From the accompanying 96 page book- "The original concept for the Silver Era Tarot came from Aunia's desire to study the background, history, symbolism, and what the meanings were all about because of a longing to learn and be proficient in reading Tarot." You all know that I love tarot quite a bit, but I have never even considered living it, day by day, image by carefully constructed image, in order to know it better. That alone makes Aunia Kahn's tarot project, originally meant to cover the Major Arcana alone but expanded to encompass all 78 aspects of the tarot, astounding in both scope and what she accomplished with it.
The deck comes in a sturdy cardboard box with a hinge and magnetic closure, one of the little details that makes Schiffer decks a joy to use. The accompanying book was written by Russell J. Moon, and includes miniature pictures of each of the cards with a brief but thorough synopsis of the synthesis of meaning the artist and author came up with, including reversals and keywords . The cards are 2.75 inches by 4.5 inches, printed on a durable glossy card stock that will stand up to much wear and tear. I do not riffle shuffle, but I imagine these cards will take the roughest of shufflers with ease, although it may take some time to break them in. The borders are grey and act more as a frame for the 78 individual photographs you are getting in this deck. The backs are a fully reversible grey marble pattern, which is unobtrusive and fits the mood of the deck perfectly.
"When we got down to the actual writing, we soon discovered that Tarot likes to bring as many questions into play as it answers." Oh, that happens to you, too, Aunia and Russell? Please excuse my facetious grin...
What Aunia ended up with is a hauntingly beautiful Waite Smith clone deck which features Aunia herself on most of the cards. Aunia Kahn herself is hauntingly beautiful, and with her artistry in costuming and make up, as well as the wonderfully manipulated background images, it is easy to forget we are seeing one person in so many cards. There are 22 Major Arcana, all traditionally named, with Strength at Trump VIII and Justice at Trump XI, Death at Trump XIII and boldly named. There are 56 fully pictorial Minor Arcana with Suits named Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and these include 16 Court Cards- Pages, Knights, Queens, Kings. It should be noted that the Kings are all male, appearing to me to be the same person, though changed as appropriate to each suit, but the Knights are all female, portrayed by Aunia. The same male figure who appears as the Kings also appears in cards that we normally expect to see both a man and a woman in, such as The Lovers and The Devil. He looks, from the author's photo in the book, like he may be Russell J. Moon, and I would be interested in learning how these two came to know each other and work together on at least two card projects, the other being Inspirations for Survivors, which was released after Silver Era Tarot.
I try not to make judgments on art, because you, my readers, have eyes of your own and you know what you like, but if you are a regular reader, you know I like to use each deck for a week before reviewing it, and I could not use a deck daily for a week if I did not find it lovely. You can find all of my posts here, though they are not my most exciting ones, through no fault of the Silver Era Tarot. A close clone deck is exactly what I needed as I recover from my second discectomy in the past three months. For extra flavor, I pulled a card from Inspirations for Survivors each day as well, and they added flavor to the readings, as well as being spot on.
Silver Era Tarot- Eight of Swords
I would be hard pressed to choose a favorite card, as so many are achingly lovely, but if pressed I may pick the Eight of Swords, her wild green hair a metaphor for wildness that cannot be tamed, that will win out, no matter how bound, or surrounded by the Swords, a prison built of her own thoughts and other people's perceptions of her.
It would be equally hard for me to choose a least favorite card, as most of the images are stunning, but The Hierophant, who appeared twice this week for me, strikes me as overly harsh, and it is often a card I have difficulty with anyway. In the book, Russell J. Moon identifies himself as a Christian with a traditional background, though clearly willing to explore many kinds of enlightenment if willing to undertake a tarot project, while Aunia Kahn identifies herself as having grown up Catholic, explored many avenues as an adult, and finally settled on being spiritual over religious. I can relate easily to both of their backgrounds, and perhaps my sensitivity to the portrayal of The Hierophant is a reflection of the creators' relationship with traditional Church leadership.
As you can see for yourself, the photographic deck is mostly black and white, with 50 shades of grey thrown in for flavor, and color is used as an accent or to highlight a piece of the picture, to great effect. I find this both beautiful and highly useful in the deck.
The deck follows Waite Smith symbolism very closely, with modern imagery, so it would be a good deck for new readers, as well as seasoned tarotistas who like to work with the Waite Smith system but prefer a modern looking deck. There is no nudity in the cards. The only overt violence is the figure in the Ten of Sword being stabbed through with those ten Swords, although the Wands and Swords suits do have cards that imply violence could happen, which is to be expected in any card featuring a weapon. I feel the deck is appropriate for all audiences, and is a very readable deck for tarotistas of all levels of skill. While the image are no-threatening, they also have an edginess to them that will likely appeal to a younger, hipper crowd.
I hope you have enjoyed the Silver Era Tarot as much as I have, and [...]. Thank you for taking your time to read my thoughts on what I think is a great deck!