Journeying into the Pagan Otherworlds deck feels like not only a journey into the past, but into a secret land beyond our normal experience. The artwork is sublime and the feel of the deck is amazing. The cards themselves have a texture to them, which makes shuffling and drawing feel like a special experience.
It comes in a box that looks deliciously vintage, if hard to pin to an era.
With 84 cards (the regular 78 tarot cards plus an added “The Seeker” card and five “Luna” cards), the deck is hefty, but not hard to shuffle. The introduction of the additional cards are interesting, especially since the deck does not come with a book. I personally found it delightful to have such a lack of guidance on their use as it felt more intuitive to use them as part of the deck and to reflect on their meaning in the context of the other cards.
The cards themselves feel very pastoral, but in an ethereal fashion, like a dream of a landscape we barely remember.
The imagery pays homage to the traditional Rider-Waite decks, but softens them and makes their style more modern and less weighted down by heavy symbolism. Instead of being packed with signs and portents like some other decks, the Pagan Otherworlds deck uses simple imagery, allowing the user’s subconscious to interface directly with the images without needing the weight of the conscious understanding of twenty or more symbols and esoteric allusions. This isn’t to say that there aren’t esoteric references to those who are looking for them, but they do not interfere with the understanding or appreciation of the deck.
I particularly love their version of The Wheel of Fortune, as it subtly emphasizes “as above, so below” and ties the pastoral into the normal by showing the relationship between nature and the world we experience.
The court cards are where this deck really shines. Each person is portrayed in sumptuous gowns, reminiscent of Renaissance paintings. This is no coincidence, as the deck is “hand painted using traditional oils by Linnea Gits and all copy is hand lettered by Peter Dunham. The deck is inspired by the visual beauty of nature, early Celtic mysticism and the luminous beauty of Renaissance paintings.”
Overall this is a gorgeous deck and will shine on any collector’s shelves. For use, it reads cleanly, but requires some understanding of tarot to approach. Very much recommended.
Featured image courtesy of Uusi Design Studios. All other images property of Vivian Caethe.