One World Tarot by Crystal Love and Michael Hobbs
Review by Kim Huggens
The One World Tarot by Crystal Love and Michael Hobbs is a Tarot deck based around astrological and numerological correspondences. Each Major Arcana card is attached to a planet of zodiac sign, and each Minor Arcana card, other than the Aces and Courts, are represented by a pictorial numerological correspondence, and the astrological correspondence. For instance, each Two from the Minors bears the Yin-Yang symbol as a representation of the balance which the number Two holds in numerology, as well as a zodiac symbol and planetary symbol. On the Two of Batons, this is Aries-Mars.
At first this seems like a very original and ingenious way of approaching the Minor Arcana, but in reality it fails dismally. Every single Minor Arcana of the same number bears exactly the same image on it, only with the different symbols of the suits (Leaves, Bubbles, Starfish, Suns) around it. For instance, every single Three card is the same: a triangle with three leaves, bubbles, starfish, or suns at each point. The only other change between the Minors is the suit colors: Red for Batons/Fire, Orange for Coins/Earth, Blue for Swords/Air, and Green for Cups/Water. The strangest thing is that there is not a single sword, cup, coin, or baton anywhere in sight in this deck, with bubbles, starfish, leaves, and suns replacing them, which takes it down a notch in the estimation of those who prefer a more traditional deck.
The Court Cards are even more disappointing: They are simply disembodied faces radiating beams of light, and colored the same as the suit's color. Each King's face is exactly the same, as are the faces of each Queen, Prince, and Princess. There is no other symbolism anywhere on the Court Cards, which to me is bordering on criminal! Out of all the cards in the Tarot deck, the Courts are the most difficult to read, and every bit of symbolism helps, as does having a King of Batons looking different than the King of Coins! There is absolutely no meaning conveyed by any of the Court Cards apart from the possible, 'I see a disembodied head in the very near future', and the user of this deck is expected to memorize their meanings and try to recall them without any pictorial aid whatsoever. In the nine years I have been studying and using Tarot, I have realized that Tarot should not be this difficult and complex!
You would expect, however, the Major Arcana to have a little more symbolism and meaning conveyed by the pictures, but this is not the case, and I have the same criticisms of these cards as I do the Minors. The simple pictures on the cards mean virtually nothing to me and to the others I know who have tried to use this deck. They leave the reader with the horrible task of trying to memorize the meanings and recall them with virtually no aid. Some of the most complex Majors are represented by absolutely meaningless symbols: The Moon is represented by...a moon. The World is represented by...the world as seen from space. And the Sun is represented by (you guessed it!)...a sun! Personally, I find these cards very unimaginative and impossible to read. Some of the other Majors are a little more original, but are also stupidly cryptic: The Empress is a pyramid under the sun, flanked by two palm trees. The Emperor is the same pyramid, under the same sun, with a yin-yang inside it. It seems as though the creators of this deck are relying on the astrological symbols in the top left hand corner of each card to get across meaning, but it just doesn't work.
The only good things about this deck are the easy-to-manage card size, and the rather attractive backs. Overall, this is a boring, unimaginative deck which is far too difficult to use. I wouldn't recommend it to anybody.
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.