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Okay, where do I start.
on 13 August 2015
This set was originally published in 1910 when offset lithography was the trend the day, thus these are designed to fit with that printing technique, hence they are basic, using large swathes of colour ‘blocks’ much like Toulouse Lautrec posters. Most of the designs are simplified versions of the stunning [and ridiculously expensive] Sola Busca Tarot and Tarot of Marseilles. The cards measure approximately 73mm x 123mm and are plastic coated and printed on stiff card so should last if you look after them.
What fascinates me is the fact nobody has said that ‘original’ fortune telling cards had 52 cards and ’Tarot’ was actually a very complex card game that used the 78 cards [hence their numbering of the Major Arcana] to score points. In reality, the fortune telling came in because they looked prettier and had more cards so seemed more mystical, especially if you know the mythos that goes with cartomancy.
The pack has a very small 30 page instruction manual that gives a brief description on the ’meaning’ of each card and an example on how they should be used. This pack is great for those who want to dabble, or are new to it as it’s all very simple with inoffensive interpretations and quite ‘tame’ cards as Waite had it all toned down for Edwardian sensibilities [unlike my Grand Ettellia which has four really ’bad’ cards other than death!! -which by the way simply means the ending of something] and wanted something ‘arty’.
The problem with this set is that the cards ARE badly reproduced [the printing is fine] having lost much of their colour to a muddy blandness due to overuse of cyan in the printing process, but it is cheap. If it’s a first set you want this is a good starter choice or checkout the Tarot of Marseilles which is more wood-carving in style. Seasoned uses may prefer something more weighty [forgive the pun] but it’s all down to how you interpret your pack and how they draw you in –you don’t know until you’ve used them and if you’re ‘in tune’ with your pack you’ll soon develop your own interpretations rather than the bland supplied ones or drivel found in most books, but I found this pack easy to gain control of [again experienced uses should understand the comment], just make sure they don’t control you!