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The Medieval Tarot Deck

The Nigel Jackson Tarot

See pictures of this deck.

I was not sure I liked this deck at first glance…the Renaissance style is not one of which I am overly fond….yet on closer examination I found they began to grow on me quite a bit. Some illustrations have an almost ‘tongue in cheek’ feel about them. Released back in 2004 by Llewelyn, they showcase Nigel Jackson’s artistic talent and historical knowledge very well. Jackson’s approach to tarot is Pythagorean, and this shows to an extent, but formal symbol is carefully woven into the overall medieval theme and does not prove obtrusive.

The artwork, while stylised, is generally detailed and well thought out. I especially liked the use of a range of hues I associated with sunset on several of the cards – around the head of the Devil for example.

The Minors stick fairly close to traditional pictorial RW symbolism, and the images are descriptive enough for this to be a good deck for a beginner. Majors present some familiar images as well, though for some reason Jackson has decided to revert back to the Papess, the Pope and the Juggler instead of the Priestess, Hierophant and Magician.

The handbook which comes with the cards is informative and interesting, covering a brief history of tarot, an introduction to Pythagorean principles, good definitions on both Majors and Minors, and several suggested spread layouts. I particularly liked the discussion of the Majors in the section entitled “The Wisdom of the Cards”. There’s also some guidance on interpreting groups of cards in a reading which would probably assist a beginner.

This deck is larger than average, on good card stock. The kit contains an organza bag, in which to keep cards, and a rather flimsy card box which can be decorated with “protective and empowering symbols” and used, again, to protect the deck.

All in all I think this deck would probably be a good beginner’s deck. Imagery is sufficiently evocative to stimulate the imagination and intuition, making getting started easy. I like it.

Review by Jan

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