The Hudes Tarot                                                                                        Review by Michele Jackson

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

The Hudes Tarot deck is basically a Waite-Smith clone. The Major Arcana symbolism is different from the Waite-Smith, but the Minor Arcana is clearly recognizable as a derivative of Pamela Colman Smith's work. Susan Hudes is a painter and illustrator and her training shows in the small details of the art. For example the High Priestess' dress is made of medieval manuscripts, all of the clothing in each suit has a similar pattern or texture worked in and many of the cards have celestial or navigational charts and maps worked in. The colors are deep, but muted, giving the deck a soft look. Hude's style is to have a central figure in each card with the suit objects arranged around it and little background scenery. It reminds me of the Aquarian deck, only with softer lines. The people in this deck tend to have one of three facial expressions - stern, apathetic or sad. There are several small, artistic details that are interesting, but I don't think they are interesting enough to make up for the symbolism that Hudes left out.

The Major Arcana, suit and court card names are identical to the Waite-Smith. Hudes has made some changes to the Major Arcana symbolism. Her sparing use of scenery limits the symbolism greatly. For example, The Fool is merely a youth chasing a butterfly. There is green grass behind him and blue sky above him. That's it. No dog, no cliff, no bag, and no mountains. This approach works better with some cards than others. Overall there is little to grasp as an aid to interpretation. The Minors are also based on Pamela Colman Smith's work for the most part. Again, we have large central figures on each card and little scenery. The 10 of swords shows the familiar male on the ground pierced with 10 swords. The Nine of Swords is a little different, with a woman seated on the ground with her arms crossed over her knees and her head on her arms. The nine swords circle her head. Not quite Smith's nightmare card, but you get the idea. Those cards that vary from Smith's standard are not radical departures, or even particularly fresh re-interpretations.

The booklet that comes with this deck is the standard US Games issue providing upright and reversed meanings and the Celtic Cross spread. Try as I might, I just can't get excited or enthusiastic about this deck. Perhaps it is the facial expressions on the cards. The people look bored and unhappy for the most part, and I feel that way looking at them. As one more entry in the crowded field of Waite-Smith derivatives, it is unlikely to excite or offend anyone.

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

The Hudes Tarot Deck
ISBN 0-88079-137-3
Publisher: US Games Systems
179 Ludlow St.
Stamford CT, 06902
See the Hudes Tarot Deck


This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson