Tarot Decks Without Books - What's the Point?
After I posted my review of the Crystal Tarot, I then read a review by someone else at Amazon.com. If this poster is correct, the Minors for this deck is based on a lesser-known Spanish system of cartomancy called Eudes Picard.

In this system, Swords is the water element--which would explain why there is water and moon symbols in the Crystal Tarot Swords (something that I found perplexing, and addressed in my review.) Perhaps this is also why there are butterflies on the Chalices suit--because this becomes the Air suit in that cartomantic system.

This poster also mentions that the images from this Tarot were from images painted from tempera on glass--something that is utterly intriguing, not to mention skillful (especially when you see the final product!)

Now, can someone please tell me why, oh WHY, this kind of information isn't printed in the LWB? There are some of us who don't have the time or inclination to hang out at Discussion Boards or do extensive research on the many bookless decks out there.

Which brings me to the reason for this article.

What is the point of an artist pouring their time, talent and labor into a deck that, without a book explaining the vision behind it, is virtually worthless? It's like possessing a piece of literature whose words flow like honey--except, it's not written in a language you understand.

Granted, some of the imagery may be universal (after all, we are dealing with archetypes here), but what of unusual imagery that is compelling and artistically remarkable--but inexplicable?

Off the top of my head, there are four decks I can think of that suffer this fate: Tarot of the Spirit World, Tarot of Reflections, Tarot of Metamorphosis, and the Universal Fantasy Tarot. Sure, there may be some mention of the artist's interpretation, but most of it leaves me wanting more.

Can I connect with the cards on my own terms, making it up as I go along? Of course.

But how much richer to know, for example, that an artist uses a lesser-known form of cartomancy? And perhaps why Swords is connected to Water and Chalices to Air in that system? Or to know why M. Filadoro and L. Di Giammarino chose an anthropomorphic train to represent the 4 of Pentacles with the meaning "road of blind change"?

Or what about the Pagan Tarot by Gina Pace? Sure, it supposedly has a companion book now--but why weren't consumers provided with an explanation to some of the unusual card images when it first came out? As usual, the LWB was practically worthless. (When I talked briefly with Gina some time ago, she told me that she initially submitted pages and pages of a Word Doc--and couldn't understand why the final product, at that time, was shortened so much.)

This brings me to the point of this post: don't publishers do a great disservice to an artist (and consumers) when a complete vision of the cards aren't provided? How much easier it is to relegate a deck to mere "art deck" status, collecting dust somewhere, all because the publisher didn't feel it was necessary to communicate the vision (or history) behind a deck?

God knows I've already devoted hours to studying, practicing, and writing about the Tarot. Should I have to do a publisher's leg work, too? Or don't these publisher's care--truly care--whether or not a deck becomes a "reading" deck--or, at least, a well-used deck?

Or is it just me?

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Easy Tarot Kit (Gilded Tarot) - Josephine Ellershaw
Crystal Tarot - Elisabetta Trevisan
Universal Fantasy Tarot - Paolo Martinello
Fantastical Tarot - Nathalie Hertz
Fenestra Tarot - Chatriya Hemharnvibul
Tarot of the Saints - Robert M. Place
The Halloween Tarot - Kipling West
The Instant Tarot Reader (Zerner/Farber Deck) - Monte Farber and Amy Zerner
Tarot Discovery Kit (Zerner/Farber Deck) - Monte Farber and Amy Zerner
Medieval Enchantment - The NIgel Jackson Tarot
The Victorian Romantic Tarot – Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov
The Tarot of Oz - David Sexton
Maria Shaw's Tarot Kit for Teens - Maria Shaw
Tarot of the Dead - Monica Knighton
The Tarot of Prague - Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov
Tarot of the Spirit World – Robert De Angelis
My Tarot: Colour Your Own Deck - Juliet Sharman-Burke
The Llewellyn Tarot - Anna-Marie Ferguson
The World Spirit Tarot - Lauren O'Leary and Jessica Godino
Baroque Bohemian Cats' Tarot - Karen Mahony and Alex Ukolov
Animals Divine Tarot - Lisa Hunt
WorldTree Tarot - Ann Cass
Tarot of Reflections – Francesco Ciampi and Pietro Alligo
Tarot of Metamorphosis – M. Filadoro and L. Di Giammarino
Fairytale Tarot - Karen Mahony, Alex Ukolov, and Irena Triskova
Transformational Tarot - Arnell Ando
Da Vinci Tarot - Mark McElroy, Iassen Ghuiselev, and Atanas Atanassov
Rohrig Tarot - Carl-W. Rohrig
True Love Tarot - Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
Babylonian Tarot - Sandra Tabatha Cicero
Pagan Tarot - Gina Pace
Golden Tarot of Klimt - A.A. Atanassov
The Bright Idea Deck - Mark McElroy
Archeon Tarot - Timothy Lantz
Housewives Tarot - Paul Kepple and Jude Buffum
Epicurean Tarot Recipe Cards - Corrine Kenner
Tarot of Dreams - Ciro Marchetti and Lee Bursten
Revelations Tarot - Zach Wong
Tarot of the Four Elements - Isha Lerner and Amy Ericksen
DruidCraft Tarot - Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm; Will Worthington
Gilded Tarot - Ciro Marchetti
Oracle Tarot - Lucy Cavendish
Golden Tarot - Kat Black
Tarot de Paris - J. Philip Thomas
The Quest Tarot - Joseph Ernest Martin
In the Cards: Love - Mariah Fredericks
Learning Tarot Spreads - Joan Bunning
The Everything Tarot Book (2nd Edition) - Skye Alexander
Tarot Discovery Kit - Amy Zerner and Monte Farber
The Instant Tarot Reader - Monte Farber and Amy Zerner
Llewellyn's 2007 Tarot Reader
21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Mary K. Greer
Absolute Beginner's Guide to Tarot - Mark McElroy
Maria Shaw's Tarot Kit for Teens - Maria Shaw
Tarot Tells the Tale - James Ricklef
Tarot Journaling - Corrine Kenner
Everyday Tarot: A Choice Centered Approach - Gail Fairfield
The Encyclopedia of Tarot Volume IV - Stuart Kaplan and Jean Huets
The 2-Hour Tarot Tutor - Wilma Carroll
Seeker: The Tarot Unveiled - Rachel Pollack
Llewellyn's 2006 Tarot Reader
Tarot Workbook - Juliet Sharman-Burke
Tarot for Life - Prospero
Tarot Tips - Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone
What's in the Cards For You? - Mark McElroy
Power Tarot: More Than 100 Spreads - Trish Magregor and Phyllis Vega
What Tarot Can Do For You: Your Future in the Cards - Barbara Moore

Content copyright © by Janet Boyer. All rights reserved. This review was written by Janet Boyer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission.