Top critical review
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Serious about the Tarot? Avoid this set like the plague!
on 24 June 2014
Where to start?
The illustrations bear no relationship to any magical system, and the artwork varies from acceptable (The High Priestess, the Pages, the Queens, the Knight of Swords, and the Hanged Man) to simply awful. Justice looks like a teenage bimbo, the Kings seem to have wandered in from a Dungeons and Dragons role play game, Strength obviously has ambitions to be a female Conan the Barbarian, and the Lovers are planning to film a soft porn video. Many of the women have silicone enhanced breasts, and the Empress also has rubber legs. Strangely, the faces aren't bad, but they seem to have been stuck on bodies drawn by a different artist.
There are hundreds of Tarot sets available and many are drawn by amateurs with varying degrees of skill. That's acceptable as long as there is a symbolic pattern to the cards. Here there is nothing but a mixed bag of nods to a variety of directions, with no apparent understanding of even the simplest Tarot symbolism or colouring.
The Devil looks like a still from a Hammer horror film, with the single male figure securely chained. The whole point of the traditional symbolism of this card is that the chains should be loose, implying that they can be cast off. The Magician (who appears to be in pain) has no recognisable symbols at all, the Hermit looks a bit like a tramp and the Moon simply looks cross.
Unsurprisingly the accompanying booklet is the worst kind of Tarot by Numbers. A couple of sentences for the Major Arcana (upright and reversed) and not much more for the Minor (no reversals though!).
This set is useless for anyone who wants to study or meditate on the Tarot, or use it in any meaningful way. Why did I buy it? It was 50p at a boot sale. And even at that price, I don't reckon I got a bargain.