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The Robin Wood Tarot deck review
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The Robin Wood Tarot deck review

robin wood tarotAs soon as I opened the box, I knew that I was going to get on just fine with this deck!

It’s beautiful Pagan imagery really brings each card to life. Every individual card, Major Arcana or Minor Arcana, seems to have its own unique energy– something I found very useful when linking to spirit whilst reading with this deck.

Some of the images vary slightly from the standard Rider-Waite– but this could be of benefit to a beginner, and add a new dimension for an old-hand. The Judgment, for example, shows a beautiful golden phoenix, and a naked woman rising from a cauldron of flames – which everyone can recognise as the symbol of re-birth.

I also liked the image of the Two of Pentacles – a woman walks on a tight-rope holding the two coins with difficulty – this really gives the flavour of balancing precariously.

There is no “Devil” on the Devil card, but the people chained to the box of treasures shows at a glance the “trap” of the material. However, if one looks closely, one can see that the chains restraining these people actually form the inverted pentacle.

Although the deck has a pagan basis, I don’t feel this would alienate non-pagans, as the imagery is so obvious simple, yet sophisticated.

The numbers on the cards are Arabic rather than Roman numerals, another simplification for the beginner, which I think is quite useful.

The cards themselves are sturdy plastic-backed, and the size of a standard tarot deck are slightly larger than a standard deck of playing cards, which makes shuffling and cutting very easy.

The Little White Book which accompanies the deck gives basic meanings, but I would advise a beginner to invest in a larger more detailed volume.

I used the deck for a reading, and I was taken aback at the power from these cards especially as I had only had them in my possession for a few hours. The reading was sharp and clear and the recipient was more than happy with the advice. In summary, I would recommend this deck to beginner and more experienced reader alike the cards have a powerful energy and the illustrations are beautiful and easy to interpret.

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Pamela

This is a beautiful deck. It is the deck that this reviewer uses more than any other for readings. Robin Wood is an artists who is no stranger to the metaphysical and Wiccan world, her work has appeared in many publications and her style is readily recognizable. That style carries over into her deck quite nicely. While there is no great departure from rather standard Waite-Smith derived decks, there are a few that are significant. First, all of the Waite-Smith imagery that could be considered as being Judeo-Christian is gone with the exception of the Hierophant who remains a Roman Catholic archbishop. But The Devil replaces the Satanic character with two quite naked humans struggling over a chain bound treasure chest filled with jewels. Judgement has replaced the trumpet blowing angel and risen dead with a phoenix and a frontal view of a very naked woman rising triumphant from a cauldron. This is very much a Pagan/Wiccan deck. This reviewer can recommend this deck for anyone from beginner to master.

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Melissa Martinez

This is a very cartoonish and kiddish deck. The characters look like dolls (especially women look like Barbies), and the sweet way in which all the cards are designed completely alter their meanings sometimes. The author apparently tried to give a Pagan flavour to the deck, with some success. However, this has its drawbacks: The imagery of the Devil has been completely altered. Showing these two guys tied down by “materialism” is deliberately ignoring the other aspects of the card; fascination, fatal attraction, obsession… I can’t take seriously any Magician with this type of thing on his head. The Charioter who is normally supposed to been in hard control of the situation is quickly going to smash against some tree if he doesn’t stop playing the “Assurancetourix”. The Judgement card doesn’t convince me either with its third class call-girl popping out of her cauldron. The Moon is pretty plain and dull, and the Empress looks more like a dusty grandma forgotten somewhere in the countryside than like a ruling Queen.

However, in spite of these flaws, some cards got it pretty accurate such as the 4, 5 and 6 of Pentacles, the 5 and 9 of Cups, or the 7 of swords (I love this one!), which really reflect the core meaning of the cards (in the Waite tradition). The Death card is very interesting, and very similar to the one in the Morgan-Greer Tarot. The Queen and Ace of Pentacles are very beautiful, and so is the 2 of Swords. More cards can be viewed here. This deck sticks very close to the Waite-Smith imagery with the difference that it has all the Christian imagery removed, very inconsistently actually, as demonstrates the above displayed Hierophant!

In my opinion, this is a nice and cute deck for those that like this type of style; it is cheap and available, and works with most books and methods. The author has now published a book available on her website.

Overall, I recommended it for beginners, pagans and for those that like sweet or cartoon-like art. If you are interested in buying this deck, it would be a good idea to also buy its book.

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Melissa Martinez

I use the RobinWood deck and am extremely fond of it. The deck is very much based on the form of the RW deck. The images are very similar and convey similar messages, however they do so with more General Pagan, nature & elemental symbolism rather than the Ceremonial Magick symbols found in Rider Waite. This similarity allows someone who learned on or who used Rider Waite to relate to it quickly and also allows you to use most books that discuss symbolism/meanings in Rider Waite with the Robin Wood deck as well (although there are two or three books based off of the Robin Wood deck as well).

The images are extremely rich, colorful and detailed and include a plethora of symbols at many levels. Robin herself is a master artist and has done a lot of Pagan and fantasy artwork, http://www.robinwood.com has samples and from there you can order prints and her deck and can read some of her personal beliefs.

Highly reccomended.

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    Melissa Martinez

    The key here is…Natural. The RW Tarot blends a more Earthy feel to the Rider-Waite style. It is a very good deck and I recommend it to anyone needing that type of ‘feel’

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Melissa Martinez

I have this one . In fact, I seem to relate to it better than my Rider Waite’s even though they are VERY close!! There are VERY FEW skyclad people in the deck. I am considering purchasing a second deck of Robin Wood to be exact

There are many decks that are very similar to the Rider/Waite. There are loads of websites that have a couple pictures from the decks.

One word of advice….the most “natural” deck I’ve come across it the “Cosmic Tribe” tarot deck. Everyone is nude, and they are real pictures, not drawings. It’s a very colorful, eye-catching deck, but I wouldn’t use it for professional/public readings.

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Melissa Martinez

I’ve been thinking about getting a second deck to use for reading for others (I currently use the Rider Waite, and keep my Motherpeace deck for personal readings), and am considering the Robin Wood tarot. Does anyone want to add their 2 cents to this review? we can never have enough :). Are there better ones that someone familiar with the Rider can read, that don’t have too many people au naturale in them?

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