Hanson-Roberts Tarot Review

Hanson-Roberts Tarot Review

hansen roberts tarotThe Hanson-Roberts deck remains a perennial favorite among Tarot readers for good reason. With friendly open faces in her figures combined with soft colors, this is a deck that is used by many Tarot readers for public readings. While some may find her drawings childish, I think the innocence of the cards makes them perfect for reading for others.

Conveniently sized for small hands, this deck offers great use of symbolism by repeating things such as the four figures from the Wheel Of Fortune showing up on the The World. They are looking straight on in the World reminding the reader of the journey from the Wheel to the World. And other themes are offered continuity such as the floral theme of the rods.

This is a deck that offers a gentle entry into the world of Tarot without overwhelming a beginner. Don’t mistake this review, this is not a simple deck. The Hanson-Roberts deck offers plenty of symbolism and layers through use of color and traditional imagery such as the Four of Coins as a man clutching the coins to him. The minor arcana follows the Rider-Waite-Smith system of pictorial representations rather than numeric pips.

I particularly liked the Pages in this deck. Each one carries a youthful determination that conveys the message of the suit. Hanson-Roberts doesn\’t simply change the hair color and clothing for each court. Instead she uses expression to again deliver the energy of that suit.

Over all this is a deck that stands up to its reputation of popularity with readers. I think readers of all levels would enjoy owning this deck. It is a Rider-Waite-Smith clone that outstrips the conventionality of the RWS without losing the meaning and lovely Major Arcana cards. I highly recommend this deck.

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Janelle Powers

Created by Mary Hanson-Roberts, this deck is a softer, less Golden Dawn version of the Rider/Waite/Smith deck. Drawn with a much larger palette and in significantly greater detail, the Hanson-Roberts deck is true to the symbolism found in the RWS, and is the best example of art for the sake of Tarot, as opposed to Tarot to show off the art. The colored sketches look of the RWS deck is a straight to the point, no frills approach. However, here Mary Hanson-Roberts has significantly raised the artistic aspect in such detail that facial expressions enhance the symbolism, making card interpretation even easier. An example of this would be the Seven of Rods, known as the Seven of Wands in the RWS, these cards depict defending the higher ground and the courage of convictions.

This is not easily accomplished and requires tenacity and effort. In the RWS the face on the Seven of Wands is serious and certainly one of conviction. By contrast the Hanson-Roberts Seven of Rods subject is wincing against the onslaught as this is a mighty task and one must go deeper inside oneself than to the level of ones convictions if one is to hold the higher ground.

Among the few differences, again by comparison to the Rider/Waite/Smith deck, is found on the Six of Swords. In both Hanson-Roberts and the RWS the subject is steering the boat from rough waters into smoother waters towards landfall. The boat being steered in the RWS has passengers, what appears to be a woman and a child, but the Hanson-Roberts card does not. It is unlikely that this was an oversight, but rather a conscience choice of perceived interpretation.

On the one hand moving ones loved ones to safety is certainly moving out of a stressful situation, but on the other hand the sight of ones homeland and escaping the fear that one might not get the opportunity to see ones loved ones again brings the interpretation into a more personal focus. Either way the symbolic meaning is evident and nothing is lost.

The Devil card is the only image that could be considered frightening to younger users. Aside from that card, there is no visible nudity or other imagery that might be considered inappropriate for less mature readers. It is also available in a mini-deck version, just the right size for purses or backpacks for when space is at a premium. The deck shuffles easily, and the cards have a very nice feel to them. I use this deck frequently, and is certainly one that I would recommend for beginners, purists or collectors.

Submitted by - Sherridyn Raven

Thanks for your added review Misty 🙂

Submitted by - Sherridyn Raven

The Hanson-Roberts tarot was my first “Waite style” deck over
seven years ago, and it continues to be my deck of choice. This has
become the only deck that I use for professional readings, and I
often recommend it to my beginner students when they ask for deck
recommendations. So what’s so great about this deck?
First of all, if you are looking for a deck that can be used for all
audiences, this is it. It offers beautiful penciled sketches, much like
what you would see in a coloring book, therefore making it
appealing to children. Vivid colors make the cartoon like deck
come to life, along with a border which frames each card. The
cards are a bit smaller than usual, making this easy to shuffle. Even
the swirls of blues on the back of each card can help you focus
prior to the beginning of a reading.
There are two books which can be used to help interpret your
by Laura Clarson, and also a companion book created by Mary
Hanson- Roberts, available in a set or sold separately by US Games.
There have been various reviews published in which tarot
enthusiasts are complaining about the childlike sweetness of the
deck. Personally, I believe that this is perhaps the main reason why
I have been so loyal to the deck, and what makes it so suitable for
everyone. There simply isn’t another standard Waite style deck that
has this appeal, and for that reason it continues to be a popular
deck. While I must admit that the illustrations are very “happy” in
many cases- see the wide smiling child of THE SUN, for example-
one merely has to scan the deck for the grimness of the 3, 9, and 10
of swords, to see that the creator did not sugarcoat the drawings!
In fact, even the Devil and Death are fairly standard in their
gloominess. So needless to say, this is not a wimpy deck by any
This deck has remained my favorite because I get the most accurate
readings from it. In addition, I know of several tarot readers, myself
included, who easily developed a psychic link to it; making it a
reliable deck for professional use. Perhaps it is the very sweetness
of the illustrations that enhance this, or the fact that the colors are
so appealing. In any case, the Hanson-Roberts deck has and will
continue to be one of the most popular tarot decks for many more
years to come.


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