Vision Tarot                                                                                                    Review by Michele Jackson

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This deck is one of the best photographic decks I have seen. The artist took great pains to give the deck a "traditional" look and feel, despite using the modern medium of photography. I think he succeeds. The Major Arcana have the traditional names. No surprises - no changing that pesky old Devil to "Bondage" or that horrible old Death card to a more palatable "Transition." The Fool is unnumbered, Death is unnamed, Justice is VIII, and Strength is XI. The Court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page, and the Minor Arcana are pips.

The art is excellent. As previously stated, great pains were taken to give the deck an Old World look. The artist also tried to stay true to the "traditional" symbolism and this is evident in most cards. The Moon is the only card that seems to be a departure from the Marseilles/Waite-Smith Major Arcana imagery. Castles and churches are used to good effect as is nature herself. Real people are used whenever the human form is represented. They are appropriately dressed and staged. Knights are mounted on horses. Kings and Queens are lavishly dressed and crowned. The items used in the pips have variety and are beautifully laid out. The element of each suit is also incorporated into the pips. Batons are sticks of various types, from elaborately carved walking sticks to living tree branches. A flaming cauldron in the foreground illustrates the element. Cups are depicted as silver chalices filled with what appears to be red wine. They are arranged on a rocky shore. Swords are of various types and are displayed against the sky. Coins are antique gold and laid out on what appears to be a sheet of rock, which represents the earth. Each suit is also framed in appropriate material, wands in wood, swords in steel, etc. Some of my favorite cards in this deck are The Devil, The Tower and Death. I would think that these cards are among the more difficult to render photographically, but the artist did an exceptional job with them.

The little booklet that comes with this deck begins by describing what the artist was trying to achieve. An excerpt is provided below. A history of the cards follows which is rather robust for a little booklet. The history lessons continue in the descriptions of the Major Arcana cards. Background information on the symbolism is given for each card. An upright and reversed interpretation are also given, as well as a one word "keyword" to aid in the learning process. Information about each suit follows, along with a discussion of the physical characteristics of the court for each suit, i.e., Coins represent people with black hair and brown eyes and Kings represent males over 40. Short upright and reversed interpretations for the Minors and Court cards are next and lastly a short section on how to read the cards which provides a variation of the Celtic Cross spread. The Minor Arcana interpretations are traditional for the most part.

I recommend this deck for anyone looking for an interesting Marseilles-like deck. The modern art medium of photography does not detract from the Renaissance feel of this deck and the deck is quite pleasing to the eye.

See more cards from the Vision Tarot Deck or visit the Vision Tarot Deck Web Page

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

Vision Tarot Deck
Artist: Tim Thompson
Available from US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford CT, 06902, (800) 544-2637, Fax: (203) 353- 8431

Excerpt

The Vision Tarot represents a totally new concept in Tarot cards. Each one of the 78 traditional hand drawn images has been reproduced as a stunning full colour photograph. Together they form a visual atlas of human existence as seen through the mind's eye of the medieval Tarot artists. Unlike many modern decks, the Vision Tarot does not aim to redesign or distort these traditional images, because in doing so one looses the essence of what they represent. The Tarot is a beautiful and ancient pictorial language. Each generation that uses this language is at liberty to change the method of production of the cards, but the subject matter of the images must be preserved. The very first hand painted Tarot cards were soon replaced by stenciled cards and those in turn by wood block printed cards. More recently, all modern cards have been printed using computer generated 4 colour process plates. The step to photographic cards is a small part of the natural progression of the Tarot into the future. The Vision Tarot is a deck designed for the twenty-first century, yet it preserves the spirit of the fifteenth.

Vision Tarot Booklet pg. 3



This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson