Deck Review: Tarot Illuminati

Hey guys! So I thought I should finally get around to reviewing this lovely deck. This is a brutally honest review, so be forwarned it’s going to sound unpleasent at some points just because my opinions can sound nasty at times. But I do love this deck!

Apologies ahead of time for shit pictures. I seriously spent hours trying to make them as perfect as I can. ❤

The Deets

This was created by Erik C. Dunne. It was published by Lo Scarabeo in 2013.

The deck is digitally created, in a collage-y type style. The colors are very rich, vibrant, saturated.

The book was written by Kim Huggens and is 157 pages.

There is a very in depth book available as e-book or paperback for $10/$20, I think.

The Full Dealio & First Impressions

23525815845_1c6f2e0f72_b

I got this kit off Amazon for ~$20. I was drunk when I opened it up and I couldn’t get over the incredible cardstock. And the shiny gilded edges. And holy shit how I love the lack of borders! Lovelovelove!

I was rather upset that a lot of the cards have some damage on them. It’s hard to explain, but on the edges of many cards are white… scratches? It makes the deck look a lot more worn than it is. I wonder if this was because the cards were all sticking to each other and seperating them hurt them a bit?

I was very impressed with the box though!

The Box

23499701576_b922c7dc3b_bThe box is super sturdy, very nice. All the gold parts are shiny like the card edges. It has a lovely image inside of the Ace of Pentacles and a nice ribbon to help get the cards out. I will certainly be trying to keep this box, no promises though as I’m still living in a motel and trying to keep baggage light.

The Book

The book is just as gorgeous as the box. Again, the gold parts are shiny like card edges but they’re also embossed! So there is a nice texture to the cover.

The pages are thick and glossy like a really nice magazine. The book is in full color!

There are 8 sections:

Forward

by Pamela Steele

Introduction

A nice alittle bit from the artist and explanation behind the title.

Using the Tarot Illuminati

4 spreads. They are so-so. There is one called “Lighting the Lantern” that confuses me because it doesn’t say what the spread is for. Meh.

How to Learn Tarot

Basic tips like keeping a journal, daily draws, etc.

Major Arcana

Each Major Arcana has a full 2 page spread, one with a full color image of the card, and the other has a huge chunk of flavor text and then a section for “Themes and Concepts”.

23443166581_1f1ed44cd2_b

I do not like the flavor text. Its very dulldrum to try to read. I’d prefer to see actual useful text there. But the Themes & Concepts sections are very nice, very helpful to have if you need to look something up real quick.

Minor Arcana

23443142891_24e324e0de_b

The Minors get 1 page each. Again, the flavor text is just not cool but the Themes & Concepts section is very nice to have.

Court Cards

Appendix

Card Spotlight

OK these pictures are extra terrible. Click on the pics to see them in more detail.

Here are just 3 cards that I kind of poke fun at everytime I see them:

23418340462_0b34fef357_b

Ace of Wands: Holy shit dat arm anatomy

Temperance: The head:body ration on some cards is… distracting.

The Lovers: SUPER SAIYAN HAIR LOL I have a hard time taking this one seriously.

Here are 3 cards that illustrate one aspect of the art that I don’t like, the sore-thumb-collagey look.

22898515984_b25cf0907f_b

7 of Wands: You can’t even tell here but his face is a completely different color from his body and it’s really distracting.

8 of Wands: Again, his face reallys stands out and looks like a photograph. Maybe it is. But it sticks out like a sore thumb.

9 of Cups: That face just creeps me the fuck out.

Here are 3 more cards that illustrate the other problem I have with the art, the uncomfortably ugly.

23158618969_5a930b3a25_b

All off these and many more: Ugh. The art is harsh, a little painful and just… ugly. It’s too much… something. The textures and details? I can’t quite put my finger on it. But somehow they are still pretty…

And finally, the last 3 to show off ar the pretty cards!

22898239304_d616cc73a0_b

All of these and a few others: Unfortunately there are my ugly and eh, whatever cards than the very beautiful cards. It’s almost like maybe he changed techniques or something? Or maybe it was intentional? I’m not sure but there’s something about these. They’re smooth and soothing.

Comparison

I only have 2 other decks on me and I failed at a proper size comparison but perhaps you’ll find some use in these photos:

23443234901_d69a87f1f7_b

Tarot of the Vampyres, Tarot Ulliminati, Universal Waite

23229911520_fb854ca43b_b

dat shine tho

Final Thoughts

Holy shit I love this deck.

Pros:

  • Very beautiful, despite the “ugly” cards
  • Very easy to read, familiar Rider-Waite imagery
  • No borders!
  • Gilded edges (it’s my first gilded deck, can you tell?)
  • Very lovely backs
  • Just overall very magical transporting vibe.

Cons: 

  • Damaged edges on many cards?
  • Hard to shuffle because of thickness and size
  • Some of the art is hard and hard to look at
  • Some parts of cards are just silly and kind of break the mood
  • Mostly shit book. Almost would prefer a LWB.
  • Cards still stick together sometimes though that will probably get better

Overall rating: 9/10

Yes, that high of a rating despite all my bitching and moaning about the art and the book. I got this deck hoping maybe I can somewhat retire my Universal Waite as my main deck and I think it’ll work perfectly. Even the “bad” art is gorgeous (I know that doesn’t make sense), and it’s just so pleasent to work with! And it really does have a pleasent light-in-the-darkness vibe to it.

So yes… if you don’t have this deck, you probably really should get it.

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Omg! I just got this deck yesterday and was totally caught off guard by having to pull apart each card, ultimately damaging a lot of the edges. 😦 I was so sad! I love the deck to pieces, though. Really hoping it works out for you!

    Like

  2. I like this deck a lot, and I even got the app version of it. I heard Erik C. Dunne is working on a seqaul called Tarot Apokalypsis, which will come out in July 2016. I’m not sure if it’s going to worth $35 though. XD;

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s