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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 12 November 2014
I'm a hardcore Thoth reader (Hey Erik, how about a Thoth remake at some point? *evil suggestions before being stoned to death*), and I've always had a hard time accepting Pamela Coleman Smith's artworks. Not that I don't appreciate Waite's deck as a whole, but the drawings have always been a huge drawback for me. Then I discovered this deck and my love story with Waite's world finally began. I first bought the kit edition, and was astounded by it: lush colors, Kim's book, opulent design, Kim's book, details everywhere, Kim's book, exotic, inspired characters, Kim's book, gorgeous lighting... Did I mention Kim freaking Huggens' book? The girl is amazing, and provided us with a wonderful companion book to Erik's imagery (unfortunately, if you want the full version of it, you'll have to buy the ebook, but trust me if I tell you it's worth every penny: it is litterally stuffed with tarot goodness).

Quite unluckily, I have been cursed by mother Nature with only avarage hands, so that those huge, overly thick, heavily gilt-edged cards have ended up almost unused -at least as far as tarot reading is concerned.
BUT, standard version to the rescue! This new edition is a tad smaller, thinner and darker, and trust me, that's ok. The kit version is a work of art in every single aspect, but using it is like shuffling 78 paintings by Michelangelo: you don't want to do that, especially if you don't have windmill blades instead of hands. As for the "darker" part, it simply brings out tons of additional details that were hard to see in the kit version due to its shiny finish. It also has very thin, classy black boarders, but I've never had a trimming/boarderless cards fetish, especially since this time Lo Scarabeo has spared us its usually horrible multi-language boarders.
In a word: get this deck.

+ It takes Waite's ideas and makes them finally pleasant to look at
+ Impressively classy in every single way
+ But not just a clone (The Prince/Princess thing brings this deck closer to Waite's and the Golden Dawn's true ideas regarding court cards, other than adding a bit more of gender equality)
+ From a practical point of view, better than the Kit edition

- Doesn't come with Kim's book, but you can remedy this by getting the full ebook version
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on 26 June 2014
Having seen the larger kit version of these cards (which includes a full coloured book), the images, which I will add are beautiful and stunning, were so busy that it actually hurt my eyes a little and I had to squint to make heads or tails of what was going on in the card. This, along with the bright colour scheme, made using them in a reading a bit on the uncomfortable side. This "standard" version corrects this problem for me. The cards are smaller and the artwork isn't blown up, so there is more of the picture to see than in the kit version.
But the big factor that clenches it for me is that the artwork is slightly darker, which also makes the foreground and background "pop out" a little, making the cards more comfortable to view and easier to appreciate the art Erik Dunne worked so hard to produce. And the artwork doesn't suffer in the slightest in these smaller cards.

My only gripe with this version is that the card stock is a little on the flimsy side and easy to get marks on, especially on the backs of the cards when shuffling them. This unfortunately happened to me, but it was nothing a biro pen couldn't fix ;)

But on the whole this is a beautiful tarot deck and has quickly become one of my favourites. It's easy to see why the Tarot Illuminati is very popular with both experienced and novice readers. The decks' gorgeous imagery and symbolism is very similar to that of the world renowned Rider-Waite deck, with the exception that the Pages and Knights are replaced with Princesses and Princes, and The Magician is replaced with The Alchemist. But these differences are only small in the grand scheme of things.

The Minor Arcana's suits feature people from different cultures/time periods. Wands are Persian, Cups have a European/Fantasy feel to them, Swords are Elizabethan English and Pentacles have an Oriental setting. This diversity is a pleasant change to see when compared to most other tarot sets, and adds a certain charm to the Minors.

In conclusion, Tarot Illuminati is a beautiful deck and if you've been considering purchasing it, you won't be disappointed. But I would first compare both the kit and standard versions of the cards online to see if you would be comfortable with the brighter art of the kit version, as it is a lovely set to buy :)
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on 1 November 2013
I was VERY disappointed with this product. Online adverting of this product says they have beautiful golden edges and the images are supposed to be borderless. However these cards do not have the golden edges that I think is the main feature that sets these cards apart from others decks. Further, these cards have a black border and the images are thus smaller than online advertising. The card stock is also poorer, contrary to online reviews which suggest that the quality of card is excellent. It is clear that 2 copies of this deck have been manufactured. BE careful - if you want the higher quality version - these are not them!
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on 28 December 2014
Can't say too much about these cards as it was a gift to my mother who is a tarot reader. She wanted it for a year already until she got it. It is truly beautiful tarot deck. The cards are piece of art, the colors are so vibrant. There are so much details on every single one of them.
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on 14 November 2013
I love this tarot deck the cards are so vibrant and the characters come to life . They are very intriguing and easy to read.
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on 28 October 2013
Loving this pack it is beautiful . I just wish a the full e-book had been publishes in paper and then it would be perfect
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on 7 October 2014
The artwork is stunning- a gorgeous back-lit/stained glass collage style. So much detail and symbolism. I especially like the individual faces on all the people, the richness of the fabrics and the vivid landscapes behind them. BUT be warned- the cards are off-gassing a very toxic smell. I have no idea what ink they used but I've had to put the deck out in the shed for a week so I don't have to breathe in whatever chemicals they used. As other people said, the card stock is rather thin. The mini-booklet is in English for the first 12 pages, then these pages are translated into Italian, Spanish, French, German and Portuguese.
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on 5 June 2015
Gutted. Unsure if these are fake.
All online reviews state and suggest that they are lovely quality with beautiful gold edges setting these aside from the rest with clear high definition images whether it was the full edition or not. When these arrived in a cheap playing card type packet with spanish writing i was awesomely gutted. Opened the pack no gold edges, terrible quality, paper thin cards that frey with each shuffle, images do not fill the card leaving an ugly black margin framed around the outside. A far cry from those advertised by other users. Extremely Dissapointed'
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on 13 April 2014
my sister adores the cards, each card is vibrant and colour with so much meaning illustrated beautifully. i highly recommend these cards to all artist lovers be you tarot reader or not.
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on 12 June 2015
Very pleased with this deck to add to my ever growing collection.
Unique design, great artwork, vivid colours, easy to use.
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