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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Celtic Dragon Tarot Kit
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2001
I'll admit up front that I am not what you would call a devotee of the tarot. I had always known what they were and the general nature of how they are used, but it wasn't until I read the Illuminatus! trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea that I picked up any real interest in the habit. Even now, I only have a casual stake in the cards--it isn't something that I do every day, nor do I think I can find the meaning of my life in a deck of cards. I do this for fun, and I think that gives me a little bit different perspective than some people might have. The first thing that you'll notice when you open the box is that the cards are beautiful. My complaints about the book which will follow notwithstanding, this set is worth the price for the cards alone. The only objection I could hope to muster is the fact that my particular pack was apparently mishandled by the US Post Office during shipping and the cards arrived warped--it's been quite an expirament trying to get them straight. The book, however, is another matter entirely. I'm not sure who D.J. Conway is, exactly, but I'm sure she's not for me. This book commits the twin sins of speaking to too narrow an audience and apparently being written entirely for commercial gain. The section containing interpretations of the cards really is laughable. It reads as though they took a set of the production notes Conway made before the project and decided to add them to the accompanying book to make it a little bit beefier. The guys in the marketing and editing departments of Llewellyn should be ashamed of themselves for that--they've done exceptional work in the past (most notably the Robin Wood deck), and they really dropped the ball in that area of this product. Of course, that's not the only problem with the book--far from it. The new age movement may be very nice for everybody who's involved in it, but this woman makes the entire thing sound slightly absurd. The writing is almost like something I would expect to hear in an old Cycle of the Werewolf movie--a mix of gypsy mystique and a little bit of Celtic history which ends up sounding more absurd than authoritative. Further, the majority of the book outside of the section detailing what the cards are supposed to symbolize has a lot less to do with the actual practice of tarot than you might expect. Chapters on candle magic and constructive meditation don't really cut it for me--if I'm buying a book relating to the tarot, I'd like to deal with the tarot. Now, I should note that this next problem does not show up in the cards at all, but I also couldn't help feeling a little excluded by Conway's tone in the writing. I understand that a substantial cross section of the tarot reading population are women, and further that they may be of Wiccan or Goddess oriented backgrounds, but some of the writing in her book goes so far as to leave men feeling slightly excluded from the practice. Every time she related men and women in the same context as positive and negative energy, the position of the negative and the male descriptor always synched up. It may all be in my head, but I was a little annoyed. One thing about the cards that I don't particularly like is the approach that some things that Conway did in the design seem to indicate. For one thing, I'm strongly against the association of wands with air and swords with fire. I can see how it would make sense on a superficial level to some people, but I'd like to think that I at least understand the basis of the elemental associations of the tarot deck and the appropriateness of the fire/swords association is nothing more than superficial. Fire is an energy that can be directed both to help man and to hurt him, much like our own creative energies, while air is something which is necessary to our survival, but which is all but impossible to control, which fits well with the negative associations tied to swords. Why anybody would want to switch the two is beyond me. Beyond that, Conway also states that the cards here should only be read in their upright positions. That strikes me as a little odd--generally people who only want to read the cards upright are either seeking to simplify their spreads or to make them a little bit more optimistic, since there are generally more positive spins you can put on upright cards than you can on reversed ones. Overall, it all combines to give me the feeling that, while Conway may have a very superficial understanding of what she was trying to do, that the deeper design just wasn't there when this deck was put together. Fortunately, that's not represented in the cards themselves. Considering all the objections that I have to the deck's designer and author, I think that four stars should indicate just how enthusiastically I recommend the deck itself. While I personally prefer to use a more traditional set for my spreads, these cards could easily be used for yourself or for clients, and they do speak well to me, and, I think, to most people. While I wouldn't say that this particular deck will have as broad an appeal as, say, the basic Marseille or Rider-Waite, or even the Robin Wood deck, so long as you aren't opposed to fantastic art and imagery in your cards, this is an excellent pickup for the collector or the regular practicioner.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2002
Well, first the negative. I agree that the book lacks information for beginners. The card descriptions and stories are well written but information about divining is very lacking. It details four different spreads but only offers roughly a one page explanation of each. Beside this point I'm fairly fond of most of Conway's writings. As far as Tarot readings I've found that Tarot in Ten Minutes by R.T. Kaser is very useful.
The cards themselves are amazing. I'd highly recommend them to anyone. Very beautiful and the place values are clearly written. One thing to note. The Hierophant in this deck is renamed the High Priest and the Devil is called Chains. This was explained as the original names having nothing to do with Pre-Christian Celtic Spirituality. Also this deck features the Sword suit as Fire and the Wands as Wind. I prefer this layout but some people might disagree with it if they are used to more traditional decks. All and all I highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2001
This deck is astounding. The artist does a wonderful job portraying the images and ideas in the tarot deck. I feel that this deck defiantly represents a part of the Tarot that has been missing for years.
On the other hand... the book stinks. I barely flipped through it and noticed that the book doesn't do any justice to the deck itself. I actually (no joke) took the book and taped the card defiation section closed because the cards are so expressive I don't want my perceptions of what they represent to me altered.
Overall, this is definalty a great and amazing deck. I feel it is a great deck for beginners, definatly a great deck for the advanced, and and and... if you work with dragons, this deck SHOULDN'T go A DAY without being in your possession.
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on May 11, 2004
I love dragons so this was like meeting up with a best friend I hadn't seen in ages. When I opened the package, my eyes were filled with soft, yet very evocative images. While I may call them soft, they are definitely not too feminine so men shouldn't be turned off by this deck.
The deck itself felt really good in my hands. You can tell this was a labor of love. The cards were slightly firm, yet easy to shuffle. The lamination is just right. The artwork on the cards is absolutely beautiful but this is so much more than just another one of those 'pretty' decks that are all flash yet have no substance. These cards are filled with haunting stories all their own and you don't necessarily need to read the companion book to get caught up in the tales. Lisa Hunt is a wonderful artist and her knowledge of dragons and tarot really shines through here.
The book is filled with useful information on interpretation and there are some spreads to help you get started. In addition to this, there are even dragon spells, meditations, and a small section on candle colors, their uses, and stone powers is also included. The author, D. J. Conway weaves each of the cards into a very informative, yet not overdone explanation of the symbolism, and then gives a brief, but well thought out divinatory meaning. The only drawback I've found is that the book does not include a reversal section with the divinatory meanings. It's only a minor flaw though.
I have used this deck since it first came out and let me tell you, it's stood the test of time, unlike certain other decks where the lamination begins to peel or wear off almost immediately. I've found the Celtic Dragon Tarot to be an excellent tool for meditation as well as reading. I always have this deck on hand for my fellow dragon fan clients. I highly recommend this deck to anyone from novice to expert and of course, to any dragon fan.
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on September 7, 2002
was another story...I don't feel the descriptions of each card in the book to be accurate at all. The incorrect descriptions themselves weren't even descriptive enough. I printed out the traditional descriptions and taped them inside the book for each card for travel purposes. Alot of information in this book was useless to me. Alittle "beginner" information to meditation. More "beginner" information to Tarot and a few spreads. Other than that, some spells and candle magic that I don't bother with.
But on the up side, the art is beautiful and so colorful that cards sometimes speak for themselves. This was the only deck I could find that wasn't too bland and unattractive to me. Not every card in this deck gives you it's meaning just by the artwork. Which makes it alittle difficult to identify immediately with each card since images aren't memorable with it's true meaning and may take alittle more time to memorize.
However, either way, all my readings have been accurate with this deck. I like this deck enough that I gave it 4 stars. I believe that this deck, despite the book, is a worthwhile buy.
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on September 7, 2002
was another story...I don't feel the descriptions of each card in the book to be accurate at all. The incorrect descriptions themselves weren't even descriptive enough. I printed out the traditional descriptions and taped them inside the book for each card for travel purposes. Alot of information in this book was useless to me. Alittle "beginner" information to meditation. More "beginner" information to Tarot and a few spreads. Other than that, some spells and candle magic that I don't bother with.
But on the up side, the art is beautiful and so colorful that cards sometimes speak for themselves. This was the only deck I could find that wasn't too bland and unattractive to me. Not every card in this deck gives you it's meaning just by the artwork. Which makes it alittle difficult to identify immediately with each card since images aren't memorable with it's true meaning and may take alittle more time to memorize.
However, either way, all my readings have been accurate with this deck. I like this deck enough that I gave it 4 stars. I believe that this deck, despite the book, is a worthwhile buy.
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on April 12, 2000
Like another reviewer here (I think) I fell in love with these cards upon first sight, without even seeing them in person or touching them, something I rarely do with Tarot cards. Usually I handle them and view in person first -but- this time I did not and did not need to. They are beautiful and I was not dissapointed when I opened the box. I am not even really drawn to dragons or anything (although I do love fantasy and sci-fi stuff)but for some reason these just seemed right and I needed a different type of theme deck to break up the monotony of my current decks. The pictures are sort of muted and fuzzy, almost like looking into a dream; they are not as minutely detailed as some other Tarot decks but the meanings and everything still shines through and they are very warm feeling, the dragons are on every card and help convey the meaning and atmosphere of each. There are no borders on the cards, so it just flows over the card to the edges which I like. Overall a very good deck, better than the other dragon deck out there and I like it better than the other "Celtic" decks I've seen, this one is more user-friendly and easier to understand for those of us not familiar with Celtic lore or Celtic decks.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 17, 2004
Although I am no longer into the occult, which is how I wound up buying this deck, these cards are extremely beautiful. I have the major arcana in a frame on my wall, and some of the minor arcana on display in other parts of my bedroom.
If you are looking into buying a deck of tarot cards, especially if you are a collector, this one is definitely recommended.
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on August 4, 2002
I must admit, i was skeptical at first when i got this deck...
I have used the "Shapeshifter Deck" by the same author and was not impressed... The Shapeshifter cards were a work of art in themselves, but they just didn't speak to me.
The Dragon deck has a life and energy all of its own.
It immediately took form and in its own way started speaking.
The pictures are very fantasy based, yet within the realms of fantsy they have very clear insight to provide answers to questions asked.
I have noticed that this deck has a very "healing effect"...
When reading for other people, this particular deck has a "medical flare" to it... Tuning into people's physical and emotional problems right to the core.
The cards alone have a pleasant energy when you hold them in your hands. It is a very sweet deck, and one that "likes to be used". Definately a deck that likes to be put to work....
I love it =)
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on September 18, 2001
I'd like some feedback from some folks that have actually done readings with this deck. I bought this deck over the weeknd, and the more I look at the cards, the more I like them. But the authors state that they are only to be read in their upright positions. I've been studying Tarot off and on for about a year, and while I admit that reversed cards can be difficult to deal with, totalling excluding them seems a bit unnatural to me. I find it awkward to shuffle the deck in such a way that all the cards come up Upright. It lacks something. Has anyone read with this deck, but ignored the "do not reverse" admonition?
One word about the accompanying book: I like it well enough, though after using a book like Anthony Louis's "Tarot Plain and Simple," the card meanings seem a bit simplistic at times, and, in my opinion, there is something of an overemphasis on Wiccan philosophy. Just stick to the basics without the mumbo-jumbo.
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