13 September 2016

RIP K. Frank Jensen

Today I learned that the tarot world has lost one of it great names, collector, researcher and collector of tarot especially (and other into the mantic instruments).

He has left his impressive collection to the University of Roskilde where it is being lovingly cared for and being studied - a great legacy from a great man.
You can read more about this among other places in this place by the lovely curator of his collection Camelia Elias the link is here

Another great place to learn about the man, his work, his passion and his collection is this great site he build with Arnel Ando, the site is here

05 September 2016

Tarot of the Holy Light - Black & White Edition

A long, long time ago (so begin many fairy tale  - but this is more of a love story) I received and blogged the original Tarot of the Holy Light and click I fell for it! (you can find my post about it here)

It was, and still is a great deck deep, mystical, esotheric but without feeling heavy or threatening, during chats with the lovely Christine Payne-Towler I discovered there was an earlier ediotion of the deck in black and white in booklet format, and in a very limited printrun of only 150 (and yes off course I have it)! When posting my blog-post on Facebook, it sparkled quite  the attention and desire with people, what is always nice - the feeling you can at the same time share your love for something with others and at the same time giving a warm feeling and exposure to the artists who created it.
Somewhere in that Facebook thread the possibility was mentioned of a black and white version, liked by many both on the public as on the creators side.

Fast forward a few years, and yes it has finally materialized - a first (very limited) black and white version of the Tarot of the Holy Light is in my possession - and hopefully in those of many more who share my warm feelings with this deck.

There are many differences between this and the colored deck, some subtle others less. First there are the cards themselves a bit smaller than the color print and without the textured card-stock, but once again a good quality one. As these are the images as created before they did the coloring they are not all identical, some small details in some, some lines, ornaments missing, some line work more or less drawing the attention, so it's fun to seek the differences - what is less easy than I thought at first - and to  add to the clarity and readability the titles are now below the image instead of within it.

A curious thing about the first print-run of 50decks is that although it was printed in b&w there is a blue line around the 2 of Disks - so this printing will be allowed to go out with this peculiarity. As Christine said: " Perfection is for ninnies!", and it makes those an extra bit special!

Interested in the deck, contact Christine & Michael through their website, they will be eager to help you (and for those wondering if the deck is to deep or complicated there is an entire book with lots of  information available) 

Everybody (Stefan's Back)"

Hey, yeah
Oh my God, I'm back again
Brothers, sisters, everybody sing
Gonna bring the decks....
Oke enough craziness, but yes it's really is true, after a break of more than a year, and for the third time I'm back to my blog! This time for good (for the better or for the worst, I'm going for it)

So hold on and watch as I show you some new treasures and yes even a scoop!

26 June 2015

Oliver Hibert's Minor Arcana

The Waite-Colman tarot is one of the most copied, adapted, changed or used as a base for another deck, yet each year new 'clones' keep on popping up and flooding the marked. Some of these are illegal copies, other have had more work done upon them, and that is the least you could say of this deck!

More than just another remake or reinterpretation, this is a rejuvenation and the energy just jumps of off every card now (not only the energy but also the colours,this is definitely not a deck for wallflowers but for man and woman who dare to make a statement.

The card are small-sized high quality cardstock, it is the kind of deck you can easily put in your pocket or small purse or jacket pocket or...and then in one move flip them out in the open and dazzle or shock your compagny (or do both at the same time even).

For the moment it's an majors only deck only, but the artist Oliver Hibert is working on the full 78 cards and hopes to have them out in the latter part of 2015, available from it's publisher Von Zos (where you can already get the majors only now and get a reduction when you get the minors when they become available)

26 April 2015

The Marcel Ruijters' Tarot

Aaanddd...I'm back, yes once more I'll try to resurrect my blog, once more I want to reach out to the tarot-community and share my 'babies' with all of you out there.So for my first installment in a very long time  I've chosen something special, with both a bite and a laugh.

Earlier this year cartoonist Marcel Ruijters has published in cooperation with the Dutch publisher Sherpa, his interpretation of the tarot in a 80 cards deck, in a very limited edition of only 50 decks.
But it was not it's first print-run, in it's first incarnation the deck was a hand screened, majors only + 2 extra cards deck published by 'Le Dernier Cry' an independent publisher specialized in the bizarre, the unusual, the alternative.

Between both editions there are not only many years but also some changes.
The most noticeable differences between both editions are in language, in size and hue, where in the first edition the cards where big bold and in fluo colours, in the 2014 edition we get cards in standard tarot size and more earthy natural tones. Over the years many cards also underwent change, where redisigned, some depict completely different scenes even between both print-runs, like the  lovers seen here under

The decks are executed in his personal modus of expression: his images are a mix of medieval woodcuts, magic, the surreal and absurd, a style he pulls of consequently through all 78 cards.
Where the major arcana differs most from the standard, both in numbering and imagery the minors are more like a personal reinterpretation of the decks we know, with a personal cheeky re-imagination, a deck with a tongue in cheek sense of humor and one I can appreciate, or what do you think of the cards below?

For those who love this deck enough to want one, I have good news, I've spoke to Marcel and he told me that they are about to publish more decks through printing on demand.For those who want to know more, you can ask Marcel he is on faceBook 

and what better way to end my first post in a very very long time with the 2 extra cards from the deck

10 October 2014

The Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads

Last year James R. Eads had a kickstarter campaign entitled "The Visions Project: Tarot Cards & Art Prints" to publish his 79 cards deck in a bi-chrome scheme, a modern reinterpretation of th WCS deck and also a majors only + extra card prints set that are a color reworking of that deck with some other changes, tweaking - now he's back with the follow up on that project so to speak, the "The Prisma Visions Tarot".

First let's begin with the beginning,  the Light Visions tarot (first self published as a major arcana deck before the kickstarter project and than as the 79 cards deck, both OOP now), a very nice deck that is modern yet ancient at the same time, technological as natural. The both the modern as the technological parts can be seen in the contemporary some/many re-workings of the tarot archetypes like the chariot that became a car coming towards us,from the left to the right hand side of the card, the ancient feeling comes from the technique used: hand drawn images in a style that are reminiscent of old woodcut blocks. The 2013 kickstarter campaign was to fund that deck and the Prisma Visions Collection, 22 majors plus the extra card that flowed from those images, similar, but different, not only because those are giclee prints but they underwent some evolution.

Take for example the chariot here below where the Prisma Visions version not only gained colors but also in dynamism due to the headlights being turned on.

And now James is back for a full 79 cards version of the Prisma Visions, as with the Light Visions tarot there is an 'interesting 'thing' with the minors arcana, if you put every card of a suit one next to it's predecessor it forms one single continuous scene, for now only the suits of Chalices and wands are ready.

Take a look at his project here and if it's anything it looks like and the quality as high as the previous (of what i have no doubt) this will be a winner (in a way it already is having more than doubled the artist's funding goal)

08 October 2014

Alice tarot by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov

Baba studio has done it again, after many years passionate work this summer they have finally published what was one of the most anticipated deck of the year, and it is good, very good even!

Many have been talking, waiting, wanting this deck ever since it was first mentioned and the number of individuals interested only rose despite it's long genesis, the longest in the very successful parcours of Baba stdio  must say...and once it was available for pre-order I jumped on the occasion to obtain it (as many others did), the best proof it how successful it is, is the fact that the deluxe limited edition, despite its price  is already sold out! But was it worth it or is it just one of those hypes the tarot world has? My answer is simple: YES it is worth.

A work of love and dedication combining the tarot with Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass by means of collage art, a technique they have proven in the past to master at a very high degree. Due to the source material and the understanding Karen and Alex have of the tarot this deck resulted in more than just another WCS-clone with happens to be Alice themed, no this is a fresh exciting cross-fertilization between the two resulting in a 'child' that will fill you with wonder, and make you wonder if the Cheshire Cat was correct when  saying "Oh, you can't help that. We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
But then (some) madness never hurt, and where the artist and geniuses not considered mad by those who did not understand them?

It is a nice tradition at Baba to have 2 variations of a card, in the Alice these are 2 lovers cards, both very nice and very different from your 'classic' lovers.
One card is the The Walrus and the Carpenter. the other is showing flamingo's whatever version you choose to use (or be bold and use both) they will make an interesting impact on your view of the lovers.

Both editions the Limited and the 'normal' version use the same images with metallic ink to highlight elements and/or parts of the cards (or in some even up to 90% of the image), both use the same high quality card-stock with a carbon inner layer to protect against bending and creasing, etc...
So in what do the editions differ? Well both editions have a different back, a different size (Limited edition 65 x 100 mm , about 6.5 x 4 inches and the Standard deck 28 x 78 mm (about 5 x 3 inches) and also the limited edition came in  a nice wooden box with the deck inside it also protected by a hand-sewn fold-over pouch in pure silk dupion and printed satin, the standard comes in the same kind of hinged box we came to appreciate from them.

You can still by the standard editions at the shop, it is not  a mass-market deck so  it will not be available via mass-market sellers. For our convenience the Baba Studio shop has now been divided into an European and an international part the main address remains the same  and there you will be redirected.

05 August 2014

Trionfi della Luna by Patrick Valenza open for pré-orders

I'm back with a new post after being absent for far to long it seems...and you know what? I'm happy I am, always found happyness and yes even some pride in doing it (and why shouldn't I?)

And what better way to start than with the same kind of announcement of my last post here, so many months ago, namely the news a deck that many in the tarot community have been looking forward to, has reached the point that it's ready for pre-order. The deck in question is the 'Trionfi della Luna' (formerly known under its working title 333 Tarot) created by the same artist who brought the 'Deviant Moon Tarot' some 6 years ago. Where the Deviant Moon was a slick polished deck with a quirky dark side this new creation of his is more wild, medieval with a naughty a bit more than just tongue in cheek kind of humor - something that I can appreciate!

The first limited print-run of just 100 decks is now open at the artist's website

The deck has 28 cards (22 majors + 6 bonus cards and follows the TdM structure, one more interesting detail to me)

I'd say take at least a look and who knows those demons might entice you, bewitch your spirits

16 October 2013

Bohemian Gothic Tarot third edition is open for pre-order

In case you didn't notice one of my favourite gothic decks, is almost back in print!
I'm not the only one loving it that much judging the attention it gets on tarot groups and forums all around,and prices it fetches on eBay once it goes OOP, so there will be a lot of people happy (and this just in time for the holidays) .

This third edition had just like the second one (and as will all decks by Karen & Alex before being re-published in a new edition) under gone some changes, some subtle rather tweaking others are more noticeable and some can already be seen at Baba Studio's facebook page - here.

Like the first and the second edition that had 2 'formats' (for the 1st a normal and a sliver edition, and for the 2nd a normal and a deluxe version with pewter/silver edges) this 3rd edition comes also in 2 different shapes a normal deck and a mini deck with foiled silver backs.

You can pre-order the deck directly at Baba Store here and to sweeten the deal not only you get  a pre-order discount on the deck but also on their wonderful limited edition Bohemian Gothic tarot bags with an "authentication" ribbon tag.

03 October 2013

Russian Tarot by Boris Monosov

This charming and Russian deck not only in name but also in looks is one of the latest East European tarot’s to find a home in my collection and urging me to show it off to those visiting my blog.

As with (almost) all decks originating from that part of the world information about it is scarce to put it lightly, I suppose part of that fact can be traced back to the use of the Cyrillic alphabet, but still I did the very best I could and found some data about it.

The inspiration and system behind it is from Boris Monosov’s, a Russian mage and founder of the "school of magic Atlantis" the artist who drew the cards being Anastasia Nikolaeva.From what I gather the deck was printed in 1994 by Skyline Courier to be used for meditation and energy workings by the students of Monosov's mystery school.

In 2011 the deck was re-published by the Russian publisher Vector and sometime later became accessible to us here in the west, mainly thanks to eBay sellers from that part of the world.

So far for the history part of the deck, now the images themselves, the style and colors breathe a Russian atmosphere that is immediately recognizable, simple yet strong with colors that jump directly at you an effect that is made even more potent due to the use of large white sections within the images.

According to the Russian information I found the deck is WCS-based, yet when opening the box and looking at it, the first impression was more of a TdM based one, perhaps an hybridization of those mixed with Mr. Monosv's own vision??

One other thing I could gather and that may shed an interesting light upon this deck is the fact that many majors have been renamed to fit Monosov's system, some corresponding to the traditional meanings, others less.
The new names (translated by Google) being:
1)  Creator
2)  Cognition
3)  Matter
4)  Will
5)  Consciousness
6)  Inclination
7)  Achievement
8)  Force
9)  Spirituality
10) Fate
11) Law
12) Object
13) Destruction
14 Transformation
15) Dependence
16) Return
18) Development
19) Word
20) Update
21) Success
22) Illusion

02 October 2013

The 2014 Lo Scarabeo catalogue

Lo Scarabeo one of the big publisher is back with it's catalogue to showcase it's products for 2014 (not only their tarots)

When you take a look at it they have come a long way from a small publishing house specialised in art decks to now publishing a wide range of tarots and oracles (and connected products) in a plurality of styles and themes - and as with all years there are the decks that are going to be loved and other despised, lovers and haters galore!

Personally I already  have made my choices (yes indeed I do no longer buy everything I come across as I did many years ago) , I'm curious what are the ones that will be a hit and those that will be a miss.....

You can see and download the catalogue here

01 October 2013

The Portland Tarot Major Arcana Deck

I'm back and with a new funding campaign for a deck I would like see to happen.

After selling out the first edition of her deck, the artist is trying to gather the money to do an other print-run of her modern fun and vibrant majors deck.
Using digital collage she mixed views the city of Portland, Oregon in the USA with dynamic looking interpretations of the tarot-personages.

This new edition is an updated version of the first edition with:

  • 23 4" x 6" major arcana cards with unique, digitally-collaged artwork (the more-or-less usual 22 plus a new "The Weird" card)
  • 3 "Bridge Cards" with reading themes (great for use by pro Tarot readers)
  • An instruction booklet with basic Tarot reading instructions and 23 interpretations
 You can find the fund-raiser here

19 September 2013

Mon Tarot De Marseille by Tarotland (Emmanuelle Patrigeon)

I LOVE the tarot de Marseille pattern, in all it's facets from the reproduction (cleaned up or facsimile of the state they are now) to the most modern interpretations of it, and although I'm always hunting for new decks (my name is Stefan and I'm a tarot-holic) I must admit finding one that is part of the Marseilles family procures me some extra pleasure, perhaps because perhaps 1/5 decks (or even less) that come out are Marseilles.

Not as much a radical reinterpretation but more of a up to date view of the age old imagery, this deck has potential to open the TdM to new audiences it's not an earth shocking or complicated or even threatening deck but one that has commercial potential.

The thing that may bring new curious persons to the Marseilles is the one thing that makes it different from it's 'ancestors'  fresh vibrant colors, for the minors backgrounds that are not white or beige and above all the cards have something dynamic, opposed to the 'classic' TdM that for many look static that seems to keep many at a distance.

Off course this deck has it's weaknesses also (at least to me, but then who am I? What I may find a negative, others might be raving enthusiastic about...) and the biggest thing that bugs me is the use of a computer program style poser or alike to create the persons in the deck, such programs have grown a lot these last years, I can clearly see that when I order decks created by this precede in chronological order, yet still the lack something that makes the cards 'come' alive or pull me in the same way the original naive yet charmingly imperfect century old decks can.

From what I gather from her site the artist she was both inspired by the tradition with she followed and brought into the 21st century and  added her views upon it,  represented by the journey of the fool (the classic part) and she augmented it with the 12 works of Hercules representing to her the journey of the soul towards growth.

You can get the deck at the artists site here

08 August 2013

Born in the USSR by Alexander Daniloff

True artists can never stay still our without creating anything for a long period, and behold less then a year after finishing and publishing his 81-card deck  (both Justice and Strength are twice in the deck both once at 8 and 11) he has managed to paint a new major arcana.

This arcana looks different than his previous creations, yet if one really looks closely at it one can easily identify them as both having the same author, or is it the authors Russian/East-European origins that shine through in both - or both artist and his roots that materialise into the finished works.

As the artist describes it himself as following: "Born in the USSR" is a series of Major Arcana inspired by Soviet propaganda posters of the '20s and '30s. Represents the human enthusiasm for the construction of a better future, a future so far away not to leave anything for the present, that turns into a nightmare.".....and continues with his experience and view upon that: "... is a look at the past of my country* many years later. The past quite sticky, still following us continuing to offer the splendor of the future for to rob us the present"
Whow what a definition, what a statement, and surely something that creates BIG expectations...well in my perception it does fulfil those perfectly!

The artist is not planning to expand the deck beyond the majors, nor is a publication something for the near future, it is only a project for the moment being, but who knows what the future may bring us, it just may be written in the cards...

You can admire this deck at his website here

* Daniloff was born in Donetsk (USSR) in 1963, and did his studies at the Theater School of Niznij Novgorod (Russia) in 1990, and successfully exhibited  both in Russia and abroad. In 2000 Daniloff moved to Rovigo in Italy.

05 August 2013

De Grote Arcana Van Doetie Spinder (Doetie Spinder's Great arcana)

This is one of those decks that I fell in love with more then a decade ago when I started collecting and have finally, finally succeeded in obtaining  (it seems that many rare and OOP or Limited Edition decks are surfacing lately, good for my less for my credit card).

Miss Spinder started her arcana drawings in October 1994 and completed the deck in April 1995, choosing what card to draw next by randomly drawing one from the Crowley Thoth Tarot followed by some research into the card from various sources even including the Baphomet Tarot der Unterwelt. 

She created the cards in a style similar to the mandala's she had been creating for some time already, resulting in 22 complex and intricate renditions of the tarot, echoing both ancient iconography and personal inspiration.

Following C.G. Jung's works she views the tarot cards as representing archetypes, ancient principles of the collective subconsciousness but whom perception is an individual experience and so each 'version' of the tarot a very personal depiction of these principles.

The artist self-published this arcana in a small number, printed on a non laminated  heavy paper stock (making it possible to color these if one wished to do so) and came in an envelope with the same image as the extra card (the other extra card is an overview of the 22 arcani and their name).

02 August 2013

Osvald Wirth Tarot. Handcoloured edition by Ouroboros, Denmark 1995/2012

Earlier this year I wrote about the reprint of the historic 1889 Oswald Wirth deck by Adam McLean (herenow it's the turn to an other publication of this deck, also by a big tarot collector/authority, namely by K. Frank Jensen.

Frank's edition is an hand coloured edition of only 10 decks, a very small edition indeed but then even 10 is a lot when you have to carefully and cleanly paint 10 x 22 = 220 cards (size 88x143 mm).The Wirth tarot came in a faux book style box together with an illustrated 32 pages booklet by K. Frank Jensen.

The line drawings come from an anonymous, probably German, artist copying Wirth’s own drawings, as for the colours in Jensen's edition are based upon one of the only 2 versions of this deck know still to be in existence, the one used here belongs in a Japanese collection and was formerly part of the R.C.Bell collection of games.

The other deck is in the possession of Belgian collector Guido Gillabel, how it came into his possession is interesting, if I may say so, formerly the deck belonged to an other collector namely Hans Wesseling, after his death his widow asked Guido to sell of his deck, the Wirth got first sold to individuals behind the movie  Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows. After the production of the film Guido was able to buy the deck back.  

I am not sure if there are still decks availlable, but for information about it you can always mail him here.

If you are curious to know the story of the link between this deck and the above mentioned movie Mary K. Greer posted it on her blog here

The Portico Tarot Deck and Art Prints by Elizabeth Leggett

It seems a very long time I've posted something in here (been neglecting my blog I ...but then that was not the only item I neglected...)

To come back on a positive note and create some positive vibes I descided to make my first post back about a new fund-raiser, namely for the Portico Tarot Deck and Art Prints  by Elizabeth Leggett.

The project can be seen here, and seems to be doing very well indeed - but there is always room for more and better.

The link to the fund-raiser is here

06 May 2013

The Hive IV Tarot by various artists

For the 4th year in a row the Hive Gallery & Studios in Los Angeles held their Tarot themed exhibition at the beginning of the year and produced the major arcana decks from the cards in  a limited edition of 100 sets.

As with previous decks/years and as can be expected from a collaborative deck the cards portray a wide range of styles and used techniques, and yes some do work better than others, but then these are artists, not tarot readers/thinkers who are also artists.

Entries for previous editions are to be found here:

10 April 2013

The Original Oswald Wirth Tarot Of 1889 published by Adam Maclean

Adam McLean continues to procure us all with wonderful decks we collectors love to have - and this time it's a reprint of the original 1889 edition of  the very first and still used esoteric deck created by Oswald Wirth. The tarot is published in a limited edition of 100 decks

At the time the deck was published they where colored by hand by unskilled (and badly paid) hands, often children. The used techniques namely by stencils means that the effect was often sloppy with colours overflowing and a messy look.

Adam has cleaned up the deck and is offering it on his website here and proceeds from this deck will go towards the Centre for Tarot Art.

There is also an other version around of the 1889 Wirth deck, handcoloured by K Frank Jensen, you can see it here

11 March 2013

Dark Carnival Tarot by Rachel Paul (aka J-Rach)

If I'd use one word to describe this deck it would be attitude, and this deck has lots of it! Born out of the Juggalo subculture (yes i had to look it up myself, apparently it's a movement based around the Insane Clown Posse or any other Psychopathic Records hip hop group)

The artist did more than just create another niche deck - based upon the WCS yes but merged it with her own lifestyle, a deck by a juggalo for juggalos this gives us fresh images to look at, wonder over - and at times even be puzzled. 
To extend and maximise the transformation of the tarot into this culture the artist renamed the suits into: Gats (Wands), Axes (Swords), Duckets (Pentacles) and Faygos (Cups) and also changed the court cards into Joker, Warrior, Queen and King.
Does all this mean it can only be truly be enjoyed by those it was created for? Not at all everything from our well know classic WCS-deck is there only spiced-up to become this new incarnation.

 It's a tarot that makes no concessions, it's strong, wild raw in your face no way avoid it! If after all this you are curious about it the deck has it's own Facebook page and on Etsy  (where you can choose between differen pouch designs and preferred colors)you can buy them directly from the artist, and it's also availlable at Tarot Garden .