Arcus Arcanum Tarot Deck Cards – Sep 1987
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
There is a significant Nordic feel to the deck as well. `The Chariot', for instance, features a figure resembling Thor in a chariot pulled by two goats... `The Three of Cups' displays a man standing between two women, all three holding large golden goblets, and both woman looking towards the man, obviously highly entertained by a story he is relating... but there is also the undercurrent of loving feelings between the three people, as in close friends... it could be a celebratory reunion after returning from a Viking trip. `The Wheel' might seem simplistic at first, featuring three white-clad blonde women around a wooden wheel, but it is reminiscent of the three fates, and the wheel a spinning wheel, on which the threads of life are spun before being woven into the tapestry of time.
The backs of the cards are not reversible, which I find to be a minor detracting point, but only minor. I was lucky to find a twenty-year-old deck in nearly new condition, and I can guarantee I won't be letting it go. You can check out plenty of card images by doing a google image search for `Arcus Arcanum'.
The Arcus Arcanum deck is worth the effort to find. The fact that it does take a bit more effort to find would suggest that this deck will most likely end up with those who it truly fits. But who knows, it might be re-printed again some day.
As for the deck itself, I really like its fantasy-like quality! It feels like Prince Valiant or some other grown-up legend. The colors are vibrant, with soft imagery. Very nice in artistic execution. The intention of the artists was to take the "occult symbols" out of the cards. This is done for the most part. The trumps and suits are occult in their own right. This is hard to do, considering the history of modern tarot. The least occult would be to revert back to the Marseille version.
There are Northern mythology references on various cards.The backs are blue and not meant for reversals. The cards reinvent occultism in their own way. The mysterious arc on the Magician repeats itself on the Sun. These are nice features of the deck. Hence its name-sake "bow of mysteries".
The court cards and minors are all handsome and for the most part, loyal to traditional Rider-Waite symbology. I found it easy to figure out without instructions. This may be a problem to many, as most booklets are in continental European languages. Mine is in Russian. This is the only problem with the deck, So it doesnt count! Language should not be a barrier to a good tarot reader.
Unfortuantely, this deck has gone out of print in American distribution. One must try to obtain it through international cardsellers or pick a copy of it up when travelling on the continent. It is worth the effort.
I was drawn to this deck because the cards seem to have different interpretations than some of the other decks I've used. I was trained using the Morgan-Greer deck, and I was having problems because the readings only used positive aspects of what was happening in a person's life, so I went shopping for something in the Rider-Waite style that wasn't going to cause the same problems for me. This deck was what I found.
Most Tarot cards are open to a myriad of interpretations (my personal experience is only in the Rider-Waite style of cards, and I avoid the ones that just show a number and the element). This deck is, of course, also open to interpretation. I was particularly drawn to this deck because of the Lovers card. The picture is of two lovers on a path with three possible directions they can take. They are together on one leg of the path, one leg of the path has another woman, and another leg of the path has another man. It so clearly illustrates the choice of love that I fell for the deck after seeing that one card. After getting to know the rest of the deck, I found that many of the cards were like that - they held many of the standard interpretations, but they also offered something more than I'd noted in other decks.
This is a great deck. It might be a deck that more men are drawn to, and it might be seen as having a more "masculine" style, but it's a great deck for anyone who feels drawn to the images.