Tarot by Tim Thompson
Review by Mari Hoshizaki
might be a deck for those raised with delight in the film, stage, and
a photomontage deck, circa the 1990's, that reminds me how quickly we can become
jaded to popular designs. Earlier
photomontage decks, such as the dark Vertigo or the explosive Voyager, might
seem to have more staying power because of their more dramatic presentation. In
the 1990's, creative photography enhancement added a futuristic feel to the
yes, we all nod to the sepia-toned Mountain Dream, which predated all of
these---but it had a fun, funky look that stamped it a deck of its time.
That deck seems like pure nostalgia now.
Sacred Circle showed more lush photography around 1997 and featured Celtic
spirituality--- this added to its appeal when I saw it.
By 2002, an airy softness in design and the other nearly transparent
filters of Tarot de Paris appealed to me for classic design. Just around the
corner, probably will come a whole melange of photomontage decks---one of them,
the Quest Tarot, has an intense and curiously Thoth-like feel to me.
A newer oracle, the Fairy Ring, might have more a more magical feel for
its otherworldly slant---a combination of enchanted beings and humanlike
The Vision Tarot, in contrast, is one of the quieter photomontage decks. I find that its strength is the use of actual actors and props in a Marseilles setting and tarot structure. These are people and things that you can use to form a mental screenplay.
structure, this deck system has a Marseilles-based ordering. The images are set
in a quasi-Medieval/Renaissance stage. What also keeps me interested in this
deck is how well and quietly this stage is set for the viewer.
Small gold lettering in English and a thin gold border surround a set
staged and titled in a Gothic script. There are deceptively simple borders and
subtle pips (Did you see the flowering branch of the batons? Did you notice how
the cloud formations changed in background of the Swords?). In addition, the set
contains a nice little white book. Michele
Jackson's review speaks of the strength of the Vision Tarot when it first
the images for the Aces, Trumps and Courts are nicer than most Marseilles
woodcuts. Do you like human figures
posing in heroic attitudes or film frame stills?
By 2002, this deck reminds me of nostalgic photographs or film classics.
This reminds me of how I feel about certain film remakes---for example,
the twentieth-century Three Musketeer films with Faye Dunaway as the nemesis,
strength of the Vision Tarot for me is how the deck allows for a quieter thought
process. While I've heard people say that in our Western society what
seems most attractive at first sight is what you follow, this doesn't always
work for me. I have to live and be
with things with a quieter staying power. What
I know best means working with a more reflective art style that can also merge
with other things. The last bit
about merging means flexibility, an ability to both blend in and yet keep its
own strength. Vision Tarot doesn't glitter like gold, but it can quietly merge
with other deck designs for comparative readings. I can also use it for its
strong Marseilles structure in other ways.
I've been playing with the very bright Visconti Gold 2002.
I've been reading the book a little at a time, also checking out spreads
laid out in the book Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino. I've been wishing that I could find a nice Marseilles deck
that works for me for the second portion of the Calvino book.
I've also had another new favorite book by Gareth Knight, The Magical
World of the Tarot (Fourfold Mirror of the Universe). The information on the
Marseilles structure and the spreads look
very interesting. But my favorite
historical Marseilles decks, the Di Gumppenbergs of the 1800s, are too
decoratively different than the cards in both books.
that Vision Tarot sets the Marseilles stage for me. The Marseilles poses, with
actors and props, engage my reading
imagination. The photos of the
actors and props begin a film-like screen experience that inspires me. The poses
and pictures are so clearly from the Marseilles deck. But these are photographs,
a totally different medium than drawn or woodcut designs. So I have the old Marseilles design with an attractive and
different art medium to engage me.
enough information in the little white book (LWB) to also enjoy a reminder of
older design history. I take the
LWB to the gym and read a little on the exercise bicycle.
I keep it clipped it to my Visconti book, to have another take on card
now that I've said that, I'll make a full confession. The Visconti Gold and
Vision are my companion decks. I have them in their boxes and matching red
velveteen drawstring bags in a dark book bag. They actually live in my car
with the Visconti and Crossed Destinies books.
I pull out the book bag between errands, classes, gym and work trips.
many of us in the modern world have an affinity for film, photography or live
performance, this deck might work best as a way to catch our eyes and then
quietly slow down. During the workweek I'm in constant motion. A display of
photographs anywhere will invite me to sit down, come take a look. Only then can
I start to engage my quieter aspects.
time, I may pair up the Vision with a less expensive version of the Vertigo or
other photomontage decks. I think the Marseilles structure and photographic
style works well for me. I hope it will become like a comfy sweatshirt or easy
pair of good workout shoes. Easy to slip into and carry, perhaps a little beat
up around the edges. But overall, a
nice companion deck and just different enough to keep my interest in the ideas
that it might inspire.
1995, Tim Thompson
Distributed by U.S. Games
Hoshizaki is a delighted student of Western Civilization studies (after working
hours). This review explains how she enjoys thinking of ways to mix historical
and modern card decks with everything else.