The wheel of the year is turning and here we have just celebrated Imbolc. While embracing the new opportunities I thought I'd do my first deck review on this, my longest serving deck. While it's not the first deck I bought - that honour goes to a Marseille deck that I just couldn't get on with despite years of trying - it is the deck I use as my "go to" buddy, and we've been working together for well over a decade now.
The first thing you'll notice is the Medieval style of the packaging. This theme runs throughout the deck's artwork and was one of the reasons I was attracted to it; I can't help it, I'm a history geek.
From a practical point of view, the cards are 2.75" x 4.75" which makes them a comfortable size for holding and shuffling. Strength is card 8 while Justice is card 11. The suits in the minor arcana are cups, coins, swords and batons, and are illustrated to provide a visual reminder of the meaning, though visually there are some variations from the RWS norms. The backs have a gold pattern on a red background, and you cannot tell if the card is upright or reversed if they are face down. This deck does come with a LWB, which gives brief explanations of all upright and reversed meanings as well as instructions on a 10-card Celtic Cross spread.
One of the things that attracted me to this deck was the image in the Death card. In most decks of this type he is the stereotypical macabre skeleton trampling over the bones of those whose souls he has harvested with his scythe. I find that this image often causes new clients to panic if that card comes up in a reading, which can create barriers to them actually hearing what the card is about. In this deck, however, he is simply depicted on a green field; no skulls, no bones, in fact he could be cutting the grass rather than severing the soul from its mortal remains. While this may not suit everyone in terms of their reading style, I do find that it helps when explaining the transitional nature of this card.
The rest of the cards are illustrated in the same style, making them easy to see and work with. They are constructed from a good quality cardboard with a light gloss finish which, though grubby after so many years of being shuffled and used, are not showing any signs of bending or buckling despite the length of time they've been in my service.
These cards don't always crop up in smaller shops, though they are easy enough to find on larger online stores, and I find them a useful tool for general readings as well as those focusing on career and finance because of the use of the suit of coins rather than pentacles. For this reason I would recommend them for those of us who find the standard Rider-Waite decks a bit too standard and want something with a bit more personality.
Overall, they are a good, reliable deck suitable for relative beginners as well as more experienced readers.
Blessed be )0(