Friday, 13 March 2015

Prisma Visions Tarot Overview

This week's deck, the Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, is definitely special.  That feeling comes over me as I open the lovely, sturdy box with the all-seeing eye on it, and see that the intricate imagery continues inside the lid and box.  The companion booklet is equally beautiful, and as for the cards!

The first thing that strikes me is their silver edges and the sturdy yet flexible feel of the cards.  The lamination is good, not excessive, and the colours swirl together in a beautiful, vibrant, ever-changing dance.

Looking more closely, at first I was surprised that the Majors have borders, while none of the other cards do.  Laying a few spreads, though, I realise how well this works.  It makes the Majors stand out more as way-markers, separate and yet connected to the rest of the images.

As for the borderless suits, well, the extra special treat is that the cards combine into a single, long image when laid out in order.  While you can see this on the website, the effect is somewhat compromised because the author couldn't fit all the images on a single row.  So, I decided to make a video of one of the suits to share with you, to give you the full effect.  You're welcome!

The final treat is an extra card, Strawberries, numbered with a question mark :D

Another question, of course, is how do these cards read?  The Majors show quite different imagery to the traditional.  For example, in the Fool we have a pelican standing on a bollard encircled with a life ring.  A waning moon sits in the sky, and a bear swims in the waters beneath the pelican.  The booklet says the bear has swum out of his depth, and is now on a journey he knows not where.  Will the pelican help him find his way?

The majority of the Majors are still readable according to traditional notions, though a few of them strike me as strange.  The Sun shows a somewhat Dali-esque melting bouquet of bright flowers: they all grow from the light of the sun, but you can't actually see the sun.  And there is a whole pack of lions in Strength, with a strange, shadow figure walking behind them...

The Devil, with its red-lit forest scene, confused me until I noticed the snake wending its way ever deeper into the trees.  And I adore the Tower: a house sits on the edge of a cliff that has been worn away by the sea beneath, so that now the house sits over the water with just an ever-thinning layer of soil keeping it from toppling into the waves below.  It's just a matter of time...

The Courts are relatively easy to work with, fitting traditional ideas.  For instance, the Queen of Pentacles sits, holding her pentacle gently between both arms, in an abundant field.  About her are magical, juicy strawberries.  The colours are lush, the ground seems fertile, and the Queen appears both peaceful and very much a part of the landscape.  The only Court card that surprised me is the King of Pentacles, which shows him doing a handstand on a bull's horns.  Hardly very grounded, though I guess it does show mastery of the physical!

The Aces are equally beautiful and energetic.  The Ace of Wands positively glows, while the Ace of Chalices overflows.  The Ace of Swords is plunged at an angle into a snowy piece of ground, while the Ace of Pentacles decorates a door into a wondrous world.

Finally, the Minors.  These cards are also full of energy, and the majority read easily and well.  Take the Nine of Chalices (Cups), which shows a figure gazing out across a lake at the sun rising or setting.  A feeling of contentment and emotional plenty pervades it.

There are a few Minors which aren't quite as easy to read, though not many.  And even those are more non-traditional than unreadable.  My only other slight quibble is that the "story arc" aspect of the cards does sometimes mean you have slightly strange, cut-off elements at the edges of a card.  Overall, though, I think the wonder of these cards outweighs this, and I find it a very readable deck.  So much so, I've decided to do next week's reading with it, too :)

9 comments:

  1. Ack, you are killing my bank account, heehee. I was supposed to be getting the Fountain Tarot last month for my birthday (no go because of production and shipping issues). So I have given myself the Prisma Visions instead. Your video and review pushed me over the edge (how's that for shifting responsibility? :D). I'm curious what you make of the strawberry - is that like the happy squirrel card? I get the multiple lions; sometimes I do feel like I have a pride rumbling around to deal with rather than just one!

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    1. I thought of the Strawberry as something ripe with possibilities, delicious, and juicy :) And looking at the book, I'm not far off: "Life bursts forth! Streaming out of strawberries, this seminal energy is present in many of the strongest, most active cards of the tarot deck. Jubilant and powerful, it flocks to any conduit that can manifest it." Hope you love the deck, Bev!

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  2. I've always liked cards that join up in a seamless panorama and I LOVE The Fool card. Lovely box and presentation. So nice to see James Eads made up a nice package and then went one step further and offered a premium package with a handmade wooden box. Attention to details is key; I respect that.

    I too like that Nine of Chalices. The colouring and brushwork in this deck reminds me a lot of the Templar Tarot. Oh and I like the silver gilding on the edges. I nearly bought a journal with silver gilding recently.

    Strawberries....ripening intellect and intuition? Seeds of the inner mind? We all want to be ripe and juicy? Let's all roll around in the bowl of life? One taste and your intuition swirls around like a galaxy in the Universe? One bite and you reach the inner depths? I like it, like the notion any way you look at it.

    It's probably something really mundane like James had too many burgers at a barbeque and got into the strawberries and felt they had a hidden message just for him. But no, I'm going with the galactic explanation. Wait, he's got a painting called Strawberry Spring at his web site based on a Stephen King story. Hold on...oops let's hope not.

    Maybe though...that story was one of King's first successes, so perhaps it's a nod to the strawberry universe of possibilities in creativity? Now we can get into a little Artspeak and talk about how the red in the strawberries is a reverberation of rising above cultural hierarchy and an infinite projection of unattainable love.

    Of course, that's IT. I knew we'd sort it out Chloe.

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    1. What about the Beatles effect? Strawberry fields forever! :D Have to admit, I would never have put the word "seminal" in there, but it was created by a man...

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  3. I forgot to say that I like that he uses Photoshop but makes it look like conventional illustration.

    I can't use Photoshop as much now because of RSI but it's so easy to get carried away with filters and such. Digital collage decks are often not done well in Photoshop, and have become prevalent, so to see someone using the program like this is very heartening.

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    1. I didn't even realise it was Photoshopped! As you say, a beautiful job to look like conventional illustration :)

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  4. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous deck . . . I love my copy. Those panoramas are amazing - especially when the 4 suits are laid out in long continuous lines below each other. Stunning. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, I'm totally in love, too! The suits thing is funny, as you're hardly likely to get more than a couple together in any reading, but the idea still delights me. And the execution is fabulous! :)

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  5. Awww it is so pretty! Can't afford it but hope to get lucky some day :-D

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