Whenever I have a little bit of extra cash (which isn't very often!), I always intend on saving it for just the right purchase. Today, that purchase turned out to be another deck to add to my collection, and I'm pretty happy with the exchange!
Conceived by artist Robin Wood in 1991, The Robin Wood Tarot is a deck published by Llewellyn in the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition and is self-described on the back of the box as "Radiantly colorful and infinitely captivating". After having spent the afternoon with it, I 100% agree with the publisher when they say that "The shining strength of this tarot deck lies in its depiction of the Minor Arcana...all of the cards in Robin Wood's deck spring into pulsating life." Even before I read the deck's description on the box, I was instantly drawn to the Minors after my first look-through of the cards. They are some of the most vivid and uniquely designed pips I've ever seen in any RWS deck and instantly spoke to me.
While there are some Major and Minor cards I had a pretty adverse reaction to, many delightled me in a way I did not expected. Still, others surprised me with there unique but thought-provkoing takes on what we're used to seeing, and while my hopes weren't too high for this deck at the beginning (I often feel the need to collect decks I feel are "classics" even if I don't think I'll use them much), I now see it getting added into my regular deck rotation!
Firstly, the box and the card stock were delightful surprises. While neither is super study, the cards sit nicely in my hands and shuffle easily, which is a plus for me as I am not the greatest shuffler. The box opens on the side and acts as a nice quasi-chest for the cards, and while I imagine it'll get run down with wear and tear, for now it's the perfect place to hold them until a bag or other appropriate vessel comes along. The black, white, and green celtic design on the back of the cards is lovely as well, and allows me to read the cards reversed (I'm weird and only read reversals if the back of the decks are the same reversed and upright; otherwise, it's a no go). Two more cards with a spread each also accompany the deck, and I found myself pretty excited by the 15-card option. Any takers for a reading??
Three cards I absolutely loved upon my first encounter with the deck were The Magician, the Eight of Pentacles, and the Knight of Swords:
I found The Magician, my favorite card in the whole of Tarot, to be sexy, quite frankly! I mean just look at that facial hair and the little peek-a-boo of his chest! In all seriousness, I really enjoy how Wood kept inline with the RWS tradition as far as colors and overall "feeling," but love her addition of the deer headdress and black and white pillar candles. This Magician holds infinite knowledge in his hands (quite literally) and works between the worlds of light and dark/conscious and subconscious/magick and might as a master of both human and animal instinct while appearing powerful but approachable. What else could you ask for in Trump 1?
Usually a card of hard work and diligence (at least to me), the substitution of a child for the usual adult in the Eight of Pentacles added a sense of innocence I never really associated with the the card until now. It's a pretty powerful statement to doing something for the love of the work and its process. This child isn't diligently working for the monetary gain of his project but because he loves what he's doing, plain and simple. He's creating for the sake of creating, and that's not often shown when an adult is depicted in the card. While it's a seemingly minor change, this addition has made me love this otherwise forgettable card more than I thought possible.
Lastly, the depiction of the Knight of Swords upon the back of Pegasus I absolutely adore. Not only does it add to the swiftness of this court card's energy, but it helps us understand the heroic factor this Knight can represent. While the Knight of Cups is often Prince Charming, Pentacles shows us slow and steady, and Wands gives us a conduit for our creative energy, Swords and his breakneck action looks to becoming to the querent's rescue. How's that for a Knight in shining armor?
Admittedly, not all the cards struck my fancy. While there were a few I was not a fan of, The Fool, The Chariot, and The Empress were the ones that really threw me for an unsatisfactory loop (notice they're all Majors? Really helps make the case for the Minors in this deck!):
For me, The Fool is best represented when his naive and innocent natures are played up; less a "fool" and more of a harmless, wide-eyed optimist ready to take the world by storm! Here, he looks like a court jester-in-training who go dressed in the dark. While I really enjoy the nature-themed background of this card and love that the traditional dog is kept intact (and adorable!), overall this card is not doing it for me.
The Chariot usually represents power and will, and as it's traditionally ruled by Cancer, protection of loved ones is also a prominent theme. While I actually think the color story of this card is stunning, and was instantly drawn to a not yet understood connection between the green of the horse eyes and the jewel in the prince's crown (something to journal about later, perhaps?), the addition of the harp is a head-scratcher and the DORKY expression on the figure's face make me hear Goofy's laugh overtime I see it (you know the one). There might be enough redeemable qualities in this card to get me to eventually like it, but for now it goes in the "not so much" pile.
Lastly, this poor, poor, Empress. A card of vitality, sexuality, and womanhood, this sad, elderly spinster looks like the babushka-laden second wife of Jim Bob Duggar. Where's the vivacious carrier of gestating life? Where's the notion that this card is represented by Venus, goddess of sexual desire and ultimate femininity (I know it's on the shield, but that's the only place it's seen!)? While this card is usually one of a woman and her fully-occupied womb, there's still a sense of power and liberating sensuality that's 110% absent from this depiction. Yes, she seems nurturing, as most Empress cards do, but there's something about this particular one that makes me think Grandma Time instead of Mother Nature.
Overall, and despite a few personal misses, this deck looks to be a sound investment and I'm glad to have added it to my collection. I look forward to working with it in the coming weeks to see what else I come to love (or dislike) about it, and am anxious to further understand how it can help empower me to offer the needed guidance and advice to those who seek it out!