A Collection of Tarot Decks

Postmodern Decks Beginning With N-R

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Native American Tarot. Magda Weck Gonzalez and illustrated by J. A. Gonzalez. 1988 US Games Systems. - Native American theme deck. I bought this deck shortly after it came out. Based on what little I know now about a few of the peoples whose lands I've motorcycled through, I have come to feel somewhat ashamed to own this deck. They meant well.

Native American Maiden of Vessels deck cover book cover

Nigel Jackson Tarot. Nigel Jackson. 2000 Llewellyn Publications. Rereleased in 2004 as Medieval Enchantment: The Nigel Jackson Tarot - I acquired this deck for its lovely pastel illustration style. Wands=Air, Swords=Fire. The images hark back to the early renaissance handpainted decks and blend elements from those older decks with scenic elements from RWS in many cases. Nigel Jackson's expertise is in the older strains of Renaissance Magick, rather than the syncretic system of the Golden Dawn. He is featured on Christopher Warnock's Renaissance Astrology site. Hauntingly beautiful ethereal and delicate art. One of my all-time favorite decks.

Nigel Jackson Page of Cups cards cover

Tarot of Northern Shadows. Sylvia Gainsford and Howard Rodway. 1997 AGMuller. - This deck combines Norse mythology (Rods), the Welsh Mabinogion (Cups), British Celtic and Continental legend (Swords) and Irish mythology (Discs).

Old Path Page of Cups cards cover book cover

Old English. Maggie Kneen. 1997 US Games Systems. - Inspired by the Luttrell Psalter as well as old Tarots. Realize that the Luttrell Psalter had no connection to Tarot at the time of its creation, since Tarot was invented later, and in a completely different geographic area. The connection with the psalter, therefore, is providing an artistic style for the artist to emulate. While there are little scenes on the pips in addition to the arrangement of suit emblems, their relationship to traditional meanings, whether RWS (which are those described in the LWB, which is a particularly useless example of a generally useless document) or Etteilla-based, is very inconsistent. The swords suit scenes are pretty well related, but the batons simply show various agricultural scenes. The cups show different musicians and tumblers who might appear at a feast. The coins are a blend between vaguely related agricultural scenes and elements of RWS images. This is a deck I would take to Pennsic or an SCA event. It's a little early for a typical Renn Faire. At any rate, I wouldn't recommend it as a reading deck for someone uncomfortable with Marseilles-style pips, due to the inconsistency of the scenes.

Old English Tarot Knave of Cups cover cover

Tarot of the Old Path. Sylvia Gainsford and Howard Rodway. 1990 AGMuller. -

Old Path Page of Cauldrons deck cover book cover

The Osho Zen Tarot: The Transcendental Game of Zen. Ma Deva Padma (Susan Morgan). 1994 St Martin's Press. - The art is excellent and evocative. The cards provide a great deal of food for thought, as they reinterpret traditional meanings through the filter of Osho's spirituality. Osho is the (late) guru who was also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. The Zen here is not necessarily true Zen, at least not in the Japanese branch of Buddhism sense, as it has been stripped of all relationship to its Japanese origins. But this is the most Zen deck available that I know of, and I don't feel (other than the Master card) that it has the same failings as the human it is named after. It is an excellent exercise in Tarot knowledge to relate the Osho meanings back to traditional meanings. It is doable to some extent or another, but not always obvious.

Osho Zen Page of Water deck cover book cover

PoMo Tarot. Brian Williams. 1994 Harper Collins. - If Morgan's Tarot captures the energy of the 1970s, this deck captures the 1990s. The suits are Bottles, Guns, TVs and Dollar Bills, and the cards are basically modified sketches of famous works of art. The book goes into the artwork the card was based on, and if you go back and find these pieces (in books or by web search) you can acquire an introductory art history education with this deck. Of course it's out of print now, so rather difficult to find.

PoMo Girl of Bottles set cover

The Renaissance Tarot. Brian Williams. 1987 US Games Systems. - This is probably the most elegant and understated deck in my collection. This is a Wands=Air Swords=Fire deck based on Greco-Roman mythology and Renaissance Italian cities. The book is extremely informative on Tarot History, and is of far higher utility than most books written to accompany decks.

Renaissance Page of Cups deck cover book cover

Robin Wood Tarot. Robin Wood. 1991 Llewellyn Publications. - This deck has a positive attitude. A few cards (like the Wheel of Fortune) really leave me cold, but most are very nice. This deck is very popular among Neo-Pagans. The artwork is lively, and the mood is friendly. The symbolism usually follows Rider-Waite, except that references to Christianity are often replaced with with references to Neopaganism, and the images are made more naturalistic. The court cards mainly emphasize the element of the suit, adding cues to time of day. Many people find that the court cards from this deck really help them internalize Fire, Water, Air and Earth. However, the courts do not really show the element and subelement [counterchange] relationship or nor do they highlight the astrological attributions. Her book is both detailed and readable, and is better informed about Tarot history than I'm used to seeing in a companion book.

Robin Wood Page of Cups deck cover book cover

The Rock Art Tarot. Jerry Roelen. 1996 US Games Systems. - Based on petrographs and petroglyphs from desert cultures around the world; especially of the American Southwest. Like Whimsical, meanings are generally riffs off of the Rider Waite image, but since you have to know something about rock art to know what the figures are; it's not very apparent. If petroglyphs and petrographs don't speak to you, or you are turned off by the neon-bright marker coloring in, you might not like this deck.

Rock Art Peacemaker of Emotions set cover deck cover

The Rock and Roll Tarot. Chris Paradis. 1997, 2000, 2002 Self Published - Artists and performers from the first fifty years of Rock and Roll. Suits are Voice (Wands), Muse (Cups), Guitars (Swords) and Albums (Discs).

Rock and Roll Princess of Muse: Bjork


Rohrig Tarot. Carl-W. Rohrig. 1995 Bluestar Communications. Printed in Belgium. - High style airbrush art that reminds me of something that would be seen in a magazine. There are generally chunks of spiral-bound notebook pages illustrated on the cards, and written on these are keywords (usually from Thoth) in English and German. The art, while very professional, has six cards with disembodied female breasts collaged in, and feels vaguely female-exploitative to me in general. I don't get that feeling from Cosmic Tribe, which is much more nude. Perhaps because in Cosmic Tribe, the genitalia is still attached to the person. I do find many of the cards very evocative, especially the way the Minors were handled, but in the end, the deck has a soft porn feel I find disturbing.

Rohrig Princess of Cups deck cover deck cover


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Copyright © 1994-2001 Joan Schraith Cole.
Updated August 26, 2001
Some graphics from Ann-S-Thesia CD, Number 76 variant A
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