Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Pagan Otherworlds Tarot: A Review

This is the deck. As in, “the” deck – the one that hits all the right places, the one I can’t put down, the one with all the right feels, overflowing with soul.
My ideal deck would have:

  • reversible backs
  • little-to-no text on the card fronts
  • not a single card I don’t really like
  • been produced by an independent publisher
  • the feel of a very useable work of art
  • quality artwork
  • an essence of timelessness 
  • excellent card stock
  • card images that are complete and balanced, but not overfull 
  • at least slightly illustrated minors (enough for the intuition to dig into)
  • art that clearly highlights traditional card meanings 
  • that special “something” 

So, that said, the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot fulfills each and every item on this list. It’s a tall order, I know. But like I said, this is the one!

The down and dirty:

  • 78 cards 
  • 1 additional Major (the Seeker)
  • 5 “Luna” cards (representing the moon cycle)
  • Strength VIII, Justice XI
  • Page, Knight, Queen, King
  • reversible backs with a beautiful floral image
  • high quality tuck box
  • mainly RWS styling with some influence from Marseilles
  • excellent stock with a linen finish
  • company: Uusi
  • creators: Linnea Gits and Peter Dunham

This deck arrived to my home wrapped in a foam sheath upon which a small sprig of cedar was attached. A cloth card bag featuring the company’s name (Uusi) was included along with the shipping invoice. Each deck features a different herb or plant – some people received their decks along with lavender, or sage, for example. It’s a beautiful touch.
The box itself features the same design as the card backs, and feels like it was produced by someone who really knows, and loves, cards. This is the case, of course. Aside from this deck, Uusi has created a number of playing card decks, a Tarot deck called the BRuT Tarot, and they are currently working on a third Tarot deck called Eros: The Garden of Love. (They do make a few other things, such as advent calendars and wooden knife racks!)
Small details like a custom paper stamp that seals the tuck box and small printed messages in the fold of the box top add to the exquisite experience of handling this creation for the first time.
When I pulled the cards out of their box I noticed immediately that they move effortlessly over one another – no stickiness, no slight catching that sometimes occurs with matte finishes. These cards were meant to be shuffled, and I even think that the process of shuffling was intended to be a part of the overall enormous pleasure of preparing to read with this deck. If you have it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
I have heard some people express concern that the numbered Minor Arcana may be “pips” however this is not really the case. Yes, each card shows the correct number of elemental items for the suit, and no, there are no people (for the most part). But if you look at each card you will find an abundance of scenic imagery that connect with traditional RWS meaning.
Take for instance the 4 of Swords. With three swords upright (blades downward) and a single sword perpendicular to them on the ground, it mirrors the RWS version which shows three swords hanging on a wall over a stone knight, with one sword horizontal along the tomb.
The 7 of Wands shows one upright rod with six others crossed in front of it. It certainly gives the impression of advocacy, standing for what you believe in, rising to meet a challenge.
The 4 of Wands shares an unmistakable connection to the traditional RWS version, with four rods standing upright and decorated with celebratory garlands.
Even the 3 of Wands features an ocean in the background with ships either coming or going.
The tree in the 8 of Pentacles exudes the idea of growth and development. In the 5 of Cups you’ll notice that the three central cups are upside down, while the two on either side are upright. The skull below calls to mind past regrets, and mourning.
All of the Court cards are stunning. I particularly love the Queens and the Knights. There is such elegant movement in the shape of the horses that the Knights ride. Here we also see the 6 of Swords showing a boat riding through water!
Just look at this Queen of Pentacles...
The Majors are sedately spectacular as well. The Hierophant is dressed in animal skins, and holds a stang in his right hand. He is the keeper of tradition, the village vitki.
The Chariot shows a warrior in a cart pulled by two energetic rams, one black, one white.
The Sun depicts a quite traditional child riding a white horse, a kindly celestial orb floating above.
This morning I pulled a card asking, “What energy should I honor today?” I pulled the Ace of Pentacles, inviting me to count the many blessings in my life.
One of those happens to be the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

9 comments:

  1. Great review, Olivia. You hit all the points. It really is a stellar deck and has one of my fave Queen of Wands evah!

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    1. Thanks, Rose! You know I never cared much either way about the Courts until this deck (image-wise). They are just gorgeous. And the Queen of Wands captures her essence more eloquently than any other deck I've seen!!

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  2. This review radiates the love you have for this deck. It is indeed a stunning piece of art. I so happy for you have found your true love (Tarot wise) :D

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    1. Thanks, Ellen <3 I really didnt know if it would ever happen! It's got all the goodness I could hope for, and then some:-)

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  3. I doubt it will be "the one" for me, as I'm not sure I'm capable of that kind of devotion. Still, your review highlights so many beautiful points that I did go ahead and click :) I love these kinds of minors - simple and yet with enough to stimulate intuition, as you say. And the artwork is old fashioned, yet also with clear, beautiful lines and colours. I shall look forward to it! :D

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    1. You know, I really doubted the true existence of a "one deck" that hits all the right places, but this one really did it for me! I will continue to read with all of the other many beautiful creations out there, but there is just nothing I can say about this one that I don't entirely love. And I really think there is something unnameable about a deck that clicks like that. Hmm..... I hope you enjoy reading with it, and I'll look forward to seeing how you get on with it ;)

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  4. i love that you talked about how it shuffles. i had the same observations in my own review post. the only things that throw me off a bit: that baby in the sun is just awkward to me, in the same way that the lady from the lovers has this weird, massive forehead that irks me. but, overall, i love it. :P

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  5. i love that you talked about how it shuffles. i had the same observations in my own review post. the only things that throw me off a bit: that baby in the sun is just awkward to me, in the same way that the lady from the lovers has this weird, massive forehead that irks me. but, overall, i love it. :P

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