Revelations Tarot, by Zach Wong
Kit: Llewellyn Worldwide, 0738706078, 199 pp. & 80 card deck
The artwork of the Revelations Tarot is a sort of cross between pseudo-art nouveau and stained glass and the effect works. Each card also has a reverse image, not a mere mirror image, but a separate picture interwoven to display a different interpretation.
The major arcana depicts each character wearing a mask, representative of ‘a “human” relation, similar to that of mythical gods who stand in human form among us to ease our comprehension of the message they deliver’, apparently further identifying them with archetypes rather than physical people.
The minor arcana of the Revelations Tarot is distinctly different from many decks I’ve seen. The suits are arranged as one might expect, ranging from ace to ten, then the court cards of Page, Knight, Queen and King, and many of the scenes depicted are familiar owing to the inspiration drawn from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. For example, the Eight of Swords (a particularly beautiful card), depicts a woman bound with a loose cord in the upright meaning, and her blindfold off and unbound in the reversed. The colour schemes are not wholly unifying and the characters depicted in the suits are often quite weird and wonderful. The characters of wands are ‘magicians, warriors, saves, and opulent individuals’; swords are ‘warriors, highly ornate and decorated, firm, and serious’; cups are ‘merpeople of the oceans and seas’; and pentacles are ‘metallic humanoids that are one with their element’.
Each card is given an upright and reversed meaning in the Revelations Tarot Companion, with specifications for which image is the reversed in certain cards (e.g. The Hanged Man). Each interpretation takes three focuses: the individual, a relationship, and a situation. The meanings are also accompanied by helpful descriptions of the images and symbols used in the card and how they were intended by Wong.
The last two cards in the deck are cards depicting two different spreads, the Horoscope Spread and the Seven Day spread, both spreads are explained in more detail toward the end of the Revelations Tarot Companion, the book accompanying the deck. Indeed in addition to the two spreads mentioned above, two additional spreads are also given in the companion work, the usual Past, Present, Future spread, and the Four Elements Spread.
Overall this is a beautiful deck; different, yet easily accessible. Deck collectors will love it.