The Prediction Tarot deck
Deck review by Floris Wijers
 
 
If you like soft watercolour artwork, this is definately a deck you may
want to take a closer look at. The deck was conceived by Bernard Stringer
and painted by Peter Richardson (1985). The deck comes with the usual
flimsy 'Instruction booklet' that is authorless and provides no information
on the deck, just some traditional card interpretations and three layouts
(Horoscope, Celtic Cross and Pyramid).
 
Art
 
The pictures have a real-to-life feel to them, with costumes and settings
that are medieval and very simple. The human figures are all very well
proportioned with clear expressions on their faces. The general atmosphere
on the scenes is peaceful and harmonious.
 
The imagery on all cards is pretty basic. There are not many fringes, wich
gives the entire deck a clear feeling. Admirers of the deck often say the
scenes of the major arcana have a dream-like quality, wich makes meditating
on the scenes easy and pleasant. Others consider the deck to be too
simplistic and too 'pretty' for their taste.
 
The cards are fairly small and slimmer than usual. The back design is one
little tower on an even pale blue background. This is a disadvantage when
you're using reversed meanings; when you are shuffling and picking the
cards, you see beforehand wich cards are upright and wich ones are
reversed.
 
Major Arcana
 
The Major cards are all set in a three-fold 'wooden' frame. The upper frame
features the number of the card in old roman numbers (4 is IIII and not IV;
9 is VIIII and not IX). The middle frame shows us the scene and the bottom
frame has the name of the card in what seems to be carved-out letters. No
astrological correspondances, no hebrew letters or alchemical symbology for
this one. Justice is 8, Strength 11.
Among the scenery of the majors, this deck has a few surprises in store.
The first surprise is the picture of The Fool. It's a sturdy man with an
oversized red coat with golden buttons and a thick black leather belt. He's
wearing a black hat and leans on a cane, one hand in his pocket. The
traditional knapsack is there, but more serving like a crutch. The Fool
holds his white rose carelessly in one hand. He's looking straight at us,
and so is his little (very little indeed) dog. He's not falling in any kind
of abyss, but just stands there looking at us wondering what we're going to
do. If you're looking for a confronting and challenging Fool - here's one!
He says: "I've been Fool a long time and I'm good at it. It's your turn
now. So what are you going to do? It's showtime for you!"
The Magician is another surprise, although not unfamiliar. This magician is
here to perform magic - but he'll probably trick you as well. In early
Tarot cards, the Magician card had the same pagan magician/trickster
quality.
The High Priestess is 'barer' than e.g. the Rider-Waite version (no black
and white pillars, no sea, no pomegranates). Yet the image we're looking at
here has much the same quality as the old High Priestess of the Marseilles
Tarot; an old, wise, silent woman.
Strength is not a woman embracing, but a man fighting a lion. It's true
that the oldest Tarot known (Visconti-Sforza) also features a man fighting
a lion (actually just about to hit a lying lion). I wonder if this
historical consideration has been the reason to choose for this scene. It
certainly alters the meaning of the card; in this scene our primal drives,
instincs and forces are not tamed by loving acceptance but by fighting them
and proving our conscious will is stronger. I am personally not a partisan
of this point of view.
The Hanged man is - again very traditionally - losing money that falls out
of his pocket. He's looking very unhappy about the whole situation.
The Sun card is remarkable because it features a young man and woman
sitting on the ground, singing to each other.
Not surprising but awe-inspiring are the cards of the Emperor and the Hermit.
 
Court Cards
 
These are a real deception after the beautiful major arcana. The Kings,
Queens, Knights and Pages are all the same persons regardless of their
suit, sitting or standing in the same position only carrying the different
objects (swords, staves, coins and cups) of their suit. The thrones of the
Kings and Queens are all the same, no horses for the Knights, and no
background scenery whatsoever. Even a normal deck of playing cards offers
more variety and inspiration in their court cards.
 
Minor Arcana
 
No scenes, just symbols arranged in their traditional form, staves straight
and swords in a bow. A minor detail is that normally the swords on the
uneven cards 3,5,7 and 9 in patterns like this would be arranged in such a
way that the middle sword stands upright (that is, with the blade up). In
this version the blade is pointing down.
 
Personal evaluation
 
When I first saw this deck I was captured by the good artwork and the
intriguing look of some of the majors. The uninspired look of the court
cards and the very basic pip cards have never appealed to me though, so I
don't use it for readings, either for others or for myself.
Sally Nichols suggests in her book "Jung and Tarot" (Samuel Weiser Inc.,
1980) that you can address the figures on the majors by simply trying to
start a dialogue with them. For me, this is one thing that has worked very
well with the majors of The Prediction Tarot.
 
Publishing data:
 
The Prediction Tarot deck
First Published may, 1985 by The Aquarian Press, Wellingborough,
Northamptonshire, Great Britain. The Aquarian Press is part of the Thorsons
Publishing Group.
Conceived by Bernard Stringer and painted by Peter Richardson.
Printed at Carta Mundi, Turnhout, Belgium.
 
Book by Sasha Fenton, "Fortune-Telling by Tarot Cards", The Aquarian Press,
1990.
 
The book "Supertarot" by Sasha Fenton, The Aquarian Press,1991, also uses
this deck among others to illustrate its contents.
 
Both the deck and books are still readily available throughout Europe. In
the United States the deck ran out of print and has therefore become
scarce.
 
Floris Wijers, The Netherlands
e-mail: floris@euronet.nl


This page is Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson