The Tarot of the 78 Doors seems to be placed somewhere between a conventional Tarot and McElroy's Bright Idea Deck.
In contrast to Bright Ideas, 78 Doors keeps to the traditional Tarot numbering. Even so, some of the cards appear to have no
relation to the Tarot. Instead they depict scenes that are ambiguous. Faced with this ambiguity, the reader can create a meaning relevant to their own situation, drawing answers more from their own subconscious, than from Tarot tradition. "Thematic Apperception Test" cards, anyone? Okay,
I know the TAT had a different purpose.
I prefer this style of card and card reading, but other readers prefer the more traditional or mystical styles. This deck is not for them.
The artwork is finer than the Bright Idea art. And this artist can draw women. While the Bright Ideas artist depicts all his
women as heavy-set footballers in drag, the 78 Doors women are luscious. Is that Angelina Jolie as Temperance?
But the 78 Doors artist has his/her own failings - babies are drawn as oversized, plumped up, grisly little adults.
They reminded me of that Laurie Anderson monologue "The Mailman's Nightmare":
"I have this recurring nightmare, and that is that everyone in the world, except myself, has the problems of babies.
I mean they're normal height and everything--five feet, six feet tall--but they have these giant heads, like babies, you know? And enormous eyes, and tiny arms and legs, and they can hardly walk."
And on the 8 of Pentacles, what is that misspelling of "Tattoo" all about? Was it an accident? Is it "tattoo" in some foreign language?
Or is it deliberate - advising me that perfection is not necessary in an endeavour? See - the card is working on my inner mind. (Actually, I think the artist just made a boo boo).
The Little White Book is sublimely irrelevant, as it should be.
Oh, and unlike some decks, 78 Doors comes in a conventional card box that fits the deck exactly so you can carry it around with ease, and not have to figure out some way of containing and protecting your cards. (My Bright Ideas deck is kept together with rubber bands). What are these people thinking when they package these decks? Do they honestly think I'm going to keep my cards loose in a scratchy, el cheapo material black bag, or in an elaborate box the size of a coffee table book?
In summary, I am enjoying this deck and I'm very happy I bought it. The cards are 12 x 6.5 centimetres, semi-glossy, and
easy to handle and shuffle. Each picture is a delight to view and full of things to examine and contemplate.
It is suitable for anyone who prefers the "brain storming" style of McElroy, but wants to retain the useful structure of traditional Tarot.