When I first beheld online images of this deck earlier this year, I drooled. I've always been drawn to computer-generated images, and my two favorite archetype decks are both computer generated. I was dabbling in traditional Tarot, and although I liked the concept of the deck I was using, the readings felt forced and uninspiring. Maybe Tarot wasn't for me? Maybe I should just stick with archetype decks?
Then I received The Quest Tarot. I was excited to finally get to see the entire deck and feel them in my hands, but my heart sank as I thought I wouldn't be able to use them. I guess I convinced myself I would never be able to understand or use traditional Tarot. I did a reading, not expecting them to "speak" to me. Boy, was I ever wrong--and wonderfully surprised! I have received eerily accurate readings every single time I've used this deck.
I had a misgiving about this deck, I admit. 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. I already felt like a Tarot failure--why would I want to add to it by mixing in things like the I Ching and Kabbalah?! 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. If you know nothing about these other divinatory elements, don't worry--I'm pretty clueless about Kaballah, runes, and I Ching myself. 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 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, with 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.
This deck 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. My husband is an artist, so I can't wait for him to draw up personal totems and symbols that I hold dear. The cards dimensions are approximately 4 ¾ x 2 ¾ inches, 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 (Disks) suit has been re-named Stones.
This deck 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 entering 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. I've found this a great feature that makes the card meaning readily recognizable--even if I'm just reading intuitively as opposed to taking the description in the book at face value.
Number 14, traditionally known as Temperance, is re-named Alchemy in this deck. Likewise, card number 20, Judgment, has been re-named Aeon.
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.
(To see 12 card images from this deck, visit the Reviews--Decks section at [...])
Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book: Picture the Past, Experience the Cards, Understand the Present (coming Fall 2008 from Hampton Roads Publishing)
on September 11, 2003
Whether this is your first Tarot deck or the newest addition to your Tarot collection, THE QUEST TAROT will soon become a trusted friend. The luminous graphics on each card open up multidimensional doorways to other worlds -- with meaningful constellations, rainbows, animals and flowers gracing many of the cards. This deck is instantly accessible, since each card contains a keyword along with it's name (such as "The Moon" -- "Dreams") for easy interpretation. In addition to providing regular tarot readings, THE QUEST TAROT cards are designed to help you foretell timelines, as well as include gemstones, rune stones, the I Ching, and Kabbalah in your readings. This deck also contains a couple of new cards: "The Multiverse," and a blank card.
What impresses me the most about the companion book is that the information for each card is perfectly aligned with the pages, so at a glance you can read all about each particular card without having to turn any pages. Joseph Ernest Martin demonstrates his creative, playful side by including several games to play with this deck -- everything from "Quest Tarot Poker" to "Truth or Dare!" My other favorite thing about the companion book is how clearly Martin describes techniques for getting the most insight from each of your readings -- "turbo-charging" them so they provide you with the most awesome insights.
If you've got burning questions, THE QUEST TAROT has the answers for you!
on September 8, 2006
These cards have saturated colors and artistic images but look very abstract, cold, small, and generally like something out of a science fiction flick. The people look like androids or something which i found particularly disturbing. The images are packed with tiny little, shadowy details jammed together inside even smaller frames. The author recommends that you read in dim lighting. I have no idea how anyone will make out those shadowy, cold, miniscule details in a dim room. i found myself straining to make out the tiny details even under bright lights.
The good thing about this deck is the features for yes no answers using the court cards and exact time answers if an ace falls propitiously in the reading. The other good thing about the deck though is the added gems, astrological, planetary and Hebrew significances added to the cards. I can only say, get a good magnifying glass.
I was very excited about getting the deck because the images looked so large and bright with rich saturated colors when enlarged online. Upon getting them though i was totally disappointed with the execution of the imagery. It is a marvelous approach and idea but the images are less than i expected. The suit images are neither intuitive nor have traditional significances. The cards are very hard to see and interpret and not at all intuitive.
Bottom line they need to redo the images and make them more opened up, brighter and larger. I think such jammed pack images would benefit from larger sized cards. They would feel more personal if there were people in the cards instead of androids. i also think they should be closer to the Rider-Waite significances, especially in the suit cards which are a particularly unintuitive presentation. The same space age slant is fine to a degree too if more humanized, intuitive and larger so you can see them. A novel idea and great attempt but not quite on the money.
on March 17, 2006
Just starting out in Tarot Cards - the book is so large and so full of different information that it can boggle a new beginner's mind. Having been in tarot cards for the past 3 months, I have begun to understand the different concepts of the horoscopes, the different stones, the planets, and signs for all of those previously named
Joseph Martin has wrote a very thorough and intense book on understanding the tarot. I loved the part where Mr. Martin says that we should treat our tarot cards with dignity and respect and they will always serve you well!
He has the planetary associations and symbols on the tarot cards and on page 10, he has the symbols for each of the planets and horoscopes. He has the minor arcana listed and the planets and horoscopes are explained in each of these cards. For instance , the Two of Wands = Mars in Aries Strength and assertiveness. Running over the tops of others. Not caring about others as you climb the ladder.
In this large and encompassing 296 pages of the Quest, he has such great depths of understanding the tarot! He has a chapter of gemstones, how to use the cards for yes and no answers. He has included a traditional Hebrew letters on the Major Arcana, a chapter on rune stones, and even a chapter on Tarot Party Games.
This book is worth it's money for it has so many options and ways for us to use his tarot cards for the "Quest." I would not hesitate to buy this book again!
on April 12, 2004
This lovely deck is pure eye candy but it has definite nutritional substance. Visionary Joseph Ernest Martin had created a visual feast of color, astrological signs, I Ching, rune stones, rainbows, animals, Kabbala, crystals and gemstones, a yes/no feature and much more! At last---a user-friendly tarot deck that is gorgeous, as well. No wonder it was snatched up like hotcakes in its first printing!
Joseph is an award-winning graphics and fine artist with gifted psychic abilities. Perfect combo for a near perfect tarot deck. The only tarot deck coming close to it in it's appeal to me is the Voyager deck. He has made it easier for the non-Tarot reader to actually be able to read a spread.
My favorite cards are the Multiverse, and the blank card, which I understand are two new cards to be added to any deck.
The more I play with this deck, the closer I get to actually wanting to learn the art of tarot reading. It is a most useful tool for delving into one's life in a multidimensional manner.
on January 30, 2005
In my mind, the Quest Tarot represents the epitome of the New Millennium, the 21st century as far as Tarot decks and books go. This compact deck of 80 cards fits neatly in even the smallest hands, making handling, shuffling and stacking effortless and enjoyable. Others must agree! The Quest Deck was the Winner of the 2004 Visionary Award of Excellence! The International New Age Tradeshow and the Coalition of Visionary Resources has just awarded Joseph Ernest Martin its highest honor for Best New Age Interactive Product of the Year. This special award is given at the Denver show each year to highlight the best in the New Age Industry. As well, this deck and book sold out in less than seven months and is now in its' second printing, with 15,000 copies in print.
Created by Joseph Ernest Martin and published by the well-established company, Llewellyn Publishing, this deck offers vivid, mesmerizing graphic images with tiny "extras" embedded in the mystical ornate borders. Joseph applies his mastery of art and design to create a deck that entices even the cynical to explore the mysterious and exciting world of the tarot.
The Quest Tarot deck has the same basic structure as more traditional tarot decks but introduces some unique surprises- instead of 78 cards in total, this deck features 80 cards, with 23 key Major Arcana (the 23rd extra card is numbered 0 - the same as the Fool, and is called the Multiverse) and 56 Minor Arcana cards, sorted into four suits.
The 80th card is a blank one called the Blank/Significator Card. Joseph describes this interesting extra as, "This card is included into the deck to be used in two ways. The First is to create a card that represents yourself in the Tarot. You can do this by any medium you choose. You can use paints, stickers, colored pencils, anything! Personalize this card so that it truly is the essence of who you are. The Second way is to create a card as an addition to the Tarot. I believe the Tarot is a ever changing journey. You can add to your journey by creating a card that fits a special need you wish to add to your Tarot Deck."
Joseph presents the cards in the suits Stones (Pentacles, Coins), Cups, Swords and Wands. The Trump Cards are labeled Mother, Father, Daughter and Son. The author deliberately placed the female family icons before the male which is a very unique departure from the traditional King, Queen, Knight and Page. He explains, "As we enter a period of feminine energy, I feel that it is important to have this deck reflect and utilize that power." He also stresses the importance of the family structure rather than using the stereotypic social class structure represented by monarchy.
The back of each card is decorated with symbols of the four elements: air, fire, earth and water as well as a mystical eye representing "being open to see the truth in all things," surrounded by radiating wavy lines which "represent the field of energy that we are all a part of."
The Quest Deck is truly a unique deck, offering many embedded features which add intrigue and knowledge to your tarot readings. The cards include astrological symbols, letters of the alphabet, Gemstones, I-Ching and Rune symbols, and Hebrew letters as well as special "Yes/No" features on the Trump Cards. This is absolutely the most diverse deck I have reviewed thus far!
Joseph includes a 312 page full sized book entitled, "The Compass Guide to the Quest Tarot" that is chock-full of interpretations, tarot spreads, information about the gemstones, astrological meanings of the cards, appropriate rune and IChing information, and true insight into the world of tarot. Joseph fully demonstrates his love and understanding of the tarot and presents this knowledge in a user-friendly and accessible manner. This book is truly a joy to read and digest!
I highly recommend the Quest Tarot - it makes the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one. It will appeal to the taste of people of all ages, and deserves a top spot in any tarot devotees' deck collection.
Review originally published at: BellaOnline Tarot [...]
on April 23, 2003
First of all, I should get the negativity out of the way: I think this deck sometimes does try to do too much (between its yes/no function, spelling out word function, I Ching correspondences, elemental correspondences, astrological associations, Rune correspondences, timeline function keywords, gemstone correspondences, energy chakra correlations, Hebrew alphabet correspondences, and then of course all the pictorial symbolism on each and every card). And I think the card stock itself is a little on the thin side (I like more durable cards).
That having been said, the deck and the book are a tour de force of its subject, incorporating every little bit of Western and Eastern esotericism in a way that's never before been attempted. One could spend years digesting the symbolism and wisdom present in these cards, and we should think of that as a good thing! Why limit ourselves to one spiritual tradition; I admire the effort to incorporate so many different religious paths into a single system, and I'm amazed that it comes together as coherently as it does.
The pictures are gorgeous (if a bit cramped in by all the associated symbolism - though still fully useable). In a way I wish this deck were available in a larger version (made of thicker stock), for then it would be that much more valuable. But even still I would recommend this for any serious Tarot user. The book and deck are worth the price, though I would caution people from being too tied down by all of the symbolism in the cards - I'm particularly suspicious of the bizarre mathematical "timeline" function. Still, despite its flaws, its strengths are such that you should own this deck!
on February 6, 2007
When I first saw this deck- I immeditally thought of it as being based fully on the Thoth deck due to the card set up. They are indeed very much alike- but honestly much in the way that the Marseilles, Waite and Thoth are alike. All derived from the same source...with very different end results.
Stock wise, the cards are very good quality- easy to shuffle and lay out, and quick to soften just enough to use without become so much so you're afraid they'll rip in half midshuffle. Their imagery is bright and captures the mind and imagination easily- very unusual for a computer generated deck. Generally I find those images to be cold and unappealing- but these have an unmistakable vibrancy and life to them I'm accustomed to seeing only in hand-drawn art. That alone makes it amazing to me.
But what is truly amazing: this deck is very much its own Tarot. It is not a clone of any of the big three (Marseilles, Waite and Thoth), though it shares similarities with the Thoth in the variety of symbolism used. If you are accustomed to the Thoth, you'll take to this deck readily-but be ready to completely rethink your understanding of the cards. This is not your 78 card, traditional tarot deck. There are 80 cards in all- and yes, even the blank card is used as part of the deck, not a replacement for a lost or damaged card. There is also the inclusion of a new Major Arcana beyond the typical 22.
In a land of cloned decks, where the only variance came in which deck was being copied in what style: the Quest Tarot was a sudden and welcome breath of fresh air.
If you are wanting to learn traditional Tarot, however- I very much do not recommend this deck. If you want one akin to it- I would suggest the Thoth or one of its descendant decks. If you are a veteran reader looking for something new or someone who wants to try what is looking to be a deck to challenge the hold the big three have on how we view Tarot: then by all means, this is a deck you want.
Be warned if you are used strictly to Marseilles or Waite, however, you're likely to have some difficulty sinking your teeth into this deck. As with the Thoth deck, there's a great many more meanings to the card than what you simply see at a passing glance. Runes, I-Ching, Kabbalah, and astrology all have their place in this deck as well, each with their own messages to weave into the cards' meanings. Even the gemstones that decorate the cards have their own meanings. It's well worth recording your results to go back and look at your first take on a reading and then what you see upon studying the symbols further. The depth it offers is amazing. Be prepared to do lots of studying to fully utilize this deck- and whatever you do, never let the book stray far. You'll need it to fully appreciate these cards unless you somehow master all schools of thought and knowledge presented in them.
on July 21, 2006
A couple of years ago, when I chose to start reading Tarot (having no clue what it was all about), I decided to shop around, to look at all different sorts of decks, and see which one(s) I was most drawn to...
I ended up w/ the Quest Tarot (w/ the book) because the traditional images (RWS, etc) just didn't do it for me, as I had absolutely NO interest in them!
Having read Tarot for a little over 2 years now, and having acquired, used, researched, seen, and been read from many, many different decks... The Quest Tarot is still my personal favorite!
In the beginning, having no prior knowledge of all the correspondences incorporated by this deck (I Ching, Runes, etc), I disregarded that information and focused on learning the cards themselves, and found this deck to be a wonderful inspiration for my intuition as well as imagination! Even with all the readings with this deck I've done, and all the times I've studied the cards individually, I always find something new - some hidden symbol in each one.
I would venture a guess that those who are sticklers for the 'traditional' images/meanings of the RWS probably will find this deck a bit too 'flashy', 'modern', or 'busy', unless they just happen to be drawn to CGI artwork and are willing to overlook the differences between the two...
But, I also think that the book, on it's own seperate from the deck, is a great tool for learning tarot (again, as long as you're not 'stuck' in RWS mode) and even more so, for learning about all the other systems included (Astrological Symbolism, Gem/Color Correspondences, etc).
Though I certainly WOULD recommend this deck to anyone (novice or advanced readers), more than anything, I would recommend looking around and finding decks you are drawn to, and then researching them (Aelectic.com) before buying!
on September 15, 2003
I like this deck, even though it does try too hard to be all things to all people. The cards are loaded with symbolism - I Ching, Yes/No symbols, traditional tarot figures, gemstones, the alphabet, Runes, etc. You can use the cards for simple yes/no questions, to spell out answers to questions, and to "play games" (as the companion book says). The images are computer generated but are still very appealing, and many of them are quite vibrant (with bright hues of pink and blue). The drawback I found was that many of the cards have the same meanings written underneath; I don't think the creator of the deck took too much time to give the deeper meanings that are usually associated with each card. The pluses with this deck are its diversity and the opportunity to try new types of readings; the companion book, which is very comprehensive and informative; and the website that accompanies the deck. I would recommend that you look at some images of the deck carefully before purchasing and only buy this deck if you like to mix symbolism, and don't mind a very nontraditional deck.