The Runic Tarot Hardcover – 30 Jan 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are following the celtic path I would recommend this set.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The deck is called Runic Tarot but I think the name Oracle would have been more appropriate as it not set up as a traditional Tarot deck. In place of the traditional 22 major arcana cards, it has 24 rune cards. Each for one of the 24 germanic Futhark letters of the runic alphabet. The names of the runes used are the old english or anglo-saxon version of names (ie Feoh instead of Fehu, Gyfu instead of Gebo).
The minor arcana is replaced by a breakdown of a year, where each suit is represented by a season named for the 'solar holiday' that marks its beginning. Neo-pagans will recognize these as cross quarter sabbats, Beltane, Lughnasah, Samhain and Imoblc. Each season spans 12 weeks, corresponding to 12 cards. There are also 4 additional cards for the 2 solstices and 2 equinoxes.
I am frequently annoyed by the misconception that runes are Celtic in origin, but the author addresses and justifies the combination of symbolism and concepts from 2 different cultures, Celtic and Germanic. I initially thought it odd that the traditional germanic symbols were presented with the Anglo-Saxon names, but I think it makes sense as the convergence with celtic cultures would have occured in the British Isles.
I don't think I realized that this was not a standard Tarot when I purchased it and at first felt the task of learning a new system of divination to be daunting. However, each card states a keyword for the purpose of making it easier to grasp, which helps. Each card also gives astrological correspondences which will benefit anyone familiar with these influences. Plus, I have found that recognizing the archetypes expressed in this deck, only gives me a stronger understanding of archtypes for divination and tarot in general.
I really enjoy the artwork which is colorful draws heavily on celtic knotwork style. I am happy to find a deck of cards that incorporates runes interpreted by someone other than Ralph Blum. Overall, I am very satisfied with owning this deck.
Every card, no matter what position it falls in, gives a strong, empowering message that can be immediately applied to the sitter's life. So far most of my readings have been for myself as this deck does have a steeper learning curve than RWS based clones, but it's worth every minute of the pleasurable learning opportunity. I've spent many comforting hours healing with this deck during a particularly grueling past week.
I just couldn't stop laughing when 12 of Lughnasadh fell into 1st position of my modified version of the celtic cross. It's title is "Extreme Craze" and features an angry fish with teeth. That about summed up the day I was having :-)
The book is quite complete, but reading books on runes and the sun signs is enriching my understanding of the cards. I'm currently reading "All Around the Zodiac" and waiting for "You're Every Sign". I'm finding it quite easy and affordable to find a vast amount of supplementary books to read, and even free websites.
This deck will work well in any traditional spread, but I think it's FAR above average for spreads focusing on healing and self-discovery. The runes make a fantastic major arcana, developed by a people living in some of the harshest conditions imaginable, but true party people never the less. The runes are unparalleled in providing advice and comfort to weather the storms of life.
I have a cheap set of plastic runes. I pick out the ones that showed up in the cards and carry them in my pocket for the day. It's comforting to rub them when everything is going wrong.
This is not a RWS clone. Give it a chance though, and be prepared to fall in love.
The art is nicely themed for the most part, even if it departs from what you expect carved on a viking ship. There are however cards where the symbology seems a bit mixed with other mythologies, or ones that end up feeling more modern than the others. Well some of that was inevitable. I like some of Astrops cards in other decks, and feel indifferent to othes cards he has done.
You get a nice book on the deck, which is vital since it's not Tarot. I did like the 3 little spreads in the back. The packaging was a tad odd, since the book cever is part of the box the cards are kept in, which makes it hard to handle the book for a complete read through and the cards won't stay put if you place it upright on a book shelf. They loose another review point for trying to be too cutsie with putting the box together.
I don't know about how often I will use this however. I lacks some feel of universal symbology. The deck is clever, but I don't think it will be useful for me. You can get a look at this deck and others by Astrop at their website, and I recommend doing just that to see if you relate to any of their other theme decks.