Tarot ReVISIONed by Leigh McCloskey
Review by Diane Wilkes

Leigh McCloskey has created an intricate, Majors-only black and white tarot deck, and has written a book with the same title, Tarot ReVISIONed. I am reviewing them separately because you can buy them individually and each works individually on its own, but in many ways, the book is a true companion to the deck, and a necessary one IF you wish to understand all the symbolism (and there's quite a bit of it!) in the cards.

If I have ever seen a deck more appropriate for meditation than the Tarot ReVISIONed, I can't think of what it is. The deck is oversized, so that you can see the intricately drawn symbols and written messages, but even so, you wish they were larger in order to see every bit of detail. The titles are not on the front of the cards themselves, but on the backs, along with a quotation McCloskey feels exemplifies the message of the archetype. This allows for meditation unencumbered by distracting words. However, you may want to peek on the backs to see just what card you are meditating upon, as the decidedly untradtional artwork can be confusing.  The Fool, the last card in McCloskey's numbering system, looks like The Wheel of Fortune, with its joyous celebrant toasting his good fortune as he stands at the center of a...Wheel.

The World could be Justice, with the woman in between two pillars holding a sword--and the Star (below) could easily be the World, with the central figure looking as if she were dancing as she cradles half the world in each of her hands.  At first, I thought it was just me, but when some students of mine were looking at the deck and noted the same thing, I realized that this Tarot ReVISIONing thing might have an unintended meaning, since people seem to have their own vision of each card. While I know this deck has been created with the most serious of intents, I think a fun party game would be to pass around the cards without looking at the backs and seeing which cards are "mistaken" for others. Like a Rorschach test, the potential for projection--and the psychological insights derived therefrom--is staggering.

The quotes on each card back are sometimes quite apropos and others thought-provoking, and are often more reflective of McCloskey's ReVISIONing than traditional interpretations. They are from diverse sources, ranging from Jesus to DaVinci to Walt Whitman. They are elegantly presented, but, for obvious reasons, not reversible. Still, since I don't think this is a deck for doing readings, this shouldn't be a big issue. The card stock is white matte and relatively sturdy, but not coated or laminated, so it is by no means impermeable. 

The details in the artwork demanded I scan larger images than usual for the reviews. Even though the cards are oversized, the book contains even larger versions of the images. I think the nature of the artwork is such that the larger the image is, the better for the viewer. In fact, the artist's vision (VISION?) is rather grand, and I can well imagine individual cards adorning the sides of buildings.

As I've mentioned, the book offers detailed explanations about the detailed artwork. That's a lot of detail-work! This deck is quite reasonably priced, and the book is, due to high publishing costs, quite expensive. While I think you really need the book if you are going to work with this deck in any depth, it may out of the price range for many. Collectors who don't usually read a companion book should probably save their money for another deck instead of purchasing the Tarot ReVISIONed book, but if you really love this deck, you probably will need the book, too. At $24.95 plus shipping, this deck is a real bargain if you're a fledgling tarot collector--you won't find many independently published decks of this quality at this price.

You can order the book here and peruse the author/artist's website here.

Tarot ReVISIONed by Leigh McCloskey
Olander Press Ltd.

  Yes No
78 cards   X
Reversible Backs X
Strength VIII, Justice XI X  
Color Images   X
Standard (RWS) Titles of the Major Arcana   X
Traditional (RWS) Suits (Rods/Wands, Cups/Chalices, Swords, Pentacles/Disks) N/A  
Traditional (RWS) Golden Dawn Suit-Element Attributions N/A  
Standard dimensions (approx. 4 3/4" X 2 3/4")                     X
Smaller than standard                                       X
Larger than standard (approx. 5" x 7")                          X  

You can read a review of the Tarot ReVISIONed book here.


Images 2004 Leigh McCloskey
Review and page 2004 Diane Wilkes