I just got back in town late last night, having been traveling for the past two weeks. I was pleased to find a package from Carol Herzer containing two new decks - her new Cosmo Astrotarot and a joint effort between Carol and her partner Dirk (Medicator) called the Intuitive Tarot. Although I had another deck slotted for this week, I decided to do this one instead.
This Majors-only deck was originally created by Dirk Gillabel in the late 1980s as line drawings. In 1990 artist Carol Herzer added color using acrylics. Carol likes to work with the effects of light and her color work really enhances this deck. The cards are larger than average at 3 3/4 X 5 1/8 inches. It is also available in a larger size - 5 X 7 inches. They have a thin black border and the backs are reversible. Gillabel's drawings vary in quality from fair to good. Herzer's color work is consistently excellent. She makes extensive use of pearlized colors to enhance the feeling of light. This does not come across clearly in the scans and needs to be seen in person to be appreciated. The deck has a luminous quality. Fans of her Illuminated Tarot will find that this deck takes her work with light on to the next level. The Major Arcana cards numbered zero through 18 are traditional with Justice numbered eight and Strength 11. Cards 19, 20 and 21 have been combined into one card that Gillabel calls Sun, Rebirth, Universe. Gillabel describes this card as "...one card of a Man-Woman with the Sun in the eyes." This makes the deck a 20 card deck vice the normal 22 cards. Looking through this deck one sees several familiar characters. The Emperor looks like King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone. The Hierophant reminds me of Aleister Crowley and the Beatles are on the Hanged Man. Some of my favorite cards are the Empress, who holds the world in her hands; the Lovers, who appear against a dream-like background; Death, whose simplicity appeals to me; Temperance, which is just beautifully rendered; and the Moon, whose dark coloring gives her an air of mystery.
The deck comes with a little booklet. It consists of two primary sections that discuss the cards. One is by Dirk Gillabel and the other is by Carol Herzer. I like the idea of both artists in a collaborative work giving their views on each card. These sections are followed by a brief section that discusses the creation of the deck. The deck is handmade, as are all of Herzer's decks. Herzer uses a different lamination method than most artists making handmade decks, and her decks are glossy, flexible and durable. The deck and booklet come in a cloth bag with a title card attached. I recommend this deck for collectors and for those looking for something a bit different.
You can order this deck from the artist's website or by email.