I don’t get very many new tarot decks, I like to keep what I have manageable, where I use all the decks I own interchangeably and frequently. However, here is a review and a half of two recent purchases.
I was not originally aware of the creation of Tabula Mundi prior to its release. I found it by chance through tarot reviews on youtube, and through the general tarot community. I ended up getting a second hand first edition.
There are many great reviews out there of this deck, I will list some at the end. Now, why another one, you might ask? Well, perhaps my take on the deck, noting other aspects of it, may bring another perspective to the table.
I will not speak here of correspondences, meanings, and significations vis-à-vis the Tabula Mundi Tarot deck. What I will say is that that it is a strictly Thoth based deck inspired by Crowley and Harris’s early 20th century creation known as the Thoth Tarot.
Starting with the presentation of the Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus edition, it comes in a sturdy wine-colored box with a silk ribbon of the same color that allows you to easily take the cards out. I do like the details and the care M.M. Meleen adds to the purchase, and this is based on my in minima and Decans set expansion purchase. The packages were carefully and thoughtfully wrapped.
The cards are a bit wider than your regular tarot, and the cardstock is supple and almost buttery to the touch which makes for smooth and easy shuffling. The cards themselves are beautifully illustrated, the care, precision, and intention behind the deck is palpable. I must admit, the only reason I purchased the deck was because of the art, when I saw the images I knew I had to have it. The borders are an off-white, ivory color, giving the art further visual appeal and allowing the reader’s eyes to really appreciate the colors of the images themselves.
Given that the deck is a Thoth derivative in structure, the planetary and kabbalistic associations are included in the cards. The colors and reinterpretations of Crowley and Harris’s Thoth deck are vivid, dynamic, and engaging. What I especially like about the deck itself in its entirety, is the cohesion of its internal narrative. How the cards pictorially weave a story throughout. For example, one can see how the 5 of cups and the 6 of cups progress or speak together. Add the 9 of swords and the 10 of cups and a collective landscape unfolds, a story of images. Continue this with the 7 of wands and The Tower and we have a tapestry woven from the same threads.
The colors, the shapes, the elements, and the characters move throughout the cards, creating stories that spontaneously develop as you lay the cards on the table. This was a pleasant surprise after purchasing the deck. To find such a carefully woven narrative within the deck itself, when I merely thought I was getting a beautiful art deck. I appreciate these details because I see it as poetry with images, or imagistic poetry (I know imagistisc is not technically a word), my eyes and heart can get on board with this.
I want to point to a couple noteworthy touches. The more modern aesthetic touches are elegantly done. Mercury, The Magus, as an out of this world DJ laying down some slick rhythms. While Adjustment and The Empress sport more modern attire.
I also purchased the pocket size, in minima, which has proven to be a worthy and fun travel-size companion. This one came in the same type of sturdy box coupled with a thick velvet pouch to make it easier to carry around. The images translated well into the smaller size and the cardstock is exactly the same.
In addition, I added the Decan cards expansion set which further illustrates the narrative function by each being a composition of the corresponding trio of minor arcana, which each Decan card encapsulates. An example of this can be seen below with the Decans of Libra and the related minors.
These cards are a nice touch, although I admit to never using them for readings. These can be used for study or for other astrological purposes.
What’s more, I have the extra Babalon card, both in the regular and in minima versions. This card I do keep with the 78.
As you can already guess, reading with this deck is a pleasure. I find the colors and the interplay between the cards afford me depth. It may be imagined that the exuberance of color and details will lead to a cluttered and chaotic reading. Well, my experience of the matter is that the most cards I have laid down on the table with this deck have been nine, for the magic square, and neither the reading nor the cards felt cluttered. It does feel expansive at first glance, when many cards are on the table, but this feeling dissipates. There is no doubt that penetrating vision will serve the reader well.
Overall, the tone of the Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus Tarot is dynamic and innovative, and at times even playful, arising out the the Crowleyan universe with fresh ideas. It explores occult concepts and mythologies in a contemporary voice. I find it accessible and deeply insightful. As already mentioned, the colors are deep and vibrant. I consider this deck enduring, highly recommended for those aesthetically drawn to it. I would say, purchase the regular size, sans the Decans set (unless you really want them). The pocket size is not a necessity, but a nice bonus.
Links of reviews:
The decks and Decan cards can be purchased here.