adam.jpg (17176 bytes)The Tarot by Adam Fronteras 
Review by Michele Jackson                 

If you would like to purchase this deck/book set, click here.       

This deck/book set has recently appeared on US bookstore shelves. The box states that it is: "The Traditional Tarot Reinterpreted for the Modern Wold - Contains book and New Rider Waite Tarot Cards". We will start with the deck. This deck is Pamela Colman Smith's work redrawn on a beige background card stock and poorly (in some cases, hideously) colored. I don't know if the resultant mess is the result of trying to save money in the print costs, or just the result of a poor color sense, but in any event, the color symbolism of the original has been obliterated. All of the cards have a beige background. Gone is the yellow background of The Fool, the blue-green background of the Hermit and sky-blue background of The Star. All replaced by dull beige. The white Sun of the Fool is now pea-green, as are the pomegranates in the High Priestess, the beard of the Emperor and the sash on The Sun. Skin colors include dark-brown, lavender, yellow, green, white, and bright yellow. I could go on complaining about the colors, but by now you get the idea. The cards are smaller than the standard US Games version, measuring 2 3/8" X 4 3/8". To sum it up, the deck is a poor imitation of the original, with nothing to recommend it.

The Book

Fronteras starts with a good history of Tarot, taking us from early playing cards, through the "occult revival" and into the present. Short sections on archetypes and psychic abilities come next, followed by information on choosing a deck and caring for it once it is purchased. The Major Arcana section provides some background information on each card, followed by upright and reversed interpretations. Nothing much new here. Fronteras sticks pretty much with the traditional interpretations. The section on the Minor Arcana provides a very short description of the card, and upright and reversed interpretations. Again, there are no surprises. Finally, some spreads are given: The Astrological, The Celtic Cross (though his layout is different from any I have previously seen), A Calendar or Year spread, a three card spread, and a Name spread. Sample readings are provided as well. The book is a competent beginner's treatment of the Tarot, but offers nothing new or earth shattering. Although the box proclaims this as a "reinterpretation for the modern world", I saw nothing to support this claim. Interestingly enough, Fronteras stresses the importance of the symbolism contained in colors, yet the deck makes a mockery of this factor. The author is advertised as the Chairmen of the British Astrological and Psychic Society. I suppose this title is supposed to convince us that he is eminently qualified to write this book. Maybe he is, but I saw little or no original information here, just a rehashing of Tarot basics. In its favor, the book is attractively laid out and illustrated.

The deck/book set is packaged in a red slip/sleeve case. The inner box opens like a book which houses the cards on one side and the book on the other. The cards are packaged in a Styrofoam insert with a well cut out, a tacky touch in an otherwise nice package. I suppose I could recommend this deck for beginners, but there are much better deck/book sets available for beginners which contain the Rider deck or one of its clones, and which do not suffer the artistic butchering this deck has been subjected to. I would recommend this deck for collectors only, and frankly, it is not even a very interesting collectors piece.

If you would like to purchase this deck/book set, click here.       

See more cards from The Tarot: The Traditional Tarot Reinterpreted for the Modern World by Adam Fronteras

The Tarot: The Traditional Tarot Reinterpreted for the Modern World by Adam Fronteras
ISBN: 1-55670-504-2
Publisher: Stewart, Chabori and Chang Price: I forgot, but I think it was around $30.00.
Images Copyright (c) 1996 Carlton Books Limited

Excerpt

The History and Mystery of the Tarot

Fear is a common reaction to tarot cards. Why is that? Where do the cards come from and where does the history and mystery of the Tarot begin? The history of the Tarot is the history of playing cards. To read the tarot as a consultant, you do not need to know the history, but you should be interested in learning about it and passing on your knowledge, it is important for you to know the true history , rather than the misleading version perpetrated by critics. Unfortunately many books have added to the fear and misunderstanding; one really has to peel away the myths and look at the facts. The lack of an accurate history makes those that use the Tarot prey to critics and historians that link the emergence of Tarot cards to occultists, implying that because the occultist view of history is false, then the Tarot is false. However, the Tarot works not because it is an ancient Egyptian set of cards but because the images are archetypal and deeply imbedded within the images of life around us.

The Tarot: The Traditional Tarot Reinterpreted for the Modern World, pg. 8


Adam Frontera's Comments

I came across your review of my book on your internet page and thought
I would let you know some of the reasons behind the faults you found
in the package.

1) The Cards were chosen by Carlton after research, a number of
designs were actually turned down. In the end they decided to redo the
Rider - Waite, as for the colours due to copyright/licensing reasons
although they were allowed to use the line art, they had to use
different colourings. I also think they had to be radically different
from the Rider-Waite colours.

The pictures were all coloured before I saw them. Apparently they had
done quite a bit of market Research. The colours on the people were
changed adjusted for the same reason and to be a bit more politically
correct. The slightly smaller size was again market research.

With regards to the book, It was only every designed as an
introduction. In fact before the book was even half way completed I
was informed of exactly how many pages it was going to be and how many
words (they even cut 5,000 words).


Adam Fronteras


Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson