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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on February 12, 2003
This is a reprinted version of the UW. I'm not sure what happened, but it appears nobody paid much attention to the printing process. Result: The older version of the UW had much clearer colours, this one is muddy, some of the cards are downright pallid, and in some of them you can't make out some of the symbols.
I think US Games is coming out with a brighter recoloured RWS in Spring, 2003. Hold off until then, or go with the RWS itself, at least if you want to be able to decipher the cards.
Pity, because this used to be a good alternative to the RWS. These days I couldn't recommend it.
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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.
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on July 27, 2000
I like this deck's colours, which are generally more attractive than those of the regular Rider-Waite deck, but the changed details are too much for me.
Examples -
The sun card : the flag is shown as having one side orange as in the original deck and one side red as the book says the whole flag should be, the sun is missing a ray, and the sun's face are painted to look softer and feminine.
The High Priestess : the garments are coloured differently (the inner white, the outer blue, and the head cover white), which is nice but the effect of the garments turning to water is lost.
The Lovers card : the leafs on the tree behind the man are mostly yellow, and dont look much like flames like they should - it's an important connection between the Devil card and the Lovers card.
And the list continues, e.g. it looks like the sun rises behind the emperor and the magician has a white hallo.
In my opinion, the details are very important and those changes modify the cards' meanings, and being used to the original details I feel uncomfortable using the deck.
The colouring's advantage is to make the cards warmer and more attractive, which are pluses for new readers who are a bit afraid of the original harsher colouring.
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on January 18, 2000
I have used the Rider-Waite deck for more than 20 years and am very drawn to the symbology that fill these cards.
I have the Hanson/Roberts deck and love the artwork and was excited when I first found that she had colored the Rider-Waite deck.
This is a beautiful deck... a little overcolored in some cards...drawing one's eye into areas that neither the original artist or author intended, but that's not bad either...
Only, I wish she'd paid more attention to detail..sometimes my eyes fell to the Hebrew letters above the triangle on the Temperance card and that meant something in that reading... these are now replaced with fabric folds in the new version. Sometimes in the Kt. of Swords... the eyes of the horse appearing to be looking back at the knight gave the thought that maybe this 'knight' I'm reading for is moving faster than they can see where they are going... but this newly colored knight's horse is looking very straight ahead. This is only a couple of many, many symbols that were missed or left out, whether to lack of research and study or deliberate, I couldn't use this deck for that reason, so just one for the collection.
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on June 16, 2004
I pre-ordered this MONTHS ago, and it arrived today! It comes in a nifty little dark blue box, with artwork from the deck of course. This box is much better than standard, where the top comes completely off: less wear on that one card that ends up at the back of the deck, plus it just looks nicer. The backs are a little different: dark blue sky with blue clouds and a single yellow star in the middle. The colors are much more vivid than the newer version of the standard-sized Univeral Waite (um, maybe USGames should look into that, as it's obviously a printing issue). Of course the size is very nice for us small-handed Tarot-holics! Well done version.
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on March 24, 2002
I own five versions of the Rider-Waite deck. I don't exactly dislike this interpretation--if you're used to looking at the more standard un-shaded versions, this will bring out details that you might not have noticed before. However, I find the colored pencil work more than slightly irritating. It has the look of having been colored in by an amateur in a coloring book. It isn't a very professional or artistic-looking coloring job. It's not atrocious, but it's not really great, either. The use of colored pencils--especially as applied here--also doesn't ring particularly true to the age in which this deck was originally conceived, nor to what one would imagine were Pamela Coleman-Smith's original intentions.
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on January 3, 2000
The Rider-Waite was my first deck, and although I have many others, I still appreciate and use it. I was glad that a recoloration of the deck had been undertaken, and I really wanted to like it. I do, but with qualifications. First of all, my feeling is that Hanson-Roberts should have had as her motto "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Some of the original cards were just fine the way they were! The Hermit comes to mind; I found the flat, mysterious blue-gray background color of the original to be just perfect. The same is true of the original Aquarian-blue background of the Queen of Swords, and the striking yellow of The Magician. The Universal Waite versions of these cards have various shadings and nimbuses of light that diminish from the overall impact. I also find that the original Aces have more power and presence than the new versions.
Perhaps the most disconcerting for me is the way that Mary Hanson-Roberts changed the details of the faces. Contrary to a previous reviewer, I think Pamela Coleman-Smith was a fine graphic artist and had the ability to communicate volumes with a simple penstroke. The new deck has hazy, washed out features (The High Priestess, in particular, reminids me of a girl I knew in high school who wore white lipstick) that seem to make the figures slightly disembodied, and not really firmly in the settings. The worst example of this is the Queen of Wands, who has quite an attractive visage in the Rider-Waite deck. This new version shows her homely and shell-shocked, with huge nostrils as the dominant feature of her face. I really do enjoy the new quality of the colors, but especially since Hanson-Roberts has her own published deck out, I wish she had contented herself with being more at the service of the original Coleman-Smith drawings, and not tinkered quite so much with them.
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on June 29, 2015
These cards are great! The images are easier to interpret. The colours are lovely; more vibrant than the original rider Waite deck but not cartoonish bright like the Radiant Waite deck. The card stock quality is excellent and it has a shiny gloss finish. I also love the card back image.
The cards themselves get a 4 star rating but Amazon gets 2 stars. Why? Because when I received my package the cards were an obvious reused item. The card box it came in was bent, the corners were frayed and ripped, and it was sealed hastily with packing tape (WTF). To top it off the cards were not sealed, the packaging was already open. I was NOT impressed. I returned it and bought another. However Amazon sent me another deck in the same condition! The box was even more beat up but the cards were completely sealed so I'm going to keep it. Seriously Amazon if you're going to resell a used/returned item, reduce the price or repackage the item properly geez.
Other than that I highly recommend these cards for beginner or experienced tarot readers. 4 stars for Universal Waite deck - 2 stars for Amazon
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on July 8, 2000
My first deck of tarot cards were the Universal Waite cards. I have since purchased several other decks, but the Universal Waite cards are the ones that I use the most. They are great for the beginner as they are the cards used most to illustrate books on tarot. I however like them most for their beautiful color and their detailed pictures. I find it very easy to read and understand the meanings of these cards. Some decks are so different that you need their companion book always by your side to understand the reading, but this is not so with the Universal Waite; even the novice tarot card reader can get a pretty good meaning of these cards. As I bought this deck through Amazon with no prior knowledge of tarot, I became curious about other tarot decks and I went on a search for the "perfect" tarot deck for me. I am finding however, that the more decks that I collect that I started out with the PERFECT deck! I think that you may find this to be true for you too.
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on August 21, 2000
I have always had a standard Rider-Waite Deck, which I have never used. When I only just looked through the cards, every message always came as a shock to me (both the darker and lighter cards), because te deck was made to do just that: instantly be clear as meaning. I like the images very well of the standard Rider-Waite, but the colours felt like someone banging with a stick at my head, so I had to turn myself away to much subtler-harder-to-read-decks. But sometimes I kept picking them up, thinking 'if they would exist of subtler, more beautiful colours'... and here they are. Finally I can pick it up and read it serenely without being mentally attacked. And yes there are some little detail changes, also again they help me ease-up, because it are the bang-on-the-head details that are made softer. Finally a Raider deck where I can look at the cake, and not made my nose rubbed into it.
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