Review by Kim Huggens
I have been an avid user of the Robin Wood Tarot deck for nearly four years now, and the deck never fails to delight my querents with its sumptuous colours, superb illustration, and most importantly each card’s depth of meaning. It is also a deck I heartily recommend when people ask me for suggestions, and a deck that I believe can be used by most people very effectively.
Imagine my joy then, my delight, when I heard through a fellow Tarot enthusiast that there was such a thing as the Robin Wood Meditation Tarot deck! It was as if some unknown secret treasure had been revealed to me. “You colour it in yourself,” he said.
Immediately the colouring-book-loving child within me started tugging at my skirt with small, sticky hands. How could I not get this deck? So I hurriedly nipped over to Robin Wood’s website and ordered the deck.
Robin Wood has picked up on the Builders of the Adytum (BOTA) idea of colouring in an uncoloured yet illustrated Tarot deck, as a way to aid one’s personal understanding of the cards. Using this method, the ‘Taroteur’ not only gets to create their own, personalised deck, but they also gain insight into each card and its meaning whilst colouring, usually noticing symbols in the cards that they wouldn’t have picked up on otherwise. Robin Wood encourages the Taroteur to:
“concentrate on its meaning (the card you are colouring), and how it might manifest in your life.”
She also advises that the Taroteur keep a notebook where they write down the colours they used and their reasons, and the insights they gained whilst doing so. In my opinion, it is a wonderful way to gain insight into the cards, and a lot of fun to boot!
The Robin Wood Meditation Tarot itself is an uncoloured, line drawing version of the original Robin Wood deck published by Llewellyn. Simply imagine the Robin Wood deck before Robin had coloured it, and that is what we have here. The 78 cards are the same size, and have the same illustrations, but without colour. The only difference is the backs: the original deck has a green and white Celtic knotwork panel design that a lot of the users of this deck were a little disappointed by. The Meditation deck however proudly wears the back that Robin originally wanted but which was rejected by the publishing company. It is a very elegant Celtic spiral affair that in my opinion suits the deck a lot better.
The deck comes to you in uncut sheets, four cards to each sheet, and has two extra cards: one giving a few words of advice about using the deck, and a blank card that Robin says:
“may be used as the ‘Unknown’, as a ‘Stopper’ (Stop reading and do something!), or to design your own card.”
Printed on paper is the Little White Book that you also need to cut out and assemble yourself, called ‘The Robin Wood Tarot Mini-Guide.’ It is smaller and less detailed than the Little White Book that comes with the original deck.
The only concern I have with this deck is the quality of card stock. The cards are printed on very thin cardboard, which would make them very difficult to shuffle if you wanted to do a reading with them. You can also see through the card quite easily, which may prove a little distracting. (Although if you hold the cards up to the light they look as though they have very beautiful and mystical tattoos. It creates a wonderful effect!)
On the whole, this deck is brilliant. It provides an excellent way to explore the cards creatively and is certainly an interesting addition to any enthusiast’s deck collection. I would go so far as to say that for those who wish to go down the BOTA-colour-you-own path, it would be better to leave the BOTA deck well alone and get this one instead. Its beauty and Robin Wood’s skill at illustration are unparalleled, and placing this deck alongside the BOTA, I just can’t help but feel some sort of pity for the BOTA deck.
Gorgeous, beautiful, fun, expressive, evocative… The Robin Wood Meditation Tarot is all these things and more, even without the colour!
You can order the Robin Wood Meditation Tarot deck and see some images from it here.
Kim Huggens is an 18 year old Pagan, studying for a Philosophy degree at Cardiff University. She has been studying Tarot heavily since the age of 9, and currently lives with her wonderful boyfriend, Simon, in Cardiff. She also enjoys writing and collecting Tarot decks, and currently has around 110 in her collection.
Review © 2003 Kim Huggens
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes