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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on April 8, 2004
At first glance the deck does seem really pretty, but then, as was already noted, this only applies to *some* of the cards. The rest I found to be rather creepy. And as much as I'm a fan of non-traditional tarot, the art in this deck was entirely too cluttered. There's so much going on in the picture that you're unable to pick out what it's trying to tell you. It's like being a teacher and trying to get an answer out of your students but all of them are talking at once while a room-wide game of paper football is occurring.
And I will admit that I have a bias against this deck after the experience my friend had. In all likelyhood, it was probably just her particular deck and not all Spiral decks, but her deck was lying and manipulative. I know it's hard to comprehend how a deck could be personified like this rather than just being wrong or read wrong. But I could get the same answer with all of my decks and her deck would contradict that and somehow sound more convincing.
So all in all I'd say proceed with caution if you think this deck is for you.
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on May 17, 2003
The "Bubble Gum" reader from CA in 2002 must have been having a bad day. I was cautious about buying this deck after that review, but the beauty of the cards won me over. And isn't that the way it's supposed to be? The cards should speak to the reader; so go to a site with illustrations of these cards and see what you think. I find the Major Arcana cards totally evocative and multi-dimensional; similar to the Waite so you're not trying to figure out where they fit, but with a clarity of their own. I don't mind the purple border; purple is the color of spirituality. My main worry was the Minor Arcana cards; I was expecting some tawdy Victorian cartoon drawings or something. But I find the Minor Arcana of this deck to be very people-oriented; one review at another site mentioned it hits the "details". Their setting has a mythology of its own. The one drawback I've found so far is with the Court Cards; personally I prefer the Robin Wood version. But I'm sure the court cards will prove their own worth, as well.
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on March 25, 2002
I bought this deck based upon the glowing reviews I'd read here. Was I disappointed! The cards are about the size of regular playing cards (smaller than a standard Rider-Waite)--which wouldn't be a bad thing, except that they also have garish computer-made looking purple borders. They make the cards look like cheap bubble gum trading cards. In addition, I was quite turned off by the paintings. They look like cheap illustration hack work. It has the look of the work of a student or amateur--someone who hasn't found an artistic voice of her own. She paints in the styles of various famous (in this case, mostly impressionist and fantasy) painters, but falls far short of the artistic merit of the original practitioners. Her paintings don't look like homages to the masters, but, rather, like the work of someone with little originality. I realize that this is only a tarot deck, and wasn't meant to be a great work of art, but I wanted to warn people who might, as I did, buy this one based upon reviews that make it sound so artful and painterly. It isn't. And even if the paintings had been better, the borders are so atrocious and distracting that they'd be unnoticeable anyway.
It should also be noted that this deck is supposed to be very celtic.
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on August 24, 2001
The Spiral Tarot is my primary reading deck. Based primarily on Rider-Waite-Smith, it's eclectic and easy to learn. The Majors, especially, are heavily derived from Smith's artwork, but Steventon's style is much more elaborate and magical. I can't describe it very well; check out a tarot review site for pictures. While she draws heavily on Smith, Steventon makes several of the cards unmistakably her own. The Devil is one innovation--old Beelzebub is holding up a mirror, and the woman in the mirror blocks her reflection from her own sight. The Minors are done in a 19th-century style; some of the cards are clearly based on Impressionistic, Romantic, and Pre-Raphaelite works. For example, the 3 of Pentacles pictures a ballet dancer and reminds one of Degas's art, while the 8 of Cups is reminiscent of Rossetti's "Proserpina". Most of the cards are beautiful and evocative. The deck is not overly religious or political, and so is useful for any question and any querent. I recommend it to anyone; a beginner and an advanced reader could probably both enjoy this deck.
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on November 16, 2001
I agree with the other reviewer who gave 5 stars. The artwork is beautiful and the book accompany this deck will explain the imagaes, which will help you as an aide-memoire to figure out the meanings of the cards if you are a beginner. This is a great deck for beginners as it was my very first deck and I learned tarot using this deck. The images are very classic and look like paintings. There are also images that are hints in the background of the cards relating the numerology and jewish mysticism (tree of life) aspect of tarot to the pictures. one note: this deck uses pentacles for a suit instead of coins or discs, but it's hard to know that from the outside of the box--just in case you have a preference for the name of the suit or if you don't like to look at pentacles (which give an occult look) to the deck--even though in tarot that is not what pentacles stand for. I enjoy this deck very much even today.
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on November 20, 1999
This deck is awesome. The symbolism is close to the standard Waite type, but the artwork has been improved a great deal. The Major Arcana cards are the nicest I've come across. The Minor Arcana are simpler, and look like the artist didn't spend as much time on them, but they are still very good. I found it very easy to read these cards; in fact I'd recommend not using the little interpretation booklet at all. The cards are that intuitive. If you like this one, you might also like the Robin Wood deck, which is similar but with a different style of drawing. Both are easy to read and have beautiful artwork.
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on January 2, 2004
The visual side of this deck is amazing, each card an oil painting that has been meticulously beaded.
The images are big visual memory prompts, teaching you what each card represents. I also, being a student of history, love the celtic and Arthurian themes that run through the arcanas.
I am a beginner to astrology and do not understand a lot of the symbols on the cards, but I find this deck easy to use and really helpful, as just using it improves your knowledge of symbology and the art of tarot.
I definately recommend it, its a brilliant buy and well worth the money.
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on August 5, 2002
My husband bought me this deck as a present and I immediately fell in love with it. I have other decks that I use but since receiving this Spiral deck, I find that I'm drawn more to it and have gained a new understanding of the cards. The images for the minor arcana are insightful and I find that interpretation has come much more readily and I don't always have to consult a book for meaning. It's also nice to compare and contrast this deck with others to see how the images are portrayed. I recommend this to beginners, collectors or almost anyonre interested in Tarot.
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on December 20, 2003
Pity that the deck forces Golden Dawn Hebrew letter attributions: they are included upon the cards. Via the Waite/Colman Smith deck and the many commentaries discussed in numerous books, these attributions have spread widely, yet, many share the view that these are *not* correct. To have them presented leaves the person unfree to work with letter attributions (if at all) as they so wish, or as they discover differently from deeper study.
If it wasn't for this, I would have given it a far higher rating - the artwork is worth a four or five star.
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on July 2, 2003
A lot of people really like this deck. It just wasn't me. I bought the deck based on the Major Arcana. The minors look like they come from a completely different deck to me. The majors all look mythological .. while the minors remind me of the deep south during early America. So, I sold it. I would just advise getting a look at all the cards before making a decision. (one good thing - the cards are not large so they are great for smaller hands. the size reminded me of the hanson-roberts deck)
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