Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot (Deck and Book)

Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite Book Cover Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite
Avia Venefica
New Age/Divination/Tarot
U.S. Games Systems, INC.
September 28th 2015
Deck and book kit

This deck/book set provides everything you need to understand tarot. The full-size deck is a vibrantly recolored version of the classic Rider-Waite deck, updated with subtle shading that gives depth to the familiar tarot scenes. The 272-page, user-friendly handbook with full-color illustrations is perfect for beginners as well as experienced readers who want to refresh their tarot skills.

U. S. Games Systems, INC.

U. S. Games Systems is one of the main publishers of Tarot decks, New Age oracle cards and books. You can’t go into the New Age section of your bookstore and not see U.S. Games’ products staring back at you. And, hey, when it catches your eye, you better believe that you ought to get that now. I have yet to be disappointed in one of their oracle decks. (I also reviewed Under the Roses Lenormand and The Halloween Tarot by them earlier.)

U.S. Games Systems, INC. sent me the book and deck set of The Radiant Rider-Waite tarot. Early on in my practice of reading tarot and, eventually, reviewing, I revised to get The Rider Waite Tarot deck. I insisted on using my Steampunk Tarot deck as I struggled through Review book after review book and I learned next to nothing about reading tarot.

The rider Waite was, to my naïve and untrained eye, too ”boring.” Why look at basic pictures of normal, everyday characters even I could be studying the Gods of the Machine instead?

I have that answer now:

because to learn how to do something well, you have to learn from the best. And, for that matter, the more I look at the RW cards the more I see in the picture that I may have missed before. 

The bulk of this review will center around the book that came with this kit because I’ve already posted a (sub-par) review of the deck. However, there is a major difference between the original deck and the radiant riser Waite deck: this deck is much more, well, Radiant. The intensified colors bring out the beauty in a basic, but powerful, Tarot deck. While there illustrations stay true to form, the quality of the illustrations is superb. 

Along came the book…

The first thing I noticed when I took the book out of the kit in which it rests, was that it was heavy. Heavier than most books, or, a comparison would be The Darkest Minds. It’s heavy in the way that The Wonderbook is. When I opened it I understood why. Every page is in radiant, high color glossy paper that makes the pictures of the cards and the subsections within the book stand out. 

Another part about the book that I noticed early on was that the subsections under each card is colored. There are graphs and highlights, side notes that shine and quotes that line the bottom of the page to give the reader a deeper understanding. The quote at the bottom of each of the cards’ pages reminded me of my Angel cards; little snippets that give you a direct insight into the Angel that is speaking to you.

The book is divided into three sections. The first is The Beginning. In The Beginning, the author explores everything from intuition and it’s role in reading the Tarot to a “glossary of Tarot-Related Terms.” Then as per usual, the book delved into the major arcana, then the minor arcana (or, “pip” cards), ending in a series of “spreads for specific questions.”

The spreads section gives the layout and explains in great detail how that spread works, what the answers will represent, and instructions for setting up the spread. Then, following the spread in great detail, the book gives a sample spread with specific cards randomly drawn. In that sample spread, the author walks you through each card and what they represent and includes sample readings of each spread, card-by-card. At the end of the sample question, it provides more ways to, for example, forecast the querents finances. In the forecast, one of the ways to read your cards is during a specific phase of the moon or, for instance, using a single card.

Get this kit…

If you’re a beginner to the Tarot and even if you’re an experienced reader. This is an absolute and essential tool for learning to read the Rider-Waite card. From quick readings for popular questions to instructions for reading and using spreads, Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite delves into the most detail of any of my Tarot books.

Exploring Tarot is now my staple Tarot book and so, too, is the Radiant Rider-Wait deck. As I said before, to learn the Tarot it’s essential that you learn from an expert (i.e. this book) is one of them, with the cards being the greatest tool of them all. As much as I love specialty decks, I now know that the Radiant Rider-Waite is the best source of Tarot knowledge I’ve come across in my years of reading Tarot books and studying the decks.

For the beginners, get this kit. For the experienced, this is a wonderful source of information that you may have overlooked in your years of reading. I’ve found that re-reading and exploring the basics made me a better reader.

Thank you U.S. Games Systems, INC. for this wonderful opportunity to review this kit for you. Much appreciated and I look forward to working with you in the future.

Oceanic Tarot Deck – A Beginner Friendly Deck

Oceanic Tarot Book Cover Oceanic Tarot
Jayne Wallace
Cico Books
Card deck
Publisher (Cico Books)

Explore the past, present, and future with Oceanic Tarot.

Discover the ancient art of tarot with this beautiful ocean-themed set of 78 cards and an accompanying book, stunningly illustrated by Jane Delaford-Taylor. The traditional major and minor arcana are translated into a magical world of mermen, mermaids, and sea creatures. The book reveals the interpretations for each card, as well as explaining how to lay the cards out for different types of reading, so you will easily learn how to draw out meaning from the past, gain insight into the present, and predict the future.

Uh, because, mermaids. Duh.

I was given the Oceanic Tarot deck to review from Cico books and, therefore, *squeee*. The Oceanic Tarot deck is how it sounds: ocean themed. The author scuba dives and their work reflects their love for the ocean. It’s no surprise that this is the theme of the deck. Her love for the ocean shines through the cards.

The deck comes in a very sturdy box, made to be proudly displayed. The box opens from the side, a cute feature that I haven’t come across yet. I still can’t get over how cool the box is. It now lives beside my Beautiful Creatures deck.

Let’s talk about the book

The booklet that comes with the Oceanic Tarot deck is more than a LWB (little white booklet). It’s just as much a work of art as the deck is. A female mermaid reaching up to the sky is displayed on the matte cover: “Oceanic Tarot: Discover the Secrets and Wisdom of the Sea.” The Oceanic Tarot LWB is in full color and the size of a small, square book.

Each card, the author explains, has both an “easy meaning” and a “quick advice.” Those two features make the deck ideal for a beginner and a one-card drawing. Practical tips are included, covering imprinting your energy to reading the cards.

How one begins to read the cards follows in the next section. That part of the book goes step-by-step to guide the beginner through the cards. For instance, the Oceanic Tarot book suggests that you start by setting your intention, and addresses the idea that no one else is to touch your cards. Following that, the author outlines some simple spreads, and then spreads that are more complicated. I, personally, won’t be at the point where I can do those anytime soon.

How the book makes reading so simple

The LWB follows other decks in the sense that it gives the basics generally in the same order as others. However, the author adds not only the basic introduction for Tarot, but also suggestions on how to read the cards. You’ll find in the next section that there is a basic something or other that the author includes in the cards.

For the ease of the reader, the author lays out the Oceanic symbols for each suit in a chart. She also goes on to give a one word key term from Ace through Ten by the numbers. I found this incredibly beneficial for the beginner because it’s a guide through the cards that still allows your intuition to prosper through the reading.  Another feature of the Oceanic Tarot in the LWB for the minor arcana is that there are meanings for “you” cards. Those cards are the o=positions of a spread that reveal you and your current situation.

The Oceanic Tarot cards

The cards are meant to stimulate your intuition. I’ve heard that the proper way to read Tarot is by using your intuition rather than memorizing the meanings. I appreciate the simplicity of the cards. The Oceanic Tarot deck, much like the Under the Roses Lenormand deck, has little else going on in the background of the major arcana. I mention only the major Arcana because the minor arcana are simply the number of the suit with a generic background.

The Oceanic Tarot deck’s Minor Arcana at first disappointed me. I wanted to see more artwork than what it was giving me but I quickly learned that the lack of unique pictures didn’t detract from the cards. At the bottom of every card, both major arcana and minor arcana, have a keyword. I absolutely love that. For instance, the King of Cups’ keyword is “understanding.” The book goes on to say that the King can be distant sometimes. By the look on his face I could tell that he was out of focus, transfixed by some thought he had.

The illustrations of the cards is simple water-works, unlike the Tarot of the Night or Tarot Gothica. This is simple and doesn’t try to make the pictures seem realistic. The artist embraces what she’s good at and it works well with the cards. In fact, I don’t think more “realistic” (for lack of a better word) illustrations would look as good as this. Whereas Tarot Gothica looks like a picture taken on a camera, the Oceanic Tarot doesn’t try to pretend to be something it’s not.


The Crystal Healer – Crystal Magic-

The Crystal Healer: Crystal Prescriptions that Will Change Your Life Forever Book Cover The Crystal Healer: Crystal Prescriptions that Will Change Your Life Forever
Philip Permutt
New Age
Cico Books
2007, 2016
Physical paperback
Publisher (Cico Books)

Crystal therapy has long been used as a gentle system of holistic healing. By drawing on the unique qualities of crystals such as quartz and amethyst, you can balance the energy fields around your body, home and office to bring well-being, and gain health benefits. Crystals can help soothe emotional problems such as anxiety, mood swings, or shyness, as well as physical symptoms such as migraines and allergies. In addition, crystals can act as natural energy boosters and aid in detoxifying our systems. With crystal remedies for more than 250 common ailments and a directory of 250 crystals, as well as detailed explanations of the most effective healing methods, this book is the ultimate guide to healing with crystals. Illustrated with color photographs, and supplemented with practical exercises and case studies, The Crystal Healer is the ultimate practical reference from a highly respected healer and teacher.

Let’s start healing!

I have many, many books on crystals. Some of them are simply books on the different types of crystals and their healing properties, that only brush on different ways to use them. Others, however, like The Crystal Healer by Philip Permutt go into extensive detail on how to use those crystals to heal different ailments. Many people say that crystals emit vibrations that can affect the human body in positive ways. However, something that I admired greatly is that The Crystal Healer admits that science has not proven the assertions many people make. That being said, it’s my belief that crystals can have healing properties and so, too, does the author.

How the book is set up

The first section prepares you for crystal work. The next section guides you through using them. Then, partway through the book the different types of crystals are presented with their healing properties. The different crystals are organized by color, starting with Quartz because of how easy it is to obtain and how many different uses it has. I was thrilled at how “The Crystal Finder” was organized because it helped me identify the many crystals that I have. Other crystals books simply organize the different rocks by their most commonly known names, which makes it incredibly difficult to find the crystal I’m looking for.

There isn’t just one way to work with crystals

The Crystal Healer provides a blueprint for different ways of working with the crystals. One I was very excited to come across was working with the crystals and your Chakras. It’s something I have yet to do, because I’ve been waiting to use them with another person. The book, however, said that instead of placing the crystals on your body, it’s possible to put the crystals around your body and experience the same healing vibrations as if they were laying on your body.

All the crystal books I’ve read so far touch on the idea of making crystal elixir. While I haven’t had a strong inclination to do so, I’m considering making them for myself. I was glad to see that Philip Permutt gives you less invasive ways to make the crystal-charged water. For instance, he says that instead of placing the crystal directly into the water you intend to charge with your crystal, you can put it in a container holding the crystal inside of the water which you will be drinking.

It kept going!

I was pleased to find that The Crystal Healer didn’t end with the Crystal finder. Rather, it ended with a chapter providing more crystal remedies for the reader to try. Philip Permutt suggests crystals for various ailments of both the body and the mind, and offers different ways to work with the crystals. For instance, if you’re trying to combat the mental and emotional symptoms associated with aging, you could place rose quartz crystals into a normal bath.

Who would this book suit?

The Crystal Healer is a book that goes more in depth than simply naming the crystals and their various uses. Philip Permutt’s book on crystals gives you instructions on how to use the crystals and helps you build a connection with them. This is an excellent book for a beginner and a step-by-step guide on different ways to work with your crystals. Although this is not the first book I’ve read on crystals, and I feel rather confident that I know how to use them, I will be referring back to The Crystal Healer throughout my life.

Under the Roses Lenormand

Under the Roses Lenormand Book Cover Under the Roses Lenormand
Divination deck
Kendra Hurteau and Katrina Hill
U.S. Games Systems
April 18th 2014
Deck of cards
39 cards (alternative multiples for three traditional cards)
U.S. Games Systems for review


I’ve wanted this deck since like ever

Under the Roses Lenormand deck was the first one I found as soon as I started looking for Lenormand decks. I’m relatively new to Lenormand but I’m catching on quickly. U.S. Games System sent me this deck for review and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get Under the Roses Lenormand. I just couldn’t wait. While I impatiently and obsessively checked the mail for this deck, I procured my first deck, Maybe Lenormand. I couldn’t wait for Under the Roses because as soon as I learned about Lenormand, I ordered The Essential Lenormand: Your Guide to Precise and Practical Fortunetelling. I absolutely had to get started ASAP, just like this review. Let’s get the ball rollin’ so I can tell you all about Under the Roses.

Why this deck rocks

There are many reasons I like this deck, but there’s one that trumps all the others: there are keywords written in cursive in the backdrop of the art. The keywords are so light that they’re almost unnoticeable, but once you see them, it’s easy to read. I found that this was actually a nearly perfect starter deck. When I first started doing Lenormand I was told to get an easy deck. I chose Under the Roses Lenormand because it was beautiful. I didn’t regard the advice my coworker gave me when she told me about Lenormand but, once I received the deck from U.S. Games System I was pleased to discover that I made the best decision for learning my craft. I did a sample spread with Under the Roses and I was able to pick the keywords that fit that drawing that I wanted to use with those cards in the future with the aid of the faint letters in the background of the card.

What makes Under the Roses Lenormand worthy of praise:

Maybe Lenormand has a small cutout of the playing card that is associated with the Lenormand card. Under the Roses Lenormand also has the number corresponding to the playing card but a smaller cutout with simply the suit noted by the number. These cards are significantly smaller than Tarot cards, though not much smaller than the Halloween Tarot. As I noted in my review of The Halloween Tarot, however, those Tarot cards are unusually small.

Color concentration: red and green

Under the Roses is printed on thick card stock of high quality (think the opposite of Tarot Gothica) and, though the theme is rather dark, the colors of the rose are very vibrant. That being said, even the darker colors that are common with this deck are vibrant. A reoccurring color is, obviously red, but also green. The whip, for instance, depicts a woman with red hair and a green bodice. Aside from the colors that are necessary to depict those of all races, you’ll find that there are no other colors besides parchment, green, and red.

Three cards have alter-egos of a sort: the child, the lady, and the gentleman. Each of those cards either depict a person of color or a white person.  I am pleased at the diversity. In YA fiction you’ll find that there isn’t much diversity in race so I was happy to find that this deck was inclusive. None of the other decks I own, of both Tarot and Lenormand, have anyone other than white people. I hope that this deck feels more inclusive to people of any race. As a white person, I can’t comment on the effect the diversity of people of color in these cards. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Under the Roses Lenormand comes in a small, card stock box of paper that isn’t as sturdy as the cards themselves. But that doesn’t detract from the quality of this deck. Because I’ve had these cards with me at all times since I got them in the mail, the box is a mess. However, the box doesn’t matter as long as it protects the cards from the damage that my purse and book bag. It holds up well enough to shelter the cards.

My pleasure

It was my pleasure reviewing this deck for U.S. Games System. Under the Roses Lenormand is an absolutely beautiful deck of Lenormand cards but that’s not the only reason to get this deck. The keywords subtly printed within the card makes this deck perfect for beginners while the color themes and the well-drawn figures of the traditional Lenormand cards make this deck a pleasure to read.

The Halloween Tarot Book and Deck

The Halloween Tarot
Karin Lee
New Age
U.S. Games Systems
1996, 2006
U.S. Games Systems for review

Black cats, ghosts, and jack o'lanterns offer enchantment and light-hearted perspectives in this lively Halloween Tarot Book.

The Halloween Tarot deck comes in a tin with a companion book sold separately.

The Halloween Tarot deck comes in a tin with a companion book sold separately.

U.S. Cards Games System sent me the Halloween Tarot deck and companion book …

for review. I love absolutely love Halloween! My goal was to post The Halloween Tarot before the spooky holiday. However, the Halloween Tarot doesn’t have to be restricted to Halloween.  A few days later I started reading The Easiest Way to the Learn Tarot-Ever!! and I was stunned. In The Easiest Way to Learn Tarot Ever!!, the author suggests that, as a starter deck, you use a Rider-Waite deck and/or the Halloween Tarot created by Kipling West. I was surprised because the deck appears to be a novelty deck but Dusty White, the author of The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot, held it as high esteem as the Rider-Waite decks. (I also received the deck and book set of Exploring Tarot Using Radiant Rider-Waite.)

 As soon as I saw the Halloween deck mentioned in that book, as a semi-equal deck to the Rider-Waite, I realized the treasure I now owned. I have two of the few decks that The Easiest Way to Learn Tarot-Ever!! suggests that a Tarot user buy and I’m honored that U.S. Games System, Inc. was kind enough to add these two to my collection. 

The Halloween Tarot was created by…

Kipling West, whose favorite holiday is Halloween (I wasn’t too surprised by that revelation). There is a book that is a companion to this Tarot deck that is sold separately, but I do have it for review in this post as well. The deck comes with the traditional little white book, but it doesn’t go as far in depth as the Halloween Tarot book does. I’ve gone over my first reactions to the Halloween Tarot deck in theory but as soon as I opened the tin the cards came in, I was caught in lust.

This deck compared to Lenormand…

The cards are only slightly larger than the Maybe Lenormand and Under the Roses Lenormand that I own. While I love the large, weighty Tarot cards that are so common in most of the decks that are produced, this meant that The Halloween Tarot deck fits comfortably and significantly less weightier in my purse. Because I’m able to tote these cards around comfortably in whatever book bag I’m using that day, I had more opportunities to use these cards. In fact, this is most likely going to be my go-to Tarot deck when I’m away from my desk.

In The Halloween Tarot companion book it goes into further depth about the possible meanings of the cards but it let’s you come up with how they relate to the specific situation.

Let’s look at the cards…

They are printed on sturdy paper that won’t be easily damaged (especially considering that the cards came in a brightly colored tin). The graphics are well printed, you can’t see the many dots that litter the page to create the drawings that are so creative and dark. And, for that matter, when I say “dark” I literally mean that these cards are dark. Each card depicts a creature–usually a humanoid–with a black background that has several stars and, always, a black cat.

The black cat:

The black cat is explained in The Halloween Tarot as a touchstone, a companion that will lead you along through the Tarot. The book also goes on to say that “Sometimes he reflects the meaning of  the card, but sometimes he’s just a casual observer.”

The cat in the Halloween Tarot deck is displayed in every single one of the cards. I noticed something about the cat. It was always looking at the main player in the deck, which drew my eyes to the most important figure that I should be paying attention to. In that respect, it was like a shortcut in my reading. If I was stuck, as it occasionally happens, I was able to follow the cats gaze to see what I should be looking at. There is one card that drew my attention: the Two of Imps, the equivalent of the Two of Wands in the traditional decks. The cat in the Two of Imps was looking at the massive figure holding the two Imps. My eyes were drawn to the two figures fighting but the cat was looking at the main dish. When I looked at the figure I felt the commanding presence and saw that it was in a position of power where it could resolve conflict.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the review, I was also sent the companion book.

This book provides a background of Halloween and the authors special connection to it. Then, the author informs the reader how the tradition of Halloween developed through time and how the Tarot came to be connected to Halloween. I found out, through the Halloween book, that the tradition of Halloween began with the Celts and warped through decades to create the modern Halloween. While the Halloween book is longer than the LWB (little white book) gives you plenty of information, that information is expressed through three or so sentences about what the card could mean.

The Halloween Tarot book goes into incredible depth and explores the art of the card, the possible meanings, and the “divinatory meanings.” I was quite pleased with the latter, in that it helped the reader come out of a bind if their intuition isn’t all that up to par in the moment.

A typical reading leads you through chapter 3 of The Halloween Tarot, presenting an example routine to follow when reading. It’s as specific as telling you to unwrap your tarot from “its silk or cotton cloth (keeping it unscathed by outside influences) and gives you the deck to shuffle so that your essence will somehow rub off on the cards” (pg 21). This is something that is not often addressed and I was pleased to find that The Halloween Tarot companion book goes into such detail. While it does suggest specific things to do while reading/how to read, it doesn’t limit you to that.

As is true with every Tarot book I’ve read (and, trust me, I’ve read a lot) the book offers a few different card spreads to get you started. The rest of the book is sorted into the Major Arcana and their meanings and then it goes through the four suites, aptly named “Imps”, “Pumpkins”, “Ghosts” and “Bats” to match the theme of the deck. The book dedicates a whole page to introducing each of the suits as you read and practice.

Then, at the end of the book, are several pages for “notes” though it was much too few for me. (I opted to take notes in my Tarot journal.) I found that the section “More books about Halloween and Tarot” was very clever, addressing both children and adults.

Who would like this deck and/or companion book?

  • Those looking for a unique deck
  • a smaller deck
  • a deck that’s easy to tote around
  • a book that delves into the history of this great craft
  • someone who is looking for a brief history of Tarot and Halloween
  • those looking to understand the Tarot in regards to this spooky holiday
You can see my review cross-posted on my spirituality blog where I review mostly divination books and decks.

Page-to-Page Tarot Art: Lowbrow Tarot

Lowbrow Tarot: An Artistic Collaborative Effort in Honor of Tarot Book Cover Lowbrow Tarot: An Artistic Collaborative Effort in Honor of Tarot
Aunia Kahn, Russell J. Moon
New Age
October 1st, 2012
Schiffer Publishing

A mixture of Tarot books and Tarot decks to create beauty

Never reviewed a Tarot art book before. I’ve got this snitch (er, I’ve got this Lowbrow Tarot book).

I’m not going to lie, I thought I was getting a deck.  Tarot Gothica, Tarot of the Night, and Lowbrow Tarot package surprised me when I opened it. The Lowbrow Tarot book is, well, a book, and I didn’t expect that. The whole purpose of my new blog was to review Tarot decks and Tarot books. It only took me a few moments, once I opened the book, to realize that the Lowbrow Tarot is a beautiful mixture of the two.

There are many ways to read the Lowbrow Tarot…

I read it mainly for the pictures, not so much the backstory from each author but I did find many of them memorable. On the right margin the author offers an interpretation of the card they drew and a bit about themselves. At first I was interested in the pictures more than the interpretations. I quickly found that I was able to understand the cards more if I payed attention to both the artist and their creation. Reading the author’s note on their card took away some of my freedom of interpretation.  I found, though, that there are many ways to read–and use–this book.

The creativity of the authors’ cards were astounding, even if I didn’t love them all. Most of them made me wish that these authors would create their own deck out of the card they displayed.

Female nudity is a common element in many of many Tarot decks.  Did that bother me? Not at all. A beautiful naked woman is something to be celebrated. The Lowbrow Tarot book explored female nudity when it was present.

How I interacted with the Lowbrow Tarot art book…

I found a way to interact with the cards from the book. I like to draw a card and sleep with it under my pillow. So I flipped to a random page and studied the card and kept it in mind for the following day.  Tarot for Life (my go-to Tarot book) gave me some insight and I cross-referenced that with what the artist of the card had to say on the matter. I made my own conclusion once I read the artist’s work and the Tarot book.

This was a happy surprise, though I would prefer to stick to decks and instructional Tarot books. The Lowbrow Tarot book made me realize how darn beautiful each Tarot card can be. Each card had so much thought and meaning put into it.  It’s my job to read a card both by looking at it, knowing some of what it stands for, and using my intuition. I love it when a card speaks to me without me struggling to understand it. While not all of these cards did that, many, many did and that’s what makes me confident to say that this book was beautiful.

Thank you Schiffer for giving me this amazing book and two other interesting decks. I hope to continue to review for you in the future. I’m so happy you let me review for you.

Tarot Gothica the Flimsiest of Flimsy Tarot Cards


Tarot Gothica (bet ya couldn’t tell that by looking at the cover)

What I liked about the Tarot Gothica:

  • Beautiful graphics
  • Life-like pictures that make it feel “real”
  • Clear, concise meanings in the booklet w/ an additional two sentences exploring the meaning of the individual cards

What I didn’t like about the Tarot Gothica:

  • Cheap paper
  • Large pixels
  • Not durable–will most likely be damaged in, say, a purse

Tarot Gothica’s paper quality is that bad?

When I first peeled away the Tarot Gothica booklet that is common with Tarot decks I was thrilled. The graphics were vibrant and real but, unfortunately, as soon as I (gracefully) tipped  the deck into my hand I was disappointed. The paper was thin, so thin that it almost immediately ruined the deck for me. Tarot is many things: an art form, it’s a form of divination and a tool to explore your life and answer the questions you struggle with. If you’re going to invest $25 into a Tarot deck you should be getting quality cards that won’t bend if you dhold them wrong.

Let’s take a look at the graphics

I’m big into graphics. Tarot of the Night had subpar graphics but was on excellent, thick paper, well-deserving of the craft. It was this that compelled me to give a rather positive review, even though the graphics were Sims 3-styled. Tarot Gothica isn’t going to hold up for frequent use, the way Tarot decks are meant to be used and used again. In my case, that has the potential to be a problem. I like to carry my decks with me in a muslin bag to make the deck as light and portable as possible. This decks just won’t hold up in my purse unless it’s in the sturdy box it comes in; my purse is heavy as-is without a full Tarot deck in a heavy box.

That’s not all, you see

There was another huge problem with this deck: the pixels. Tarot Gothica is incredibly pixelated. I was viewing the Tarot Gothica as if it were on an old-fashioned TV screen. However, because of the poor quality of the paper on which they were printed, this deck is the least heavy deck I own, which is could be a positive aspect. The characters on the cards are the main feature of this deck, not the environment around them. Some decks, like the Housewives Tarot Deck for instance, have backgrounds that are intricate and are part of the story that the decks tell; it is not so with the Tarot Gothica. The humans depicted on the card are the main story, though there are various degrees of how intense the backgrounds are.

For instance, the 9 of Swords depicts a woman in a gothic/Western dress that is holding her severed head above her neck. The background is incredibly simplistic and has nothing but a door at first glance. If you were to look at the background in more detail, there is a grim reaper hiding in the background. The first few times I explored this card I didn’t see it and when I wasn’t aware of it, it was still plenty true to the 9 of Swords. As the booklet says, “Horror,” which describes the card with or without the knowledge that the Grim Reaper hides in the far right corner.

Here’s the deal

The deck reads well but the quality of the deck, even though the pictures are amazing, detract from the experience of using them, though not necessarily of owning them. The box itself is quite beautiful, the quality is significantly better than the cards themselves. The graphics on the box are significantly better though more simplistic than the cards themselves.

The Tarot Gothica deck may be for you if…

You don’t intend on using them on a regular basis, or if you don’t plan on carting them around in anything other than the box in which they came. The Tarot Gothica is a great addition to a collection, for those of us who can’t get enough of artsy Tarot, and the cheap paper and large pixellation should not necessarily be a deterrent to these cards.

Thank you Schiffer Publishing for sending me this deck. Reviewing it was my pleasure and I hope to continue to review for you in the near and distant future.