional Tarot, Pentacles and Cups are feminine, while Wands and Swords are masculine. In the Archeon Tarot, Pentacles are masculine and Wands are feminine. Apparently "tradition" was more ingrained than I had suspected, because initially my thoughts screamed "What?! How can you deem Wands *feminine*?!"
Interestingly, my health question referred to a "female" issue and lo and behold, I drew all Wands. The color saturating these cards and the images-they all told a story...a feminine story and that was clear, appropriate, and scarily accurate.
Other than the masculine/feminine switch with the Minor suits, The Archeon Tarot employs traditional renderings. The Pages--often the "messengers" of the Tarot--appropriately becomes The Heralds. In addition, the intriguing card backings are fully reversible.
The Archeon Tarot comes with a 47-paged L(ittle) W(hite) B(ook), but Mr. Lantz often applies fresh interpretations to the cards (both upright and reversed). For example, the Ace of Swords shows a crystalline skull impaled with a sword. One of the keywords for this card is "clairvoyance", a concept I hadn't associated with this Ace previously. Yet, this idea made perfect sense to me!
In my estimation, The Archeon Tarot is a very intuitive deck. If you "read" best with detailed depictions, bright/cheery images, logic or regurgitated meanings, you may find this deck troublesome. However, if you're able to relax, reading from the heart and the right brain, you'll likely glean a whole host of richly layered, relevant information. (Personally, I think Water signs would "get" this deck most easily.)
(To see 9 card images from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at [...])
Janet Boyer, author of Back in Time Tarot