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Tarot Illuminati Kit Cards – May 8, 2013
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About the Author
Kim Huggens has been studying Tarot since the age of 9, and is the co-author of Sol Invictus: The God Tarot (Schiffer Publications, 2007) and in-progress companion deck Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot. She lives in Cardiff, UK, where she works as a veterinary receptionist part-time to fund her university studies in Ancient History. She moved to Cardiff in 2002 for her undergraduate degree in Philosophy, and also graduated with an MA in Religion in Late Antiquity from Cardiff University in 2007. Kim has given numerous talks and workshops on the subject of Tarot, divination, Paganism and mythology in the UK, and regularly runs Tarot courses. She is a practicing Vodouisante and Thelemite, and a member of the OTO. She lives with her partner and cat, and in her spare time plays Call of Cthulhu, Dungeons and Dragons, writes short fiction, goes for walks in graveyards and wishes she could translate Sumerian.
Erik C. Dunne is an artist who works on commisioned projects. He's traveled extensively, retracing the footsteps of legendary kings and queens, riding camels across the dunes of Persia, and galloping heavy steeds across fields of gold. A classically trained artist, his medium of choice is digital, where he has allowed his passion for costume design and his roots in the theater to lend their resounding voices to each and every card he creates.~
Top customer reviews
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Unfortunately, I was wrong on both counts. Not only is this deck not about secret societies or symbols, but also it was created before the author came on board for the project. (I found this out via the companion booklet, which states that the "panicked" illustrator needed an author to pen the text in a matter of weeks, so took to Facebook to put out a call to writers).
Although author Kim Huggens attempts to perpetuate the aura of "secret symbols" by saying the full-length companion book (Tarot Illuminati Revealed Complete Guide to Tarot Illuminati, available separately and only digitally) illuminates the multiple symbols embedded in each card, the sample chapter on the High Priestess--included at the end of the companion book--reveals merely the usual Rider-Waite-Smith motifs (moon, pillars, scroll, etc.).
The 160-page companion book to the Tarot Illuminati is full-color with glossy pages--a lovely presentation (despite spelling errors such as "peek" instead of "peak"), with each card's text giving a "voice" to its meaning (i.e. a first person narrative), as well as about a dozen Themes and Concepts (key phrases). I enjoyed the fresh take on the cards, a dialogue with the reader, even though the imagery itself is the same old Rider-Waite-Smith posing.
Some of the card images by Erik C. Dunne are stunning and vibrant, but the mishmash of CGI, cartoonish illustration and cut-and-paste collage has a jarring, skewed result. Some of the heads and hands are too small or large for the figures, and the photorealistic backgrounds (or actual photos) with detailed foreground smashes the planes together for a flat effect. (In sophisticated art, the background is more muted or faded, which produces visual depth). Some images are quite pixely (brown horse in The Chariot) and others appear to have design flaws (the vertical line going right down the middle of The Hierophant).
The Minor Arcana suits are conveyed with four ethnic groups/eras: Wands are Persian, Pentacles are Asian, Swords are Elizabethan England and cups are a "fantasy culture". Court Cards are Princesses, Princes, Queens and Kings. Huggens attributes Earth, Air, Water and Fire to each respective designation, but some Tarotists like myself attribute Fire to Knights (Princes) and Air to Kings (Kings)--and, really, this information unnecessarily complicates the text, especially for a general companion book.
While the opulent trappings of the cards--including shiny gilt edging and borderless imagery--will no doubt enamor some, the Tarot Illuminati just doesn't work for me (nor anyone I showed it to). I love the sturdy, magnetic box with the flip top lid and the looks of the slick companion book--Huggens truly has a gift for storytelling and her key phrases are excellent--but these positive elements aren't enough for me to like, or recommend, the deck itself. I've tried reading with it, and it says nothing to me.
There is truly nothing new here in terms of imagery, but if you like your Rider-Waite-Smith iconography warmed over for the millionth time via cluttered illustrations and bright colors, then you may want to give this deck a try.
TO SEE 18 IMAGES FROM THIS DECK, VISIT THE REVIEWS--DECKS SECTION AT JANETBOYER.COM
What I love: This is a beautiful deck. The colors! The lavish, sumptuousness feeling of the textures, costumes and details; the cat and the Queen of Wands; the Empress; the surprisingly wonderful feel of the cards and the beautiful gilt edges; borderless cards
What I don't love: The flat static quality of the deck was a shock in the midst of all that swirling energy and vibrancy; There is an "Aquarian Tarot" feel of some of the faces (a washed out misty feel) just doesn't fit with the richness of colors; the size of some of the heads were proportionally very small causing them to look peculiar; The imagery can be chaotic and unclear...the Chariot is the perfect example...don't quite know what's going on there and symbols get lost in translation...what's with those horses?; Really dislike the Star (a card I usually love), and the Devil; Lastly, there is a preponderance of platinum blonds throughout the deck that quite puts me off for some reason.
I am both drawn and not drawn to this deck so far, but I can't see myself using it for readings at this time. Maybe it will grow on me. I so wanted to love it.
The presentation box is lovely and the book is written very well. The gilt edges are beautiful, and, unlike some other reviewers, I received a perfect set without a flaw that I can see.
I think, as with all things, it is just a matter of personal taste. Though some of these cards are so pretty I would love to get prints of them, and some are just, well, not.
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Tarot Illuminati Kit