Newest Additions to the Deck Family

It’s true: more decks! Let’s meet the newbies:


Tarot to Go by Mary Hanson-Roberts and Rosalind Simmons;  Peter Pauper Press, 2002

Tarot to Go by Mary Hanson-Roberts and Rosalind Simmons; Peter Pauper Press, 2002

I’ve avoided the Hanson-Roberts since the beginning of my tarot collecting for several reasons:

  • It isn’t different enough to add anything special to my collection;
  • it’s a RWS clone and myself and the strictly RWS decks don’t see eye-to-eye;
  • and it’s simply too milktoasty for my tastes.

However, I’ve wanted a mini deck for a long time, but have never found the right one for the right price. Lo and behold, I have $10 left on a gift card and there’s the Tarot to Go mini Hanson-Roberts! It’s mini, but not ridiculously so (it does come in a stupidly small keychain edition if anyone wants to invite that teeny tiny drama into their lives) and comes with a hardcover, full colour book in a lovely box.

This is a deck often favoured for reading where the querent/s might be intimidated by traditional tarot imagery ie. the Big Bad 3. The coloured pencil images have a very storybook feel to them, both in texture and in the rendition of people. There are many depictions of chubby-cheeked, smiling children (and even more scary hair don’ts *cough* Queen of Pents’ 70’s shag-‘fro); the people on the Death card look like they’re sleeping; the Hierophant looks like Santa. I’ve seen it described as “gentle” more times than I know; “perfect for readings with children”. I have only one thing to say:

XV The Devil - Mini Hanson-Roberts Tarot by Mary Hanson-Roberts; Peter Pauper Press, 2002

XV The Devil – Mini Hanson-Roberts Tarot by Mary Hanson-Roberts; Peter Pauper Press, 2002


No matter how “gentle” and “approachable” the deck may be, that Devil is the stuff of childhood nightmares! When I hold the deck in my hand, I can feel its strength. I think readings with it will be honest almost to the point of “brutally” so; not through a deliberate attempt to hurt or throw its weight around, but because sometimes you need the truth and sometimes the truth hurts.


Enchanted Map Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid; Hay House, 2011

Enchanted Map Oracle by Colette Baron-Reid; Hay House, 2011

Another one I never expected to own, but between most of the greatly-anticipated new releases I was waiting for being disappointing once they were released, and seeing other bloggers working with this deck… Enchanted Map Oracle it was!

This oracle is substantial at 54 cards, with lots of room for variety in readings. There are a few “white-lighty” type cards, but they are in the minority and surprisingly so, given that this is a Hay House publication. I find most of them to be quite strong actually, and some even powerful; the “Home” card shown above just grabs me and won’t let go. There is a high level of whimsy and fantasy, but it isn’t empty; there is purpose and meaning behind the choices. The accompanying book is comprehensive – and did I mention that the cards have gilded edges? That was a nice surprise!

Magic Mentha has done several readings using this deck, for the curious.


The Universal Wirth Tarot has been on my list since before I even got serious about tarot, but has been bumped down in priority whenever a shiny new deck came along. Faced with a lack of shiny new decks that appeal to me, the UW finally gets its chance to impress.

Universal Wirth Tarot by Giordano Berti & Stefano Palumbo; Lo Scarabeo; 2008

Universal Wirth Tarot by Giordano Berti & Stefano Palumbo; Lo Scarabeo; 2008

The Universal Wirth is a modern reworking of the Oswald Wirth Majors, combined with Eudes Picard-like Minors. I say those words, but they don’t mean much to me (bad tarotista, learn your histories!); I only know the deck isn’t a popular/widely used one. The Minors are illustrated pips – symbolic, more than scenic. The distinguishing feature of this deck is its reversal of the elements in Cups and Swords. There are several decks where Wands and Swords are switched, but the only other one where Cups and Swords trade places – that I know of – is the Crystal Tarot (which, incidentally, is also on my list).

There is something so right about this change to me, though I haven’t examined it closely enough to explain yet. I find the Suit of Swords especially beautiful and evocative. It might actually be a synesthesia thing: the Minors are “audible” to me; very atmospheric. Just don’t ask me about the nasty cut worms on the 6 of Wands that bring back many shudder-inducing childhood memories.

I trimmed this deck of its white borders as soon as I got it. There was no time for dalliance – the cards were suffocating in those nasty girdles! I swear I heard them sigh with relief with every stroke of the blade. However, they requested that their corners not be rounded. I agreed to provisionally give it a shot, provided we don’t run into any chipping or palm-stabbing issues. Trimmed, the cards make me think of illustrations from an alchemical notebook or something similar; they seem quite functional.

I am well pleased to have finally caved on this one.

And now…


Barely-contained corseted breastesses!Eyeliner running dramatically!Palpable WOE and DESPAIR!Creepy clown children! The Ludy Lescot Tarot has it all – and MORE!

No but seriously, check out that 3 of Swords. Ludy Lescot Tarot by  Patrizio Evangelisti; Lo Scarabeo, 2011

No but seriously, check out that 3 of Swords. Ludy Lescot Tarot by Patrizio Evangelisti; Lo Scarabeo, 2011

This is the deck that Hot Topic would have sold by the shed-load at the height of the 4th (? 5th?) wave of goth fashion c. 2002-ish. It is SO over the top stereotypically baby brat-goth – right down to the glowy purple ankh on the box – that it comes full circle to being tongue-in-cheek. I laughed so hard when I saw the card images that I obviously had to have it.

The premise of the deck is that it was designed by Ludy Lescot, a prominent tarot reader in New Orleans, who submitted her idea to Lo Scarabeo. The LWB tells Ludy’s story in delightfully translated English and it is all quite clearly a fantastic story, which only adds to the charm of the deck. Even the card descriptions are /deep & meaningful/, like fortune cookies designed by an emotionally-compromised teenager (hell, it’s probably definitelyembarassingly similar to something my 17-year-old self would have put together).

So let me tell you, I was shocked – shocked! I say! – when I took the cards out of the box and found them… remarkably gentle (there’s that word again). I was expecting to find angsty tears dripping from every card, but… I think the deck is quite serious about what it can do. It might be a very useful deck for shadow work, particularly in areas dealing with the ego and its irrational need to feel pain (that hot, searing pain that feels better than feeling nothing at all). The card images aren’t reversed, so much as they are twisted. It’s actually a very interesting treatment when you sit down and really look at the cards.

Looking forward to reading with Mlle LL; I’m sure I’ll be just shocked.


And finally, the jewel in the crown, the Tarot Illuminati (in kit format).

Let the splendour envelop you... Illuminati Tarot by Eric C. Dunne and Kim Huggens; Lo Scarabeo, 2013

Let the splendour envelop you… Illuminati Tarot by Eric C. Dunne and Kim Huggens; Lo Scarabeo, 2013

It’s a collage deck.

A photo collage deck.

A RWS photo collage deck.

And yet I snapped it up as soon as I could.

“But Dee, how the hell did that happen?” you might ask, and I’ll reply, “What are you, BLIND??” The colours, the details, the dynamic imagery – it washes over you in truly Baroque waves of splendour. You might think that it’s all too much of a muchness – all that endless fuss and ocean of colours – but it works. It even has gilt edges. Gilt edges *swoon* And honestly, digital images don’t do the Illuminati justice; I very nearly cried when I opened it up, I was so overcome by how beautiful this deck is.

The vibe I get from the Illuminati is that it is a very confident deck; that it has a good sense of self. I expect it will give consistently honest readings, without a need to prove how “tough” it is, nor a tendency to sugar-coat things to curry favour. Being a borderless deck, the cards flow into each other when laid out in a spread (there will also be no need to trim!) Considering how many colours there are – no one central theme – it’s been interesting to see how a certain colour can dominate a reading nonetheless.

It comes packaged in a sturdy box with a full colour booklet written by Kim Huggens. The book is actually useful (!) and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the extended guide in print (only available in digital edition at the moment). Oh – the deck is named “Illuminati” for being “made of light”; no reference to the Illuminati, if anyone was wondering.

For a more in-depth and gushingly enthusiastic review, please visit Le Fanu’s Curious Cabinet.

I welcome your angry comments of enablement, as always. Please, don’t hold back ;D

27 thoughts on “Newest Additions to the Deck Family

    • submerina says:

      The little book isn’t bad. The meanings are concise, basic RWS, but tailored to suit the Hanson Roberts. I’m really quite impressed with the whole little package.

      Would you like a reading? Pick your deck (not the Ludy Lescot) and question :)


  1. Thalia says:

    Oh I love your readings gurl so sign me up!

    So does he loooooooooove me???

    Hanson-Roberts was my first deck but somewhere along the Fool went missing I think, so I don’t use it. Which deck of yours would you say gives you the best/clearest readings? I swear I can’t tell if the Sun and Moon is trolling me half the time. It can be such a pain in the ass.


  2. D. D. Syrdal says:

    The rich colors on the Illuminati are my weakness. Haven’t got it yet, my collecting has to be curtailed for awhile. The thing I could never get past on the HR is the title ‘plaque’ on the cards. I find it very distracting. I agree that it’s not all that ‘child-friendly.’ The only deck that always seems to kick me in the teeth is Thoth. I feel like I’m asking advice from the Hell’s Angels.


  3. JJ says:

    Well, I don’t have any of those decks! I haven’t seen too many good ones recently except the Tarot of the Absurd. I bought two animal ones that I was just delighted with: Blue Dog Rose Tarot and the Animal Wisdom Tarot.

    Glad you have a fresh infusion for your creative mind.


  4. maybefrench says:

    I must say, from all the newbies ( hello by the way ) I’m surprise by the Ludy Lescot ( I heard it was a pen name, a false story, I hope it is not ’cause this is a nice one ) being somehow gentle. I’ve always been curious about it. Glad you tried it before me XD

    I have the Enchanted Map Oracle and I liked it at first but I just can’t anymore. Somehow, I’m just … so … I don’t know, all that positivity ain’t sticking with me. Plus, I always get the Frozen Past card … “U the frozen one deary-deck ?” People seems to love it and get accurate reading from it. It is often opposed to the Tea Leaf Cards Oracle which I prefer no matter what. So the poor Enchanted Map is lost somewhere. With such a name, I really hoped it was ’bout maps :( I love maps.

    And whatever you say about Illuminati, I’ll keep not loving it and not wanting it for a certain time. ‘Cause I’m a stubborn and kiddy person sometimes. Nah.

    And if you feel like doing a full intuitive reading, please do !


  5. hersixthcircle says:

    Ooooh, so many interesting new additions! Why is it that I am so intrigued by the Tarot To Go? The art style (at least from what I can see here) just appeals to me, I suppose. Those colors! And whoa, how did I not realize the Tarot Illuminati is a PHOTO COLLAGE deck?! Yeah, that is masterful right there.

    I feel WAY too gluttonous asking for one of the 4 available readings (I’m still processing the last one), so hopefully someone else will jump at the opportunity!


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