The Celtic Tarot Deck - Review by Michele Jackson

If you are interested in purchasing this book/deck set, click here.

This deck was drawn by an artist who did not know anything about the tarot when he began. It looks as though he used the Waite-Smith as a model for the Majors, though he threw in some touches of his own. The Majors have the Waite-Smith names as do the Court Cards. Strength is VIII and Justice is XI. The Minors are pips. The art on this deck is truly beautiful. The colors are jewel-like and the backgrounds and borders are highly detailed. The borders have labyrinths, knot work or spirals, and the main scenes use colored dots for shading and detail work. The scenes in the Majors are somewhat stripped down in symbolism and some of the standard symbols have been changed in what appears to be an effort to make the deck more Celtic.

The Minor Arcana suits are Coins, Wands, Swords and Cups. The pips are very intricate and detailed. Coins are disks with gold knot work on a green background with a blue knot work border. Wands are intricately carved staffs on a wheat colored background that reminds one of sisal. Each Wand card has at least one blazing sun worked into the background as well. Cups are on a blue knot work background with gold borders and Swords are on a pink, orange and yellow background which looks much better than it sounds. Many of the Swords have a mist worked into the background as well. An attempt was made to make the suit symbols evocative by their pattern, though I would not have noticed had I not read of it in the book.

The book that comes with the deck provides a brief history which starts with the Egyptian theory, but then comes around to historically verifiable information. A short history of the Celts follows. The section on using the cards recommends that the deck be used with elemental dignities vice reversals. Unfortunately, it provides only the scantiest of explanations on dignities. Three spreads are provided: The Celtic Cross (of course), The Alchemists Spread and the Druid's Star. The interpretations provided in the book are fairly traditional though Celtic mythology has been worked into the descriptions in most cases. Dignified and ill-dignified interpretations are given. The "ill-dignified" interpretations indicate that the author did not understand the concept of elemental dignities as described by the Golden Dawn et. al. They read like reversed interpretations.

The deck is sold as a deck\book set. It is packaged in a slip sleeve box, with a well for the cards. This well holds the cards better than most, and they don't slip down under the well. I recommend this deck for those who are interested in things Celtic, and for those who are just looking for a beautiful deck. Beginners may find the pips a little harder to remember than cards with scenes, but despite the Celtic slant, the deck is fairly traditional in design and interpretation.

If you are interested in purchasing this book/deck set, click here.

The Celtic Tarot Deck
Publisher: Aquarian
ISBN: 0-85030-920-4

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Review Copyright 1997 Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes