Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Softer colours, not so harsh
on November 20, 2001
I've read for nearly 30 years and I've never liked the original Rider Waite deck. To me reading them was like trying to absorb road directions from an incoherent person who was hitting you over the head with a board -- the information got lost in the unpleasantness of the experience. I did not like the way the figures were outlined in black, the colours looked too primary and unrealistic and I found the human figures devoid of personality.
I find the Universal Waite deck truly beautiful. The colours are softer and more natural; the outlines are gone or considerably toned down, giving the deck a more human feel. The characters actually have expressions. For the first time I have been able to look at the cards to notice certain details, like the fact that the chained woman in The Devil has a bunch of grapes for a tail, or that the Magician is wearing a snake for a belt. Reading with this deck is a pleasure; the cards really let you in.
I've heard a number of people complain that Hanson-Roberts changed details in the original deck and that that ruined it for them. I guess I see it more as, Hanson-Roberts' focus was different and it's a focus I prefer. I think she did a service to a deck that (in my experience) was becoming far less popular with new readers, due to the amazing number and variety of decks that are now available.
If the original Rider Waite deck works for you, you will probably have some difficulties with the Universal Waite. If it doesn't, but you would like to add a more traditional deck to your toolkit, the Universal Waite may be the deck you're looking for.