Old English Tarot                                                                                    Review by Michele Jackson

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Artist Maggie Kneen states that she got her inspiration from a love of old Tarot decks and from an illuminated manuscript called the "Lutrell Psalter."* Although she drew her inspiration from these sources, Kneen has her own style. Her images are done in muted colors. The Major Arcana are on a parchment colored background with spiral designs. The Minor Arcana are on a light blue background. The Majors are rather traditional with a large central figure or scene. Strength is VIII and Justice is XI. The court cards are similar in style, consisting of King, Queen, Knight and Knave. Kneen's Minor Arcana are somewhat different. They are primarily pips, with most of each scene depicting the suit symbol in the requisite number. At the bottom of each pip there is a small drawing depicting a scene of some type. The scenes are original and are not based on Waite-Smith or any other deck with which I am familiar. Some of the scenes are suggestive of the interpretations in the little booklet, but others are not. There seems to be some unity of theme in the suits: Cups all show people playing musical instruments; swords are warlike in many cases depicting battles with dragons, fortresses, hunting and camps; coins and wands depict agrarian life. I think the art was done more for art's sake than as illustrations to evoke the card's meaning. The overall feeling of the deck is calm and soothing.

The little booklet that comes with the deck is about par for the course. It provides a short introduction, upright and reversed interpretations for each card, and the Celtic Cross spread. The interpretations are fairly traditional, meaning Golden Dawn based or derived, and as previously mentioned, the scenes do not always support the interpretations.

I recommend this deck for those interested in medieval England, or those looking for an attractive semi-Marseilles style deck.

*See an image from the Luttrell Psalter

See more images from the Old English Tarot

If you want to purchase this deck, click here.

Old English Tarot
ISBN: 1-57281-040-8
Available from US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford CT, 06902, (800) 544-2637, Fax: (203) 353- 8431

This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson