The Wizards’ Tarot is a contemporary deck which, like so many that have gone before it, draws upon elements of the universally-popular Rider-Waite deck.
I used the cards for a period in a variety of different ways. In the following review, I share my thoughts and impressions.
The Wizards’ Tarot is attractively packaged in a top-opening box, which, in addition to the standard 78 Tarot cards, contains a small accompanying booklet.
The booklet is somewhat different from most accompanying deck literature in that it contains only a description of each card. There are no interpretational meanings given to any of the cards. If you is unfamiliar with card meanings, you will need to reference some other source to get started.
Neither does the booklet offer guidance on Tarot-card reading or examples of any spreads that might be specific to this deck. It is a Tarot card set that clearly encourages you to formulate and figure out your own approach.
The Wizards’ Tarot is loosely structured around several Western magickal traditions, including Hermeticism, Wicca, Astrology, Wizardry, Greek Mythology, Runes and the Kabbalah.
Wizards Tarot is structured the same as a standard Tarot deck. 22 Major Arcana cards, 16 Court Cards and 40 Minor Arcana.
However, there is a slight departure from the standard titling convention:
- THE FOOL has been renamed THE INITIATE.
- THE DEVIL has become THE DARK LORD.
- DEATH is now TRANSFIGURATION.
- TEMPERANCE is THE ALCHEMIST.
Where the cards depart most from other decks of this type is in their non-use of numbering for the Major Arcana.
Ease of Use
The most attractive Tarot deck is not necessarily the most practical to use.
In the past, some decks have been either too large to shuffle or too small to display their imagery properly.
To my mind, ‘Wizards Tarot’ is an excellent compromise. The cards are 7cm (W) x 11.7cm (H), making a nice aspect ratio and comfortable to shuffle.
Another notable element of this deck is the finish on the cards.
Unlike some decks, where their glossy finish creates problems when shuffling, these use a matt texture that gives them a terrific feel and response.
Some care also appears to have been put into the card weight for these feel slightly firmer and more resilient than many other decks.
The cards are, by their very nature, somewhat dark in tone and complexion so that this is a deck that feels heavy and earthy, though not in the slightest bit depressing.
There is a reversal in sexual polarity throughout the cards though, with a slightly stronger emphasis on the feminine than in the original Rider-Waite deck.
However, these subtle changes feel completely natural and do not compromise the deck in any way.
It is also worth mentioning that each card’s image has been set within a narrow border around the top, bottom and sides. This gives you the sense of surreptitiously peering into the scenes. It is an engaging effect!
The Court Cards in this deck offer perhaps the greatest departure from A E Waite’s ideas.
Unlike some other decks, the suit names remain the same, but the figures within them bring their elemental nature to life.
If you are familiar with the connections between C G Jung’s archetypes and the suits of the Tarot Court Cards, you will be impressed at the care put into each of these sixteen figures.
Each one captures the physical characteristics of each archetype’s element.
In particular, the sanguine nature of Earth is wonderfully, and humorously, captured within the King and Queen of Pentacles!
Although not a huge departure from core Tarot principles, this deck adds some elements that make it fresh and exciting.
The way that it orientates itself away from the traditional use of events and circumstances to represent an arcana’s meaning results in an impressive person-centric deck. It strengthens an idea that it is the Wizard or Magician who is central to the divination ritual.
Once I had used the cards for a little while, I came to like this subtle but powerful modification in its styling—though the Minor Arcana cards are sometimes a little weak visually and lost this core effect.
As for the renaming of some of the Major Arcana cards, I soon felt that their adopted titles were natural and progressive, bringing the theme of magick and alchemy into the fold.
Do I have any qualms about this deck?
No, not really.
I did miss having the numbers printed on each of the Major Arcana cards and those Tarot students who, like myself, integrate numerology into their interpretations will find this a drawback.
I also felt that the card titles could be a little clearer but these are fairly insignificant issues that will not bother other users.
Who do I think will benefit from moving over to use this deck?
Quite frankly, I think this is a deck that will resonate very with any and all solo practitioners of the magickal arts.
The cards ooze a sense of magic, mystery and arcane imagery with the Major Arcana, in particular, showing hidden layers and hinting at the promise of unexplored depths in ways not achieved by other Tarot-deck designs.
In fact, the content and texture of the cards is so rich that a great deal of the hard work in learning their meanings is taken care of.
I would also go so far as to say that, because of this, The Wizards’ Tarot would make an excellent deck for beginners—despite the drawbacks of its accompanying booklet.
There is an excellent study guide by the author that overcomes the limitations of the booklet at wizardstarot.com/study. It is full of in-depth Tarot information, spreads and insights.
All in all, ‘The Wizards’ Tarot’ is a refreshingly contemporary, yet authentic deck, which engages with its user. I am sure that Magickians of all persuasions will discover exciting new concepts within it which they will find reflect their own particular magickal practices and divination methodologies.
I have not used the cards in a scrying situation, but I think they might be an effective tool in the practice of traveling the astral realms!
If you are looking for a tarot deck that moves beyond established tarot principles without destroying its key concepts, I thoroughly recommend that you check out The Wizards’ Tarot. I can see it becoming a popular and respected tool in the hands of the modern magician.