Top positive review
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Plain pips for a fortuneteller feel
on 9 August 2015
Apparently The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle has been through many editions, the first one coming out in 1992 as a majors only deck. I bought the 78-card version because I watched a video of Four Queens unboxing hers and when upon investigation I discovered that the pip cards are very plain, I ordered it. I quite like pips-only decks. There's something that feels very fortune-tellerish about laying out a bunch of plain cards and doing a reading with them; I feel it shows some knowledge, and appears less like you're 'just looking at the pictures and making stuff up.' I have both kinds of decks, of course, but I think it's good to use pips-only decks, too.
This deck is called The Lovers' Tarot and it is specifically intended to be used for love and relationship readings. The 64-page guidebook accordingly confines its interpretations to that context, which makes for an interesting read. Though the book is very brief, it is packed with useful information, making it a valuable and convenient resource for quick reference. Each major card gets one page of text that includes ruling planet, element, and a keyword, a 2 or 3 paragraph explanation of the card, and two key phrases called 'essence'. I feel the book really comes into its own with the minors and courts. Instead of organising them by suit, Ace - Ten, as most (but not all) guidebooks do, this book is organised by number. For each number, all four cards are featured across two facing pages, with one-half a page each. The upright meaning is called 'The Gift' and the reversed meaning is called 'The Challenge'. Each card is given a keyword for both upright and reversed.
About the art -- it's a kind of photo collage which some call awkward and clunky, but I think it's meant to be like that. The illustrator, Oliver Burston, is a professional commercial artist so I have no doubt he has the skill to create something realistic and lifelike. I just don't think that was the object here. I like that the art looks like pieces cut from the work of great masters and pasted down. I like the flatness and odd proportions. It's why I like the Tarot Illuminati as well.
The only down side I see to this deck is the suit of Wands. There is no movement there, and for the Fire suit, I would like to see the arrangement less static. The wands are used to create almost like a wall or fence as the numbers get higher. This disappoints me. I would like to have seen, for example, all of them aligned for 8 of Wands, and a bit more confusion in 5 of Wands and 10 of Wands. I know it's a pips-only deck, but there's just something about the way the wands form a kind of garden fence that doesn't seem very Wandsy to me. I would also have preferred a red or orange background colour, to reflect the Fire element. That's the only negative thing I have to say about this deck, though.
I find this an attractive deck with a useful little guidebook, and it comes with a lovely sturdy box, all for a very reasonable price. I am quite pleased with it, and feel it's a keeper.