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Glory
March 18th, 2007, 11:19 PM
Revelations Tarot, by Zach Wong. A review by Glory. :)

So, the facts. The deck is fully illustrated, every card showing a very individual picture, with as much skill towards the minors as shows in the Majors. There are traditional RWS elements - the court cards go as follows: Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings, and the suits: Pentacles = Earth, Cups = Water, Wands = Fire and Swords = Air. The Strength card is 8, the Justice card is 11.

When I received the deck, it came in a well constructed package, including it's accompanying book written by the artist, Zach Wong, a black bag and a white cardboard box that I assume one might put the cards in. The cards themselves came bound in plastic, rather than inside the box, which is quite a bit larger than the cards' dimensions. People who choose to put gems and sage in with their cards could see this as a benefit. Overall, the packaging impressed me enough to devote a whole paragraph to the subject, so there you go.

The first impression I got from these cards is that these are quite personalised. They borrow heavily from the standard RW deck, and as the artist himself says in the accompanying book, he used the Rider deck as a guide in creating Revelations. But even with this, you can tell that these were designed first and foremost for the artist's own benefit, rather than the customers. He himself described the creation of a deck as a personal journey to understanding Tarot. I personally didn't have a problem with this, but I can see that some people might prefer more open interpretations, or a deck without such an obvious authorship.

The art itself is impressive. The images are heavily stylistic, with a sort of stain-glass theme running through them, combined with digital artwork. The colours are vibrant, with strong purples, blues, greens and fiery oranges. The suits do have their own colour schemes, but these schemes are lenient and fluctuate in consistency. Instead, the individual meanings of the cards dictate as to what colours go where, making each card highly symbolic and constructed. The main theme for the suits are seen instead in the characters featured. In the pentacle suit, the characters seem almost robotic, made of metal, reflecting their earthly nature. The cup characters are mermen and mermaids, and the wands and swords show warriors.

Of course, the main 'gimmick' that attracted me to Revelations in the first place, was the fact that each card had a reversed meaning. Now, of course, many people read reversed meanings for many decks, but when I say this, I mean that the picture itself has a mirrored, reversed image in itself. For example, the Hermit card right side up depicts a hooded man with a straight staff looking into the light. The reverse shows a different picture beneath it, of the same man, but now he is huddled against his staff with dark, sad colours closing in around him. For anyone interested in exploring the different ways one can use Tarot, this is a good deck to play with. I myself don't do reversal readings, and this deck is my exception.

The duality of upright/reversed is reflected in the companion book, written by the artist - both interpretations are described clearly and equally. Also, the plus to a companion book written by the artist is more insight into the artwork - Wong points out symbols in each card and what they represent to him. Perhaps a little too obviously, but it still makes a worthwhile read.

My favourite cards are possibly the Page of Pentacles, showing a youth holding a pentacle up to her face like a mask (masks being a common theme that run throughout the deck), and then the mask is broken in the reversal, as well as Strength, showing a woman staring straight ahead with a stain glass window showing her taming a lion, and then the reversal, she has her face buried in her hand, the other hand shutting a door firmly over where the stain glass story would have been.

I would recommend this deck to beginners who wish to venture away from the standard RW deck and it's clones, and wish to study Tarot and the way we read it from a new angle. Old timers to Tarot would also enjoy this deck, I think, possibly even for the same reasons.

For pictures, click here: http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/revelations/