Golden Tarot

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Emily's Avatar
Emily  Emily is offline
Join Date: 14 Feb 2002
Location: England
Posts: 7,664

I was wondering too how the gilt edging will hold up - But I want this deck to age, it looks pristine and new now with the gilt still slightly sticky but hopefully after using it for a few weeks it'll start to look broken in.

I'm thinking of getting a second just to keep for my collection. I think the artwork is amazingly beautiful, never realised that I had a thing for Renaissance art, and I know these are collaged from paintings but the essence of the source paintings are still there. The facial features are something that has helped make this such an attractive deck too. I still can't stop taking it out of the box just to look at. I think Kat has made a truly amazing deck.
Top   #411
Parzival's Avatar
Parzival  Parzival is offline
Join Date: 26 Apr 2004
Location: Maryland, U.S.A.
Posts: 849
golden tarot

I am new to this excellent tarot forum. Let me say for now that I have collected too many decks but each is a universe worthwhile to journey through.Tarot is dynamic synergy--- it uniquely unifies art and esoteric symbol-systems,meditation and divination,person and planet.It freely exercises the spiritual mind and imagination.The Golden Tarot is a masterpiece that does all that.What amazes me about it is the Ryder-Waite symbolic foundation with the seamless artistic collage.Three of cups--sublime!Also, the backgrounds always support the main images,so that the mood is beautifully unified.Bravo to the creator.Closing question:what is the wording over the World figure?
Top   #412
Imagemaker's Avatar
Imagemaker  Imagemaker is offline
Join Date: 15 Dec 2003
Location: NH, USA
Posts: 4,019

Welcome to AT, Frank! I like your signature line. Plotinus should have had tarot to work with
Top   #413
retrokat's Avatar
retrokat  retrokat is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2002
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 570

Hi Frank,

I believe the words on the scroll with music above the world are "Gloria inexclesius de o". I've attached a closeup of the appropriate bit. Curses! I tried attaching it but it kept saying 'too big' despite in being only 300x150 pixels. Ah well, you'll just have to look on your card with a magnifying glass to believe me

For anyone who's still looking for a signed card, I've just listed the remaining 3 of my primary female figures in the deck: High Priestess, Queen of Wands (my own Significator) and the Queen of Coins. I thought she looked pretty and sweet, but someone said she looks like she's just smelled something bad! *grin*
Top   #414
retrokat's Avatar
retrokat  retrokat is offline
Join Date: 12 Aug 2002
Location: Western Australia
Posts: 570

Ah! Now I realise what my main point in creating Golden Tarot was - apparently it's all been to make money, including by taking advantage of "tiny Chinese fingers" to make the box in which Golden Tarot is sold.

The much-esteemed K Frank Jensen's review:

Clearly my selling single signed cards (at cost) on eBay strikes him as a good way to make a living. Ha ha!
Top   #415
Mimers's Avatar
Mimers  Mimers is offline
Join Date: 27 Jan 2003
Location: NewYork, USA
Posts: 5,026

Kat, I read that review this morning myself, and actually it made me chuckle. It is so obviously full of animosity, I don't think anyone could miss it.

There are tons of RWS decks out there. Most of them are made outside of the US. The fact that he singled you out made it more of a personal vendetta rather than a review. I don't think I have seen him review any other decks either.

Don't fret it Kat. We all love you deck and are ever grateful to US Games for making it available to all of us.


PS - How do you plan on spending those millions?
Top   #416
darwinia  darwinia is offline
Join Date: 23 Jun 2002
Posts: 1,425

Top   #417
Jeannette's Avatar
Jeannette  Jeannette is offline
Join Date: 20 Oct 2001
Location: West Des Moines, IA
Posts: 2,297
Devil's Advocate

As someone who has had the good fortune to have access to a larger body of Mr. Jensen's work (through his well-regarded former publication, Manteia, as well as some of his other works such as The Prophetic Cards, etc.), I'd like to offer a different perspective of his Tarot Passages review. I cannot speak on Mr. Jensen's behalf, of course, so the observations made herein should be clearly understood to be my personal interpretation of his comments.

While the review is clearly critical of some aspects of Kat's deck, I don't think it is necessarily fair to characterize his intent as motivated by "animosity" or any sort of "vendetta." Without a statement from either Kat or Mr. Jensen to the contrary, I would find it difficult to believe in any pre-existing "conflicts" between the two of them that would provide Mr. Jensen with any incentive to turn a review into an intentional personal attack. In reading many of his other reviews, it is clear that Mr. Jensen is nothing if not forthright. He studies, he ponders -- and he makes his assessment. If he finds a tarot to be "wanting" in some fashion, he says so, and does not mince words. There are many decks which have fared far worse, and drawn much harsher criticism in his reviews, than the "shortcomings" he has seen fit to point out in his assessment of The Golden Tarot.

Therefore, I would suggest that there is simply a fundamental point of disagreement between those who may ascribe to Mr. Jensen's view, and those here on Aeclectic who appreciate the merits of Kat's work. That point lies in how one would answer the question "what can -- and should -- tarot be?" Although it is admittedly a bit of an oversimplification, for purposes of the present discussion, I think the manner in which students of tarot might answer that question can be divided into two (very) broad categories:

- View #1: Tarot is a valid body of tradition, and its usefulness is easily compromised or devalued through reworkings/reinterpretations that add nothing of real substance to the discipline.

- View #2: Tarot is reflection of the human psyche, and can and should naturally evolve in order to capture a broadening world view as well as changing approaches to understanding universal truths.

In fact, many of us might probably fall on a spectrum somewhere between these two viewpoints. But the argument I am trying to make is this: the closer one is on the spectrum to view #1, the more likely one is to agree with Mr. Jensen. The more one ascribes to view #2, the more likely one is to disagree with him.

It should be reiterated here that Mr. Jensen clearly agrees with those of us here who find the deck attractive. And he obviously finds value in it at some level, as he makes the following statement regarding the Golden Tarot's selling price: "Twice as much would still be reasonable." The primary thrust of his critique really seems to lie in one brief sentence: "It is not useful."

Many, of course, would strongly disagree with this statement, and for good reason. Speaking from the perspective as someone whose job gives me the occasional opportunity to address the problem of finding the right deck "match" for a given reader or student, it is clear that the RWS deck -- no matter how laudably venerable it is -- is not for everyone. There are those who find the early 20th century illustration style (and period limitations of the printing process that constrained it) to be too "quaint" to connect with. Some customers have even told me flat-out that they find the RWS to be "ugly." Can we say, then, that the RWS deck is useful to these people? Is it wrong to "redress" these images, so long as the tradition and substance of the original symbolism remains? Or does an emphasis on "beauty" too often overshadow substance and meaningful tradition?

I pose the above questions rhetorically; I do not propose to make a judgement one way or the other. But I must admit that I can see some level of merit in both views. Tradition for tradition's sake alone serves no good purpose. But capricious tinkering, or "redressing," of a valid tradition introduces the risk of injecting invalid elements into a solid, time-tested system. As always, the key to assessing whether a work such as Kat's is successful probably lies in whether a proper balance can be struck between the traditional and contemporary elements.

As for the deck's artistic merits: once again, I don't actually think Mr. Jensen has made any strong criticisms of The Golden Tarot in this regard. His statement in regards to "...tarot deck creators or illustrators (I won’t call them "artists")..." is made a sweeping generalization, and not necessarily leveled against Kat's deck in particular. In this regard, I have to concede that Mr. Jensen may have a point: Sturgeon's Law pretty much applies to tarot decks as much as anything else. One can certainly posit that an artistic critique of The Golden Tarot was implied in this general statement. And yet in the same paragraph, Mr. Jensen continues to on specifically state that "The Golden Tarot is very well done, it takes a great deal of computer experience and training to manipulate with as many as 20 layers in an image, which Ms. Black states there are in the cards." So I do not think it is necessarily fair to conclude with certainty that Mr. Jensen has no appreciation for the training, effort, skill, and ability required to produce a deck such as The Golden Tarot.

As for judging Mr. Jensen's comments to be hypocritical, with the further assertion that he lacks knowledge of the creative processes: I would have to disagree with such statements. The review is -- as most reviews naturally are -- subjective, to be sure. And the conclusions drawn are at odds with the subjective conclusions of many here on Aeclectic. But that does not make them hypocritical. And my own personal correspondences with Mr. Jensen strongly indicate that he is quite well-informed and knowledgable in the area of the artistic process. To suggest otherwise, I think, misses the real point of his comments, and draws attention away from more valid areas of debate regarding his review. I think it is fair to characterize Mr. Jensen as somewhat of a "purist," and therein lies the valid crux of the discussion: is creativity for creativity's sake any more or less worthy of a goal than tradition for tradition's sake? The more interesting questions which arise from his article, in my opinion, are those which explore the nature of the elements which allow a "new" approach to tarot imagery to be "useful" approach as well.

-- Jeannette
The Tarot Garden
Top   #418
Cerulean's Avatar
Cerulean  Cerulean is offline
Join Date: 26 Apr 2002
Location: Calif., USA
Posts: 9,341
I read the review

Frank Jensen did digital blow-ups of the Rider Waite details as a novelty handout at one of the grand conferences of tarotists...and it was a clever, interesting idea. I also have read bits of the M. Courier and agree that he's been a long-time collector and he probably is looking for something completely different when he shops for his tarot. His estimation of the material value for Golden Tarot--reasonable at twice the price--I agree, completely.

That he should compliment her presence on the web and technical skill is agreeable to me. But I do differ on the slant of seeing it as a 'marketing' -- I actually appreciated her thoughtful, responsive and warm presence to queries and updates.

Her time over the past three to five years in developing all this and keeping people informed felt always to me to be a gift to people. I never saw it as promotion--and the limited edition bits and pieces that I see on ebay is just an effort of adding value.

And unfortunately Mr. Jensen might not have seen the backstory--it was mostly people who loved the digital gifts and scans, fans of this forthcoming deck, who really kept up the momentum...even saw when Kat Black's work was being stolen...a true homegrown appreciation for beauty, I think.

And excellent, kind and responsive collector-distributer sites such as and, they as responsive to buyers as well and who can blame them for helping promote a good thing? I really appreciated the news as we all waited for what seemed like years!

I also like JMD's review on of the Golden...if it adds any value, I'll try to find a place the Golden isn't reviewed and post there! But in many cases, and rightly so, there's multiple reviews on it's quality and beauty...really, U.S. Games did spend a bit to make a fitting and lovely package for this deck.

I hope this helps assuage a little, the stings...


Cerulean Mari
Top   #419
HudsonGray's Avatar
HudsonGray  HudsonGray is offline
Join Date: 26 Apr 2002
Location: I childproofed my house but they still get in.
Posts: 5,162

As someone not familiar with the reviewers work (as most people who read it probably aren't) I found it dripping in sarcasm but grudgingly giving the deck it's due. Guess he's no fence sitter. I disagree that digital art requires no 'artist' to be made, though.

If he wants reproductions done, he should be talking to the publishers, not put 2 paragraphs into a review where it doesn't apply to the deck. This isn't a Pamela Coleman Smith reworking of art, it's a historical take on it. I did find that distracting & wondered why he'd continued on so heavily with his preference when, as he even said, he should have been talking about Kat's deck.

Kat, don't stress it. He DID say good things buried in there with the rest. So it wasn't his cuppa tea, he did say you worked hard, it'd do well, you'll make money.

So when's your next deck coming out?
Top   #420
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