Arcana Tarot Playing Cards by Chris Ovdiyenko


This is one of the most beautifully illustrated Tarot decks I ever saw. Chris's technique is so classic and so magnificently executed that I'm at a loss for words. If this were a performance I would've given a standing ovation. Aside from the Hermetic, I have never been so taken with a monochromatic deck.


Oh, and I think we don't have a review of this deck here on AT... I feel the urge to write one...


There's already a thread about this deck in the Oracle section, but now that it's available as a full 78-card tarot deck, I thought it deserved a thread in Tarot Decks too.

This is problematic for a couple of reasons. First of all, the user is now dealing with two sets of pip symbols, which seems like one too many. Secondly, the user is forced to use Chris's assignment of French suits to Italian ones:


People who already read with playing cards might use that assignment, or another assignment, or no assignment at all (in other words, assigning meanings to the French suits without reference to Italian suits or to elemental associations). Those readers who use a different assignment or no assignment might be frustrated at having to look at a Wand, for example, on a Clubs card.


I have found this deck extremely beautiful, but the suit assignment is why I did not get the deck. It is very disturbing for me to see Wands related to Clubs and Pentacles related to Diamonds. That is not how I see it. It would have disturbed me enough that I could not read with the deck.
For the same reason I stayed away from one Alice Dreamland tarot deck that used the same assigment (sorry I do not remember the exact name of that deck)

ETA : it is the Wonderland tarot by Abbey.

To be honest, I've always thought of it like that. Those associations make perfect sense to me! Surely it's entirely appropriate to equate Hearts with Cups/Water, Diamonds with coins/Earth etc.? Any other associations would be rather random - I can't imagine anyone thinking of Diamonds as the equivalent of Swords or something! The only alternative I know of is in terms of the elements - that some people equate swords with fire and wands with air, but even then I thought they were in the minority...

Well, those associations do make sense for english speakers, but I am not sure they make sense for everybody. And from my french point of view, they are not the best at all.

For me :
- Bâtons (wands) = Carreau (diamond). "Carreau" in french means "crossbow bolt" and brings to mind swiftness and fire
- Deniers (pentacles) = Trèfle (club). "Trèfle" in french means "clover" and in old french slang it means "money". That brings to mind earth, possessions, land.

So I do consider that the traditional elements apply (cups = water ; wands = fire ; pents = earth ; swords = air)
It is the relation between tarot suits and playing card suits that disturbs me on this deck.
Cups for hearts and Swords for spades are not a problem for me and make total sense, it is Pents and Wands that I traditionnaly see attached to different suits than english speakers.

This is just my personal opinion, born of my french mind ; I have no way of knowing if it is more legit than any other opinion, and I welcome all views.

I explain my views in more details in this thread :


Btw - I wrote a review about this deck and sent it to Solandia... but I guess it won't be published now... along with c. five other reviews I wrote...

For me, the associations in this deck work but I totally understand what CaroJulie is saying. I didn't know the meaning of carreau as crossbow, only as tile - and as tile, it suits diamond and also earth.

Thank you for making it even more complicated than it was! ;-) no, for making me think about it again.


I, too, was initially put off by the Suit assignments as mine were different. But having been immersed in historical decks lately, particularly the Italian ones, where Swords are 'Spade' and Clubs are Bastoni or Bâtons in the french decks, which means a club-like instrument, I'm now able to work easily with this deck. Spades as Swords, Clubs as Wands, Diamonds are easily Pentacles for me due to their association with the Earth and of course Hearts as Cups is easy.