Jac Reviews: Tarot of Loka

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The court cards in Loka. Cavalier, Jack, Queen and King.

Thank you for joining us for another of Jac’s reviews! We know it’s been a while, but thank you for sticking with us through 2020.

Here I am going to talk about a deck that is unlike the others we have looked at. The Tarot of Loka, from Ralph Horseley and Alessio Cavatore. This is a card game based on the classic decks we’re all familiar with and designed for playing in mind. It draws its origin from a time before the popular designs of Pamala Smith and looks to her inspiration, the Marseille deck. While these cards can be used for readings it’s important to remember that you can enjoy these as the entertainment they’ve always represented.

Loka is a trick taking game that is designed for four players; two people for each team. Players go around the table placing cards and the highest value card takes all the lower, gaining points for their respective teams. The Major Arcana are the most powerful “suit” and you gain more points for collecting specific cards.

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The artwork is imaginative and whimsical in its euro fantasy style. Replacing the traditional suits with the four elements makes the deck feel right in any medieval themed amusements. The Pages and Knights have transformed into Jacks and Cavaliers to more easily relate to playing cards. However in changing the deck to be approachable, to people interested in the game, the Minor Arcana have been reduced to their pips!

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Produced by Lo Scarabeo, the instruction manual is multilingual which allows everyone to learn this wonderful game! The cards have a smooth matte finish that makes them easy to slide across the table while dealing. They are also of a moderate thickness that makes them easy to shuffle but not leave you concerned that they will be torn by children who want to learn the game.

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The Tarot of Loka is a great deck to introduce people to the idea of tarot without being intimidating. Too many folks have been taught to be nervous around tarot, never exploring the cards and the variety of ways to enjoy them. It’s also a good way to find new joy in what you may think is a tool only meant for divinations. Everyone can come together and learn to have fun and grow a new appreciation for a game that has its root in centuries of history!

Like the look of this deck and want to try it for yourself? Click the links below to purchase!

Tarot of Loka

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Tarot of Loka

Jac Reviews: Tarot Art Nouveau

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The Devil and the Two of Cups, some of the more interesting cards of Tarot Art Nouveau

Thank you for joining us for another of Jac’s reviews!

Today I’m reviewing the Tarot Art Nouveau, illustrated by Antonella Castelli. She was able to draw inspiration from the classic design of tarot to develop a flow of color that washes throughout her images. She keeps the focus primarily on human figure and their emotions in this deck.

I’m struck by the soft coloring contrasted with bold outlines to create a feel of watercolor that bleeds through every picture. Some of them are difficult to draw meaning from, however, even if you are familiar with tarot. While many reflect their inspiration from the classic design, others are too ambiguous to attach a clear explanation.

The Devil and the Two of Cups, for example, are clearly new creative visions of the cards. Far removed from Smith’s symbolism, these images still express the intent of tarot schema upon which concepts are built. The Devil looks devious, yet alluring, and the 2 of Cups shows a deeply close relationship.

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The Five of Pentacles, Ten of Pentacles, and Five of Chalices focus more on pretty figures than their meanings.

In contrast, however, we have the Five of Chalices and Coins along with the Ten of Coins. Fives normally express hardship and loss in their extremes, where these women seem a bit downcast there’s nothing to suggest pain or despair. The joy and fulfillment of success is absent from the 10 of Cups, as well. She looks rather blasé instead of even expressing subtle emotions, like pride or contentment.

It is a Lo Scarabeo deck. These offer a multilingual review of the card meanings and a basic layout for readings in its manual. Additionally, every card has its name written in the corners so many people can use them. While all tarot readings should have a variety of interpretations, I’m amused by the more literal approach. The small booklet itself also provides a generally adequate explanation of what each card represents.

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Backs of the Mini and standard decks

The full size deck and the mini deck both have a gloss finish which makes them slick to slide well across themselves for swirl shuffling. The card stock is comfortably thick, so I don’t feel as though I’m damaging them with every use. The back of the standard size deck has a bilateral image of The Fool, while the mini has a unilateral framing of Justice. The color seems a gentle wash in its larger form, rather than bold splashing in miniature.

The Art Nouveau style has always clashed with industrial design in favor of a organically inspired creation. The lines curve and flow, often blending nature and humanity. Within this deck you can feel the style held constantly. It does seem like the focus was more about illustrate a beautiful form over being able to express meaning behind the deck. Regardless, I don’t find it to detract from the cards usability and it’s a deck I have made great use of.

Like the look of this deck and want to try it for yourself? Click the links below to purchase!

Tarot Art Nouveau

Tarot Art Nouveau Mini

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Tarot Art Nouveau