Tarot and Oracle Decks have exploded into the common experience since the 1990s. Today there are literally thousands of decks to choose from, including out-of-print decks and published ones. Reviewing anything involves subjective judgment based on various criteria.
I will be looking at the quality and size of the cards, visual accessibility of the art, quality of the companion text of the deck, and potential usefulness in professional practice. This month I have chosen to review The Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson.
The Linestrider Tarot
The Linestrider Tarot was published in 2016 by Llewellyn Publications and it came with a 274-page book. The deck is available on Amazon for $23.17 at the time this article was written.
From the publisher:
Spun with soft strokes of vibrant color and intricate detail, The Linestrider Tarot features gentle yet evocative images that dance on the edge between magic and logic. With grace and innovation, Siolo Thompson’s captivating minimalist art will enhance your readings in powerful and profound ways.
Linestriding is about walking in two worlds—one foot in each to discover guidance. Drawing inspiration from the edge while still moving forward on the Fool’s journey, this Rider-Waite-Smith-based deck helps uncover the answers you seek about health, love, career, and much more.
From the back of the companion book:
Learn to walk the path of the Linestrider, where vibrant color meets the blank page, the conscious and unconscious mind speak the same language, and humans and animals live in harmony. Along the way, you’ll discover answers to life’s biggest mysteries about your past, present, and future.
This companion book is the roadmap for your journey through The Linestrider Tarot, providing a thorough analysis of each card. From plant, number, and astrological correspondences to the symbolic meanings of even the smallest details, this guide presents everything you need to use this gorgeous, thought-provoking deck to its fullest potential.
The card stock is medium quality, so the cards will begin to show wear after regular or heavy use. They are somewhat larger than a regular deck of playing cards, but not so long that a person will small hands will struggle to shuffle them. They bend easily and do not stick together, which makes the shuffling performance enjoyable for clients if you read professionally. This deck is more rectangular than square, with rounded edges, and has beautifully rendered images of an ethereal water-color style.
Visual Accessibility of the Deck
The visual accessibility of the deck is somewhat limited due to its creative mimicry of the Rider-Waite Tarot, which is not, in fact, a very visually accessible deck. There are no keywords, so you will have to learn the cards by reading the book and practicing with the deck.
Truly, the artist modernized the Rider-Waite imagery, and the watercolor style is magnificent. Once you learn the cards and the choices made by the artist, you can choose to explain the visuals of the cards to clients in detail. But the connection with the meaning and the art will not be readily apparent without explanation and study.
Explanation of the Cards
The companion book devotes two to three pages of explanation for each card, both majors and minors. Keywords are provided at the start of the explanatory text. The 4 of Cups receives depression, self-indulgence, denial, turning inward, moodiness, and lack of vision (109). After the keywords, there are several paragraphs of explanation, ending with Correspondences. The Correspondences include a number – 4, associated birthdays – June 9 to June 14, and associated plants: burdock and lotus.
As a professional reader who started reading cards for pay in 1992, I can say that this deck does work well in public because the images are both arresting and pleasing. Even though the client will not be able to make much of the imagery for many of the cards, the beautiful visual appeal does create a psychological openness that often makes readings with these cards “stick” in the person’s mind.
It is one of my top 25 “go-to” decks for public readings. I rotate two decks at a time in my public practice, while I have the other 23 on display in my office for clients to pick when they come to me for an in-person reading. The deck is a good choice if I am reading somewhere for the first time, especially at a venue where tarot reading may really be stretching people’s comfort level.
The deck is not an “open-ready-go!” kind of deck (unlike, say, the Osho Zen Tarot or the Sun and Moon Tarot). You will have to put some study in if you are considering this deck to be your first deck. I do think the visual creativity could be a strong enough draw to keep at it, well after most people would choose to give up learning the Rider-Waite deck.
I will give this deck a high rating. It does crack my top 25 group of decks that I use for public readings, so I take it with me to read. I keep the cards in a simpler box befitting the card artwork and the feeling I think the client would like to experience when choosing the box and hearing the name of the deck before we begin the reading.
As a professional, I do enjoy reading with the deck and can recommend it as a solid extra deck for someone with reading experience, rather than a true novice. If you are a tarot and oracle card collector, then this is certainly a deck you need to have in your collection.