Hello, I decided to do a deck review with Le Tarot Noir by Matthieu Hackiere. I have had this deck for a couple months now and I have used it quite frequently. I have to start off by saying it is a Marseille style deck, therefore the pips are not illustrated. I know there are a couple reviews out there of this deck but I decided to add my two cents about this beautiful tarot. It comes in a box, with a decent sized book and the edges of the deck are gilt in gold color. Also, for those that read reversals the backs are not reversible.
The book is in french, it comes fully illustrated and there is very good information on the Trumps, covering one page each with descriptions and interpretations. The book binding isn’t all that great so the pages do start coming off rather quickly after opening it.
The cards are big but surprisingly supple and easy to shuffle. The way I shuffle them is by dividing the pack in two and taking each pack and dividing it again and shuffling the smaller packs. Then I put both packs back together and overhand shuffle (I think that’s how it’s called) then voilà! I have had no problems shuffling this way and I don’t have large hands. Here I show some of the Trumps. Le Mat is quite beautiful, his expression is so naive. Le Bateleur is showing all four legs of the table as opposed to the traditional TDM style. L’Ermite is striking to say the least, the effect of the stripes surrounding the lantern truly creates the illusion of the card being illuminated. Le Pape is grave-looking and two sheep dressed in clothes look up at him a bit terrified. In general, the air of the deck, the colors and the people depicted are somewhat ‘Gothic’ looking, a tad dark, somber and bizarre. But this doesn’t detract from the traditional core of the deck, it is at it’s heart a true Marseille deck. The colors used are dark hues and shades of red, blue, orange, green and black.
Here are a couple more Trumps, Le pendu has a very peaceful face and the robes of La Force are elegant and fluid. Le Diable and the unnumbered card 13, which is Death, I do appreciate that they left the card unnumbered, are amazing cards. Playful and vibrant. L’Etoile is so graceful. Le Soleil is one card I would have preferred in the traditional style with the two kids or people playing in front of a wall as the sun beams down on them. This sun card is more like the Smith-Waite version. At first that put me off a bit, or confused me, but it has slowly grown on me with use.
Even though the pips are not illustrated the detail of the different suits are so elaborate that the pips shine as works of art as themselves. A slight turning of the leaves, gradation of shades, the inclusion of shadow really make the readings come to life. Leaves, vines, flowers, petals abound.
I also appreciate the use of white space. Yes, the cards are rather bigger than normal tarot size but the white space gives the cards more depth, and they are very useful for ‘pathworking’ and ‘journaling’ given their detail and depth.
Lastly, the court cards. These are full of sombre and peculiar personages done in the traditional Marseille style. The attention to detail, especially in the facial expressions holds true throughout the deck, both in the Trumps and the court cards. The faces are eerily expressive both in their demeanor and gestures.
Truly, I feel the amount of thought and work put into this deck is comprehensive, the theme is consistent throughout and it feel as though I am being pulled into a bizarre and otherworldly land created by someone like Tim Burton. This is an honest Marseille deck with a playful heart. I really enjoy using it. I was thinking the other day about the deck and the seasons and I though this deck would go very well with autumn, given the colors and the style. I ordered it online and the deck, form what I found, is a little hard to find in the US, I ordered it from outside the US. I hope you enjoyed my little review and if you have the chance get the cards and use them, they will not disappoint.