After seeing a friend's deck, I ordered this through Amazon only to learn afterwards it was book only. The seller was contacted for me and she VERY kindly added the card deck wrapped in her own purple silk scarf with no price increase. They therefore feel special as well as containing an enormous amount of easily translatable symbolism in beautiful pictures. I'm delighted !!! I just wish descriptions of items are described as "whole" or "parts of" (instead of "paperback" - as opposed to hardback) to avoid confusion. The 'Amazon Help' personnel have been very helpful in such matters, thank you.
Tarot decks designed by the Magic Realist Press, in the form of Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov, are rapidly becoming decks against which other Tarots are judged. First there was the Tarot of Prague, then the Baroque Bohemian Cats Tarot, both beautifully-judged collage decks, the kind of collage where you can't spot the joins. Two more Tarot decks followed, and an Oracle, also two fine books demonstrating the same high artistic standards and, also, sense of fun.
So we get to the Victorian Romantic Tarot, not a collage deck but a deck composed of 78 Victorian engravings, some of them spliced together, or cropped, or otherwise altered to enhance the required effect. Apart from a couple of cards, none of these images is well-known, and many of their creators (from Germany, from what is now the Czech Republic, from France and Britain and America) are now completely forgotten. But what images ! There is medievalism and the Victorian love of the Orient (the Emperor is an Egyptian pharoah, the Hierophant an Islamic teacher). There are scenes of Ancient Greece and Rome, and quite a few fairies and nympths, and there are many genre paintings depicting realistic aspects of Victorian life.
And it's not just art, it also does work very well as Tarot, with the images matched beautifully with the usual interpretations. The Rider-Waite tradition is a guiding influence but the images are much richer than that remark might imply-they are great to use in any form of creative work as so many of them suggest a narrative. I am finding them a joy to work with, both in readings and in creative writing exercises and as meditative tools.
Tarot enthusiasts who wish to discover a deep, attractive and effective deck would be advised to look at this one. It would also please any lovers of Victoriana, whether or not they are acquainted with Tarot.
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This deck has hit the spot for me. I've used many decks over the years and studied scores of others to try and find the deck that fits me. In one of my reviews I described the Druid Craft Tarot as possibly the best yet, but I've had to change my mind.
I wish this deck had been around longer to spend more time with it. Never has a deck had a better capacity for narrative than this one. The images are so well chosen and manipulated. There is little occult nonsense nor an artificial system enforced on it, just great images that respects tarot imagery but goes further. Some of these cards just blew me away with the power of the images especially The Star, The Moon, 6 of Swords and the Aces. I won't pretend that every one is perfect, but this deck has fewer duffs than any other I've seen
These cards really work well for helping readers through their problems. Alternatively they would be perfect for stimulating creative writing, or for meditation.
The colours are good - not too garish as befits the Victorian era - and the card stock perfect for shuffling and handling.
The accompanying booklet is by far the best I've ever come across. It deserves recognition for the writing quality on its own. The authors write clearly, offering insights into life that are mature, sensitive, humorous, down-to-earth, profound and helpful. Read their meaning of the 4 of wands for example. There is a very sensible account of the tarot and its uses. I am happy to just read through the book at bed time, treating it as good literature and a guide to life. Using this deck is very much a guide to life, which is the purpose of the tarot.
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