The Quest Tarot - Joseph Ernest Martin
"Luminous figures in ethereal dreamscapes surrounded by enchanting symbols and enigmatic keywords. Part of The Quest Tarot's allure is its mystery. The diaphonous beauty of this deck lies in putting it all together and realizing that each piece is a part of an ever-changing cosmograph." -- From the book

I've always been drawn to computer-generated images, and my two favorite archetype decks are both computer generated. I was excited to finally receive the The Quest Tarot deck and feel the slick, colorful cards in my hands. When I did my first reading with this deck, the cards spoke such a clear message to me that I really needed to hear at the time.

Despite being enthralled by the card images, I had a misgiving about this deck at first. The author and artist, Joseph Martin, has imbued the cards with additional divinatory elements such as astrological signs, runes, Hebrew letters from the Kabbalah, Roman letters, I Ching, gemstones, yes/no features, and the ability to discern hair and eye color. Absolutely daunting, I thought. When I saw the deck for myself, however, I realized these elements did not distract me in the least. If anything, they added a special dimension to the reading.  The thorough explanations of these elements are clearly laid out in the book that accompanies this deck, so you can just look up their meaning and see how it adds to the reading. However, you don't need to use any of the additional divinatory elements if you don't want to. These symbols add to the beauty of the cards, but don't distract from the images and messages.

The Quest Tarot is a traditional tarot deck, but includes a special addition to the Major Arcana--The Multiverse card. Also included is one blank card that you can personalize however you see fit. The cards dimensions are 9.42 x 6.54, and feel very sensual and smooth when handling and shuffling.

The Minor Arcana contain astrological features found on the upper left of the card, where one circle contains a planet and the second circle contains the sign it is in. The Aces of each of the four suits do not have planetary connections; instead, they have time references. On the upper left is a circle containing a clock with 3 numbers highlighted. On the upper right, is a circle containing seasonal symbols: fallen leaves for Autumn, a setting sun for Summer, falling snow for Winter, and flowers for Spring. The I Ching symbols on the upper right hand corner are only found on the other Minor Arcana cards. All the suits follow traditional Tarot, except the Pentacles/Coins suit has been re-named Stones.

The Quest Tarot has an Ouija-like yes/no feature that is in the form of a pair of swords found only on the Court cards. Also exclusive to the Court cards are hair and eye color indicators. Since the people featured on them are made of shiny metal or glass--deliberately vague as to be universal--this indicator helps to determine physical attributes. Another unique aspect of the Court cards: Martin feels that since we no longer lived in a social structure filled with Kings, Queens, Knights and Pages, that the Court cards should reflect a more familial structure. Giving a nod to the prominence of feminine energy at this point in history, Mother leads the way, followed by Father, Daughter, and Son.

The Major Arcana features runic symbols on the upper left hand side, as well as Hebrew letters. One astrological symbol (sign or planet) is on each of the Majors. On all cards, at the bottom, are small Roman letters and gemstones throughout the border in varying degrees. (The Multiverse card features Chiron and no Roman letter--being a "wild card".) In addition to the card name on the front, there is also a keyword below it.
Number 14, traditionally known as Temperance, is named Alchemy in this deck, while card number 20, Judgment, is named Aeon.

The book that comes with the deck, The Compass Guide to the Quest Tarot, is a hefty 296 pages. The first 107 pages are detailed instructions, including graphics, on how to interpret the astrological symbols, runes, gemstones, I Ching, and other divinatory features. There are 28 pages dedicated to Tarot games and spreads, including a special Quest Tarot spread. Included is a Celtic cross record sheet that you can photocopy and enlarge to keep track of readings.

For both the Majors and Minors, there are two pages dedicated to each card. The page on the left includes an image and the divinatory elements, and the page on the right includes card explanation, upright meaning, and reversed meaning. The author also addresses each of the four suits, and how they play out energetically in everyday life.

I use The Quest Tarot deck for my monthly AstroTarot Forecasts--as well as for 95% of my client readings. The accuracy level has been unsurpassed thus far. I highly recommend this deck and book to the Tarot veteran, as well as the individual who has never used a Tarot deck. The ethereal, high-tech images speak of ancient mysteries and archetypal wisdom, and the extra divinatory elements add sacred and specific knowledge for insight, clarity and personal transformation.

Below are 10 images from this deck:

Quest Tarot, by Joseph Martin © 2002 Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. All rights reserved.

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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.