Thursday, January 24, 2013

Deck Review: The Archeon Tarot

The Archeon Tarot

If your dark side is itching to be scratched, then you’ll want to take a long, hard look at the Archeon Tarot deck.  I’m not usually attracted to very dark decks like this one, but it has gained a special place in my tarot collection. It also is one of the decks most beloved by my favorite store owner, Rev. Samantha Harey, and she encouraged me to add it to my ever-growing tarot box.

I wouldn’t recommend this deck for beginners at all. Most of the Rider-Waite imagery is not present. This not to say that the cards are meaningless at all; however, you may find yourself giving readings that are more biased toward negative outcomes. Make sure you’re considering both the dark and the light when this deck comes out to play.  

Many of the Major and Minor Arcana cards have nude figures which are very tastefully portrayed; this is not an erotic tarot deck at all. Sadly, most of the unclad figures are women; you’ll have to go with something a little more racy for male frontal nudity.

The cards are a combination of drawings and photographs, and despite the lack of RWS tarot imagery, I am impressed with the composition of each card.  The Chariot, for example, has a nude woman as its central figure, standing between a blue horse and a red horse. The full moon is behind her, and the artist did keep the image of the stars (which on the Rider-Waite appear in the blue canopy of the Chariot) as symbols of constellations in the background of the cards. These constellations and the moon also appear on several other cards, like The Star.  The Devil depicts a nearly naked man (the darkness hides much of him) with a very seductive look on his face, an almost impish grin. He will definitely remind you of Pan. And the one Major Arcana card that is supposed to give you a little nervous rush, the Tower, really fails to do so; I must admit that disappointed me a little bit.

The court cards all seem very serious; it is hard to see these cards as happy people at all. The Queen of Swords, for example, looks much more unhappy than her Rider-Waite counterpart, while her sister, the Queen of Wands, can’t even manage a smile.

 My favorite card in this deck is The World, which has one of the brightest images in the entire deck. It depicts a huge tree with bright orange leaves that takes up almost the entire card beneath a starry sky. It exudes a sense of calm completion.

This deck is not for everyone, but if you’re doing introspective work or readings for yourself (during the dark moon, ideally!), you may find it rather useful. I have found that many clients who are experiencing adversity in their lives tend to gravitate toward it. 

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