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Archeon Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $16.63

ProductID: alt622

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About this item
  • The Archeon Tarot features a mix of traditional and non-traditional imagery in dream-like digital collage, inspired by the author's personal symbolism and mythology.

Name Archeon Tarot
Creators Timothy Lantz
Publisher US Games 2005
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78
Major Arcana 22
Minor Arcana 56
Deck Tradition Mixed
Minor Arcana Style Unique Scenes With Suit Symbols
Suits Cups, Swords, Wands, Pentacles
Court Cards Herald, Knight, Queen, King
Major Titles 0 The Fool, I The Magician, II The High Priestess, III The Empress, IV The Emperor, V The Hierophant, VI The Lovers, VII The Chariot, VIII Strength, IX The Hermit, X Wheel of Fortune, XI Justice, XII The Hanged Man, XIII Death, XIV Temperance, XV The Devil, XVI The Tower, XVII The Star, XVIII The Moon, XIX The Sun, XX Judgement, XXI The World
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11
Card Size 4.75 x 2.75 in. = 12.06cm x 6.99cm
Card Language English
Card Back Reversible
Back Design Shades of green and black with superimposed gold.


I'm not always fond of darker coloured decks; aside from sometimes seeming depressing, often the palette suffers in what is likely a printing issue. That is definitely not the case here, perhaps due to this deck having been printed in Italy. The colours are deep and rich, and many of the card images have an inner glow to them. With the entire deck spread on a table, one can see the predominance of oranges and reds on the majority of the cards, with blues dominating most of the remainder. There is some purple, green, and grey as well. Details are picked out with golden yellow, violet, and white. Contrast is provided by black, present on every card. The borders are actually triple: a very narrow striped band surrounds the image, then a small area of mostly dark greens, and ultimately a narrow black band around the outer edge of each card. This sounds as if the borders are very wide. They are not; only a bit over one quarter inch on the top and sides, while slightly wider on the bottom for the title/number. T he backs have a pleasant reversible design of the same dark greens, and gold. Titles and numbers are in white, are very clear, but do not overly intrude. Few pastels here; the colours are vigorous and determined. The quality card stock has a glossy finish, and is a good size at 2.75" by 4.75". The overall effect is one of great visual depth.

Lantz has created a fully illustrated, standard format tarot deck, with 78 cards and the usual 22 in the Major Arcana. The Fool is first, with Strength as VIII and Justice as XI. The vibrant images vary from recognisably close to traditional, as in The Chariot, Strength, and the Hermit, to uniquely Lantz, as in The High Priestess(see scan on other page), Temperance(see scan), and The World(autumn foliage). The Devil is a wonderfully mischievous Pan figure. The beautiful Moon card, always a "test card" for me, features a full moon, smaller phased moons, two female figures, and two ravens(a number of these fascinating black birds appear on various cards). Despite the absence of towers, pooches, and a crustacean, this is a very evocative image. The Majors include at least 11 cards with moon images(and the Minors 15); not a bad thing to my mind! Suitably enough, Death(see scan) is the very darkest of all these card images.

There are the usual 4 suits of 14 cards, being Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands. The only title change is amongst the Court cards, where we find Herald, Knight, Queen, and King. Dominant colouring amongst the Courts are orange/brown in Cups, grey/rust in Swords, orange/violet in Pentacles, and red/black in Wands. This works out to be more attractive than it may sound.

As far as suit symbols are concerned, in the suit of Cups, every card includes goblets of various types in the appropriate number set within the image. The lone exception is the Ten of Cups, which has 10 Japanese Sake cups. The suits of Swords and Pentacles include essentially identical symbols on each card of the appropriate number, worked into the image. The Swords are swords, but Pentacles are represented by an interesting circular device apparently used in ancient astrology(a "Horologium"?). This also appears as part of the back design. Amongst the Wands there is much more diversity, the Ace being an ancient Egyptian papyrus-working tool, and most of the others are longer, narrower, and pointed; some are even dangerous looking.

With all the Minors being illustrated, there are again some differences in imagery from a RWS-style deck. The following examples are not exhaustive, but will give a sense of the visual and symbolic changes Lantz has made. None of the Knights has a visible horse, and the Knight of Swords is probably female. The Seven of Cups and the Three of Wands both contain a Pegasus figure(winged horse). Three of the Heralds are female, and the Herald of Pentacles is a somewhat androgynous angel figure. In the suit of Swords, the Two, Six, Eight, and Ten are recognisably close to RWS standard, while the others are perhaps less so. The Seven of Swords(see scan) is a favourite of mine, with a "trickster" raven holding a solar disk, like a gold pocket watch by the chain, and nearly merging with its lunar background. Amongst Pentacles, the Five is a somewhat sombre angel seated and hugging her knees(see scan), while the Ten is an elaborate castle upon a rock overlooking a lava flow. In Wands, the Five is a wild-looking male figure(see scan) marked with a white handprint a la the Uruk-hai from "Lord of the Rings". The Seven is a Japanese pagoda-type building high on a hill at night, and the Ten has that number of human skulls topping each of the "wands" in the foreground. For the suit of Cups, the Three is a dark-haired woman holding a smallish black bird with a huge full moon in the background. The Six is a masked and costumed Carnivale character in the midground with an old manuscript, and the Nine is devoid of living creatures but displays coins and other symbols of material wealth in addition to the nine gold goblets present. There is some nudity in this deck. It has been, as they say, "tastefully handled", but it will not escape notice that there is somewhat more of the female variety than of the male. That said, several women have told me of their very positive reaction to the men depicted on cards such as the Five of Swords, Eight of Pentacles, and Nine of Wands.

Now a few words about the 48 page LWB that comes with the Archeon Tarot. Here Lantz explains too briefly the "Symbolist" approach that undergirds his art, and how the card images are personal to the point of being "windows" into his own "mythology". With some relief then the reader will find individual card significations given that are not a radical departure from standards like the RWS. In other words, in the Archeon Tarot, sometimes very different images have been used to convey basically the "meanings" with which most of us are familiar. There are some Lantz nuances, but the author-artist takes a fairly conservative approach, and there is no need to learn an entirely new tarot system. Only one spread is given; the venerable Celtic Cross. This is one of the more basic but still useful LWBs I've seen.

This is definitely a tarot deck for collectors. I can see how it might be used in meditation. Some interesting storywork could emerge from it. It can certainly be used for divination, perhaps even for tarot beginners with a nocturnal inclination. In a pinch, because of the numbers of suit symbols on each card, one could even play Tarocchi. However, as far as I can determine, this is not a "sophisticated" tarot for pathworking or astrological use. Archeon is a visually attractive set of tarot cards for regular reading, with no perceptible religious bias. It lends itself very well to intuitive reading. And this is no amateur artistic effort. As modern tarot decks go, this one is skilfully made, pleasant to use, and refreshing to the eye and mind!

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