Tired of looking at the traditional tarot images of kings and queens? Want a fresh, modern perspective? Then look no further than "Today's Journey Tarot" by Expanding Dimensions (authors Ben Perry, Teresa Sue McAdams, John Lavey, Pat Lavey and Bonnie Taylor) and illustrated by Christopher Wilkey (Schiffer Books ISBN: 9780764339059).
The deck comes in a sturdy box with a magnetic closure and ribbon pull. I really like this as it keeps the deck in pristine condition and it is easy to open. The box is really well constructed. Normally, I throw away the boxes - but Schiffer produces solid boxes that are built to last.
The cards are also well made. They are the standard size and made on very strong card stock. The finish is glossy, making them easy as pie to shuffle. This deck will stand up to years of heavy use.
There are 78 cards with both Major and Minors represented. Although the deck is loosely based on the Rider Waite, there is nothing standard here. For starters, all of the Majors have been renamed. The Fool becomes Beginning; Strenth is now Fortitude, Death is Transition and the Devil has been renamed Materialism. (This has been done in other decks as well. It still fits in with the Rider Waite tradition.)
The Minors are now based on the Elements: Water, Fire, Earth and Air instead of Cups, Wands, Pentacles and Swords. (This is not a huge issue as most tarot readers are aware of the elementals anyhow.) Courts have been changed to Child, Youth, Mother and Father. None of this will present a problem when reading with these cards. I have found them to read as well as any other RWS style deck.
The images are contemporary which will delight many readers. The art is colorful and well done although some of the images are a wee bit sloppy in my opinion. Although I think the artist is talented, aesthetically, this deck wasn't my cup of tea. That being said, most people will find the images easy to relate to and beginners will be captivated by the interpretations they can glean from these cards.
Today's Journey Tarot comes with an attractive little book of interpretations for each card (sadly, there are no reversals). The authors also include a "7 Card Merkaba Spread" which worked surprisingly well. I've gotten some good results from using that spread - not just with this deck but with others as well.
In case you are curious about the Merkaba, it is pictured on the back of the cards. The authors state that it "is a spirit body of light. It is our vehicle to expanding dimensions." This Merkaba symbol is sprinkled frequently throughout the deck.
I chose one card to represent how this deck will work. I chose 4 of Water. The interpretation: "this card represents missed opportunities. Open your eyes and look around. What you seek is already there. Do not close yourself off to the world around you." I believe that this is suggesting I keep an open mind about the deck. There are opportunities for wisdom here and although some of the art may not be to my liking, perhaps if I look beyond that, I may be surprised at the guidance offered.
I would recommend this deck to anyone who is ready for a modern and fresh approach to the same old same old tarot.