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Two New Decks! Hermetic and Illuminati

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Two New Decks! Hermetic and Illuminati


So .... since we've been having a spot of trouble getting down to Sedona, AZ over the past couple of weekends ... I decided to stop in to one of my favorite New Age shops here yesterday. Since I was on the way in to work, I didn't have as much time to browse through the shop as I would have liked. But it is always good to go in there as the energy is so positive.

Aannyyy way. I went straight to the Tarot Decks and started perusing them. I was thinking I would just pick up one new deck for the Deck of the Week next week. Alas, I could not buy just one!

The Hermetic Tarot by Dowson was the first to grab me. I like black and white decks like this, there's something so ... crisp feeling with them. And the Hermetic Tarot really encompasses that feeling. The Numbered cards of the Minors are illustrated with the correct number of given items, then decorated with a few other details, but not illustrated with scenes as you'd see on the RWS. The Court cards are quite beautiful as are the Majors. Strength (Fortitude) is at VIII and Justice at XI. I'm really liking it so far.

The second deck I got is the Tarot Illuminati. This is a straight-up RWS "clone" ... but I like RWS clones (when they're well done), so that's a good thing. This deck uses, not exactly collages I guess, but certainly the people that appear in the cards are photographs, the other elements seem to mostly be as well. So, maybe "collage" would be right. The colors and details on these cards are amazing. Some cards have some added details that I think may alter interpretations for me, but for the most part, this should be pretty easy to use. The cards are a nice thick stock with gilt edges.

Who else has these decks? And, how do you like them?

I'll be doing New Deck readings on both of these in the next couple of days and will post those in the Your Readings forum. I'm really looking forward to trying these out.
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I have the Illuminati but never warmed up to it for regular reading. When it first came out of the box, the cards felt so thick that they reminded me of styrofoam beer coasters, but they seem to have softened some with age. The deck makes quite a "brick" for shuffling. Some of the cards were stuck together at the gilded edges and I had to carefully break them apart. The images are partly digital collage and partly hand-painted, as far as I can tell. I find some of the cards quite beautiful but others are far too "busy" for my taste. The foregrounds and backgrounds kind of blend together in a flat continuum. I wish he hadn't put his own face on the Sun card.

The Hermetic is one I'll get at some point. It might also be described as "busy," but I think the black-and-white presentation saves it from being too amorphous. As a long-time Thoth user, I find the esoteric symbolism perfect for my style.
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The Hermetic is an intellectual wonder with lots of arcane nooks and crannies to explore. The printing resolution could have been improved a bit, but that's a niggling point really. I hope you enjoy it, Trogon!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
I have the Illuminati but never warmed up to it for regular reading. When it first came out of the box, the cards felt so thick that they reminded me of styrofoam beer coasters, but they seem to have softened some with age. The deck makes quite a "brick" for shuffling. Some of the cards were stuck together at the gilded edges and I had to carefully break them apart. The images are partly digital collage and partly hand-painted, as far as I can tell. I find some of the cards quite beautiful but others are far too "busy" for my taste. The foregrounds and backgrounds kind of blend together in a flat continuum. I wish he hadn't put his own face on the Sun card.

The Hermetic is one I'll get at some point. It might also be described as "busy," but I think the black-and-white presentation saves it from being too amorphous. As a long-time Thoth user, I find the esoteric symbolism perfect for my style.
I did have the issue with many of the cards sticking together in 2's and 3's and having to be carefully pulled apart. But I've had that issue with another deck with gilt edges, so it wasn't a complete surprise. I hadn't realized he'd used his own face on The Sun. Kind of Hitchockian of him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmpyreanKnight View Post
The Hermetic is an intellectual wonder with lots of arcane nooks and crannies to explore. The printing resolution could have been improved a bit, but that's a niggling point really. I hope you enjoy it, Trogon!
I've been looking through The Hermetic Tarot tonight, and yes, I do see what you mean about the resolution. It's especially true in the cards with faces on them. I also found it ... well, interesting I guess, that many of the human-type faces are drawn rather poorly when almost all of the other elements are done so well. But so far I'm really liking it.
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Hello !

I have the Illuminati tarot, and at first I got it because I wanted to try and find a deck with more diverse people represented in it. I had heard (from a few reviews, but also mostly from Benebell Wen in an article she wrote for Little Red Tarot : Identity politics in tarot, where she described the Illuminati tarot as a "truly multicultural deck") that this deck was the perfect inclusive deck as it had representations of people from all sorts of ethnic background, skin colors and cultures, so I thought it would meet my wishes.

And in fact it is true that this deck has a multicultural side to it, since each suit is represented by a particular people :
Cups : a fantasy culturewith with otherwordly humano´d beings
Wands : a Persian inspired culture
Pentacles : an Oriental inspired culture (looks more Asian than middle east)
Swords : the Elizabethan era in England

But when I got the deck I was seriously disapointed.

First when I think of an inclusive deck, I hope for diversity in terms of genres, skin color, apearance, age, body forms, ability etc.
The Illuminaty might describe different cultures, but every character is young, beautiful, thin and able. That was not the real reason of my disapointment because I kind of knew that, but I was hoping that on the ethnic front this deck would be something new.... after all, that is why it had been advertised by Benebell Wen as a true multicultural deck in the first place, so my hopes were high.

But, as far as skin color is concerned, it was an even more bitter disapointment. I only found three cards representing black people, out of 78. And they had pretty light skin btw, no deep dark black african skin here. Actually, the character with the darker skin is the Devil, that also . And only four or five charatcter with Asian traits. All the other characters in the suits seem to be mostly caucasian people dressed in fancy "persian" or "oriental" dresses.

So all this put me in a sort of bad mood when I got the deck. I would not have been so much disapointed if the deck had not been advertised as such a great multicultural deck in the first place. If my hopes had not been high, I would probably had found the deck OK, because, after all, it is not a bad deck.

After a while, I started developping a sort of liking for the deck, despite its over-crowded images (really crowded ! sometimes it is difficult to really know what you are looking at).
In some occurences the photomontage is really peculiar. The ace of wands in particular shows a human arm in a most unusual position.. it hurts a little bit to look at it ! and in several images, the clothes seem added to the bodies (see 9 of Wands, King of Pents...) or on the contrary, a human face seems glued to a dress (see Justice for example)
And, the poses of the characters are rather dramatic, and after a while you can get tired of that, and start to find it over the top (see the Star...the World... simplicity is not this deck's forte)
The cardstock is not the best. I usually like thicker cardstock (think Wild Unknown) but this one seems cheap and "thick but not fine" if that makes sense. I usually love gilded edges, but in this cas the edges are not smooth under my fingers, and they seem fragile.

But as I said, I developped a kink of affection for the deck after a while, once I had recovered from my initial disapointment.

As far as being a RWS clone, it is one with rather more symbolism kept from the original RWS than many other clones, so that is a good point.
I do not use it often, because I have other decks that I like more, but I am glad to have it. I will spend more time with it at some point in the future, I think. Maybe even bring it on vacations with me this summer ( the advantage of having a deck that you "sort of like" but that is not your favourite, is that you can take it with you to the beach without fear of it getting damaged !)

I am curious as to how other find this deck ; how do you like it so far Trogon ?

Good evening everyone !
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I just posted a New Deck reading for the Hermetic Tarot - you can see that here if you'd like; http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread...06#post5031306
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I have both - the Hermetic was adopted from AT and I also have the Illumaniti which I bought when it first came out. Have not used either - yet I do like them both for different reasons.

DND


Quote:
Originally Posted by Trogon View Post
So .... since we've been having a spot of trouble getting down to Sedona, AZ over the past couple of weekends ... I decided to stop in to one of my favorite New Age shops here yesterday. Since I was on the way in to work, I didn't have as much time to browse through the shop as I would have liked. But it is always good to go in there as the energy is so positive.

Aannyyy way. I went straight to the Tarot Decks and started perusing them. I was thinking I would just pick up one new deck for the Deck of the Week next week. Alas, I could not buy just one!

The Hermetic Tarot by Dowson was the first to grab me. I like black and white decks like this, there's something so ... crisp feeling with them. And the Hermetic Tarot really encompasses that feeling. The Numbered cards of the Minors are illustrated with the correct number of given items, then decorated with a few other details, but not illustrated with scenes as you'd see on the RWS. The Court cards are quite beautiful as are the Majors. Strength (Fortitude) is at VIII and Justice at XI. I'm really liking it so far.

The second deck I got is the Tarot Illuminati. This is a straight-up RWS "clone" ... but I like RWS clones (when they're well done), so that's a good thing. This deck uses, not exactly collages I guess, but certainly the people that appear in the cards are photographs, the other elements seem to mostly be as well. So, maybe "collage" would be right. The colors and details on these cards are amazing. Some cards have some added details that I think may alter interpretations for me, but for the most part, this should be pretty easy to use. The cards are a nice thick stock with gilt edges.

Who else has these decks? And, how do you like them?

I'll be doing New Deck readings on both of these in the next couple of days and will post those in the Your Readings forum. I'm really looking forward to trying these out.
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Hi Carojulie! I do see what you mean about the supposed "multicultural" aspect of this deck. I actually didn't know about that ahead of time because in the store was the first time I'd really heard about it. But finding out that it was supposed to be multicultural, I was like "huh?" Basically two suits are all pretty much white Europeans - Cups are supposed to be a "fantasy culture", but they're still white Europeans. The Wands as Persians are okay and the Pentacles are Oriental. So, good effort I guess.

As I shuffle and handle the cards, I'm already feeling that those edges are softening a bit. I think part of it is the way they were cut - on many of the cards I can feel that the edge has a very slight sharpness that curves down towards the face of the card. As that is wearing down from handling, the edges are also feeling better.

I like that the imagery is so much like the RWS, it automatically felt familiar to me. And so far, I do like the extra richness of color and detail. I did a New Deck reading with it last night which I will post later. The reading was very interesting. I think this will be a good deck to work with.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DownUnderNZer View Post
I have both - the Hermetic was adopted from AT and I also have the Illumaniti which I bought when it first came out. Have not used either - yet I do like them both for different reasons.

DND
They are kind of at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to the artwork on them. Although the Hermetic seems to have a lot of detail, much of it is fill-in work (lines filling in the petals on flowers, things like that). As such, it doesn't have the same kind of extra details that the Illuminati deck does. Then too, the difference between a black and white deck and one with such rich colors is quite striking. So far I'm really enjoying both of them.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carojulie View Post
Hello !

I have the Illuminati tarot, and at first I got it because I wanted to try and find a deck with more diverse people represented in it. I had heard (from a few reviews, but also mostly from Benebell Wen in an article she wrote for Little Red Tarot : Identity politics in tarot, where she described the Illuminati tarot as a "truly multicultural deck") that this deck was the perfect inclusive deck as it had representations of people from all sorts of ethnic background, skin colors and cultures, so I thought it would meet my wishes.

And in fact it is true that this deck has a multicultural side to it, since each suit is represented by a particular people :
Cups : a fantasy culturewith with otherwordly humano´d beings
Wands : a Persian inspired culture
Pentacles : an Oriental inspired culture (looks more Asian than middle east)
Swords : the Elizabethan era in England

But when I got the deck I was seriously disapointed.

First when I think of an inclusive deck, I hope for diversity in terms of genres, skin color, apearance, age, body forms, ability etc.
The Illuminaty might describe different cultures, but every character is young, beautiful, thin and able. That was not the real reason of my disapointment because I kind of knew that, but I was hoping that on the ethnic front this deck would be something new.... after all, that is why it had been advertised by Benebell Wen as a true multicultural deck in the first place, so my hopes were high.

But, as far as skin color is concerned, it was an even more bitter disapointment. I only found three cards representing black people, out of 78. And they had pretty light skin btw, no deep dark black african skin here. Actually, the character with the darker skin is the Devil, that also . And only four or five charatcter with Asian traits. All the other characters in the suits seem to be mostly caucasian people dressed in fancy "persian" or "oriental" dresses.

So all this put me in a sort of bad mood when I got the deck. I would not have been so much disapointed if the deck had not been advertised as such a great multicultural deck in the first place. If my hopes had not been high, I would probably had found the deck OK, because, after all, it is not a bad deck.

After a while, I started developping a sort of liking for the deck, despite its over-crowded images (really crowded ! sometimes it is difficult to really know what you are looking at).
In some occurences the photomontage is really peculiar. The ace of wands in particular shows a human arm in a most unusual position.. it hurts a little bit to look at it ! and in several images, the clothes seem added to the bodies (see 9 of Wands, King of Pents...) or on the contrary, a human face seems glued to a dress (see Justice for example)
And, the poses of the characters are rather dramatic, and after a while you can get tired of that, and start to find it over the top (see the Star...the World... simplicity is not this deck's forte)
The cardstock is not the best. I usually like thicker cardstock (think Wild Unknown) but this one seems cheap and "thick but not fine" if that makes sense. I usually love gilded edges, but in this cas the edges are not smooth under my fingers, and they seem fragile.

But as I said, I developped a kink of affection for the deck after a while, once I had recovered from my initial disapointment.

As far as being a RWS clone, it is one with rather more symbolism kept from the original RWS than many other clones, so that is a good point.
I do not use it often, because I have other decks that I like more, but I am glad to have it. I will spend more time with it at some point in the future, I think. Maybe even bring it on vacations with me this summer ( the advantage of having a deck that you "sort of like" but that is not your favourite, is that you can take it with you to the beach without fear of it getting damaged !)

I am curious as to how other find this deck ; how do you like it so far Trogon ?

Good evening everyone !
Look into the Modern Spellcasters Tarot. It has the diversity you're looking for.
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