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Carojulie  Carojulie is offline
Join Date: 06 Jan 2017
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Posts: 444

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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