- Tarot of the Ages
- Review by Floris Wijers
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- The Tarot of the Ages was published in 1988 by US Games
Systems. The deck
- size is average (2 3/8'' x 4 3/8), it's printed in full
colour and has
- pictures on both the major and minor Arcana cards. It
- symbols and landscapes from various cultures. Most people
are not or barely
- The deck comes with a booklet that provides some really
- history, e.g. "One of the most significant messages
of knowledge for the
- Western world was and still is represented by the
Egyptian Tarot, the Book
- of Thoth, the book of true science" (page 2.). It
gives meanings for
- upright and reversed cards, and "comments in
prophetic form" for each
- Court cards have the alchemical symbols for air (swords),
- fire (batons) and earth (coins) on center top and lower
right and left
- corner of the cards. Majors have a roman number center
top, hebrew letter
- in the left corner and either an astrological sign or
elemental symbol in
- the right corner. The astrological attributions are quite
- joyous, extravert and playful Leo for the Hermit?? Mars
for the Empress??
- Aries for the Hierophant?) and frankly I fear they have
been given totally
- at random without the slightest idea of the principles
- astrological signs.
- >From an artistic point of view this is a nice deck.
The art is good with a
- lot of attention paid to people's bodies. They're all
finely drawn with a
- lot of detail and soft but well-defined lines, bone- and
- The artist must have a thourough knowledge and also love
for the human body
- and this shows throughout the deck. Colours are vibrant
but not too harsh.
- Major Arcana
- Scenery and people from ancient Egypt make up the major
Arcana. Strength is
- XI, Justice is VIII.
- The booklet provides us with "comments in prophetic
form" for the major
- Arcana cards. This actually proves to be some rather
- "The eye of the vision brightens, the holy baboon
discloses the doors of
- the temple of knowledge and leads toward the key of
immortality. Blessed is
- the Lords' Anointed! Adam Kadmon's feet again tread the
- exists but the Great Work" (page 7, about the
- Apart from the egyptian setting, the pictures of the
major Arcana offer
- nothing new, insightful or exciting at all.
- The Fool looks more like a dancing indian to me. He's
about to cross a
- small current of water. A lynx is grabbing his leg, a
- him at the other side of the creek.
- The High Priestess has nothing mysterious or secretive at
all. She looks
- like a woman with too heavy make-up on, who is sitting
down tired from
- The Lovers card is highly traditional, with a young man
standing in the
- middle, a woman both on his left and right side and even
good ol' Cupid is
- hovering above his head to shoot his arrow. Up till this
deck I had not
- been aware that the Egyptians also had Cupid amidst their
gods. Maybe this
- image is kind of a compromise. It gives the scene an
- that is distracting the attention from the meaning of the
- The Hermit has nothing egyptian and is accompanied by a
snake. This image
- (with snake) is also found in very old versions of the
- Judgment shows - off course - mummies rising up out of
their tombs, the
- white bandages rolling off.
- Court Cards
- The court cards have Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages.
Every suit in the
- minor Arcana in this deck features a different
civilization. Swords are
- represented by Vikings, Batons by Africans, Cups by
Aztecs and East Indians
- people the coins cards.
- These cards are not bad at all. Once again, the art is
good and some of the
- symbolism is well translated in the civilisation of the
- The Queen of Batons carries a burning stick and touches a
- her. You have to get used to the image of a barely
dressed, tattooed woman
- from an african tribe represent the Queen of Batons but
it's an excellent
- exercise in cultural un-conditioning if you want.
- The King of Swords is radiant with masculine strength,
- decisiveness. The winged helmet he wears and the two
eagles that accompany
- him add to the atmosphere of this picture. He must be
terribly cold though
- like all the Swords-people; naked in the snow.
- Minor Arcana
- The imagery on the minor Arcana is sometimes a stylized
- Rider-Waite themes (i.e. the same picture, only rendered
in the style of
- the deck). In other instances, the pictures have been
changed radically to
- produce a new perspective. In the case of the Swords this
works out pretty
- well. The booklet offers no help, because card
descriptions do not match
- the meanings. Example from the seven of Swords:
- Description: "You waste yourself in futility. Blind,
unstable over frozen
- prostrusions, you miss every stroke and squander time and
energy in vanity
- and meanness. Clumsy you are cutting blows, far away the
- the prey. Your feet only get numbed"
- Meaning (upright): "New plans. Wishes. Fortitude.
- Hope. Confidence. Fantasy. Partial success."
- In other words: Sort it out yourself.
- Personal evaluation
- I consider this deck as a curiosity myself and like it
because of the
- artistic quality. In contrast to so many other decks, the
minors are more
- interesting than the major Arcana that offers in some
- empty images and shows a forced attempt in combining
ancient images with
- Egyptian looks.
- In the cases I have tried to work with this deck, I
personally find the
- biggest obstacle is the conflict between 'familiar' and
- images on the minors. I also notice that the five
- don't really blend into one deck, so it feels as if
you're working with
- five different sets of cards.
- This is certainly not one of my favourite decks. And I
will repeat -
- although I am certain this message already came through -
that the booklet
- accompanying the Tarot of the Ages is by far the worst I
have ever read so
- Publishing data:
- First published in 1988 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
- Art by Mario Garizio.
- There is no book dedicated to this deck. The cards were
used to illustrate
- the 'Tarot Agenda' 1997 in The Netherlands, Europe.
See more images from Tarot of the Ages
If you are interested in purchasing this deck, click
- Images copyright (c) 1988 US Games Systems,
179 Ludlow St., Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax (203)353-8431
- Floris Wijers, The Netherlands
- e-mail: email@example.com
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes