I start off by saying that I received this deck unexpectedly. In the site darktarot.com you can find two free printable decks, this one and another black and white deck. Furthermore, at the site there is a trove of resources for tarot learning and history.
Onto the review… Firstly, the card stock is nice and sturdy and the coloring of the cards has a nice aged finish that complements the artwork well. There is a stark white border that surrounds the images but that can easily be resolved with trimming. The back has a beautiful shinning sun and is reversible.
What called to my attention from this deck were two things, the suit of wands and the court cards. The court cards are descriptive, and many of the characters seem to be draped in lush fabrics that gives them a regal air. Reminded me of the Minchiate cards. The minors are all pip-style, or not illustrated, but this is where the suit of wands especially shines. There is a wonderful sense of interaction, differentiation, separation and merging that plays out within this suit that really brings the story to life. Unlike the Marseilles Wand pips, the wands here interact viscerally. The color of intruding or opposing wands differ from the others, directions change, and there is a real sense of watching a story unfold as the wands interact. Adding to this is the fact that the Ace of Wands starts as a thick, rustic, tree bark being firmly held upright. I must admit, the suit of wands is a suit of contention for me, sometimes I have trouble reading it clearly, but with this deck the suit shines and the story clearly plays out.
Benebell Wen did a great review of the deck over on her site, she posts more pictures. In this review of mine, I just wanted to highlight a couple aspects of the deck while also talking about my interaction with the deck.
I used this deck for a couple weeks, plus I also did an interview spread and all in all, I must say the deck is very straightforward and clear. In the interview the deck highlighted its practical and fiery aspect. The opener card was a wands card, fitting. Two knights followed, the lovers, ending with the 9 of coins. There is a sense of escalation. This deck is about opening up, about pinpointing logistics and clarifying what is unclear. It is direct and nonsensical. Not one to wallow in the emotional aspects of life. Throughout my time interacting with and using the cards the readings were always clear and the messages were explicitly laid out. I really like that about this deck.
Here are a few other cards that I found striking.
You can view the rest of the cards at the site. As always happy reading.