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Templar Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $15.54

ProductID: alt1090

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About this item
  • The Templar Tarot is a unique art deck based on the legends of the Knights Templar, a medieval group of monks and
  • warrior knights. It has 79 card, the extra is a major arcana card titled 'The Magic Flute'.


Specifications
Name Templar Tarot
Creators Allen Chester
Publisher Inspire by Design 2001
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 79
Major Arcana 23
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Mixed
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes With Suit Symbols
Suits Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards Page, Knight, Queen, King
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11
Card Size 3.50 x 5.00 in. = 8.89cm x 12.70cm
Card Language English
Card Back Unknown


Reviews
This over-sized deck is composed entirely of original art by Allen Chester. Because of that it presents a unified look and colour theme. Other decks, also created by a single artist (apparently) sometimes have cards that do not seem to fit the overall pattern (Osho Zen, which seemed to have as many as three artists creating the cards), or minors that seem to be a significantly style than the majors (Gendron for example). In this case, while the majors appear to be more complex, with more richly symbolic background fields, the whole is pleasingly integrated both in colour scheme and approach.

The deck is supposed to be based on the story of the Templar Knights, whose self-appointed task was to protect pilgrims travelling in the Holy Land. The link with that story is weak, but the deck is redolent of Christian symbolism which fits that theme. The majors especially show the crucifixion in many of cards. It is the main theme of Judgement, but it appears often in the background, appearing in the bark of a tree, in the clouds or just casually woven into the busy backgrounds. Nails are also a prominent feature, as is the Christian Rose. The obsession of that era with death and skeletons, and even bones is very prominent as well. Curiously, pagan symbolism is mixed in with the Christian, many of the figures having the horns of the nature god. The Templars were very devoted Christians, if possibly somewhat secretive (with good reason) and obsessive.

Angels are present in many cards, but often in 'shocking' ways. With wings damaged, or destroyed. These are not the angels of the "Healing with Angels" cards. These angels are struggling and suffering. Even the devil is shown with red, distorted angel wings. Nonetheless, these images give the deck great power and strong vision. Despite the strong, if muted, colours, I would say this is a deck with a darker vision of life.

The artist shows the greatest originality in the majors. The minors, with some brilliant exceptions, follow the general Rider-Waite themes. Starting with a Hindu-goddess Magician dancing lightly on death (a cobra), through a Priest (Hierophant) pierced with feathers like St Sebastian was with arrows, a brilliant rendering of the Hermit as an angel with damaged wings wrapped in a burqa-like garment and on to the Moon showing an angel with ruined wings kneeling in a barren wildness, the majors are a source of mediation. My only complaint and it is slight, is that the cards are sometimes too busy. Strength is one that I find just too loaded with images. The mind finds it hard to find a place to lock on and absorb the meaning.

The minors move between re-working of the Rider-Waite themes and some new constructions. I would choose the suit of Pentacles as being the most original. The seven of Pentacles shows an angel wrestling with a horned man over a pentacle while 6 more surround them on poles. It is an unusual rendering. In fact the 6, 5 and 4 of pentacles are all strikingly re-created. The 5 shows an angel weeping over 5 badly damaged pentacles lying on the ground. Of the Cups, I would pick the 7 of cups, which shows a woman reaching up towards a vision of 7 cups, marked with the Templar cross and hovering in a circle around the Christian rose. It is a different slant on that card of visions and hopes.

I like this deck. It is familiar enough to be accessible, but with a different enough slant to give that changed perspective, that slight twist to the cards that most of us expect out of a new deck. The LWB is not especially strong, but the authors promise that a full sized book will be forthcoming. I think most people could read with this deck and I would recommend it.


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