The Lumina Tarot (Inner Hue, 2015) is often compared with the Wild Unknown Tarot (Kim Krans, 2012). Certainly, they both make good use of black and white images with splashes or explosions of colour. And both have semi-illustrated Minors, and a lot of animals prominent in the cards. To see the entire deck, check out my unboxing video.
Still, the differences are also notable. The Lumina Tarot doesn’t have the zentangle-like lines as background that feature on many of the Wild Unknown cards. Instead, backgrounds are mostly either black, white, or a bright wash of colour. And the Lumina Tarot is very human, with people on all the Courts and many of the Majors, whereas there isn’t a person to be found on the Wild Unknown.
The artwork of the Lumina Tarot is extremely accomplished, just look at the detail on the moth and the subtle ink work on the plants at the base of the World card! Life’s cycles are depicted here, the nourishment needed to grow, and how we then fly away, onward and upward, towards the next stage. It is an unusual, yet lovely image.
Many of the Majors contain people, the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, Emperor and Empress, as well as the Hanged Man. Yet, there are also many images that are more animal or nature based. The Chariot shows three horses charging forward, with a triple moon symbol and the astrological sign for Cancer above them. The Lovers shows two wolves, almost chasing one another’s tails. And Judgement shows a solar eclipse – a dramatic image of new beginnings that may seem fearful, yet which hold promise. Altogether, very interesting and often different takes on these archetypes.
The Court Cards
Equally, the Court cards offer a lot of depth and intricate penmanship. Just look at the shading on the naked torso of the Knight of Cups (yum). And the aqua wash behind him is just stunning! I also adore that the guidebook provides little keywords/phrases for each card. This Knight says: “Be bold in your love”! He is totally focused on whatever he is seeing across the water, preparing to dive in and swim to what he wants 🙂
Each of the Courts has its own power animal – a fox for the Wands, a snake for the Cups (interesting choice!), a bird of prey for the Swords and a bear for the Pentacles. Yet, each also holds a person, bringing that human element into the cards, and making them easier to read and relate to. Their poses and the objects around them add plenty of symbolism to help with interpretation.
The Aces are mostly quite simple, with some geometric shapes and the suit element, sometimes accompanied by a hand, other times not.
The Ace of Pentacles is, in fact, the most complex of the Aces. The colour comes from the plants at the wrist of a life-life hand reaching up. A light source behind the hand radiates out through the darkness, and the suit emblem is represented by a complex knotwork style pentacle in the top right corner. Material abundance and energy, as well as a practical, hands-on approach are all suggested here.
As for the Minors, these are semi-illustrated. Once again, there are bright washes of colour, detailed ink work, geometric patterns, and lots of animals. The deck contains a great number of bees, which works at so many levels. The bee as symbol of abundance, of the interconnectedness of nature, and of the goddess.
It is that abundance I see in the Four of Pentacles, the bee knowing where its resources are (the flowers in the corners), keeping on top of the information and sharing it with the hive so that the resources can be gathered and stored…
The Bottom Line
My only niggle with this deck is the cardstock. It is very thick, which I understand some people like. However, for me it makes shuffling difficult. The cardstock feeling quite ‘sticky’ doesn’t help with this. Shuffling hand-over-hand, the cards clump together. Riffling, I could only achieve by splitting the stack in two and riffling half at a time, which still leaves the issue of how to combine the halves. And the stiffness means that this is the first deck I have ever managed to damage shuffling *eek* Given how many decks I’ve shuffled, that’s saying a lot. While I really appreciate the artwork, packaging and guidebook, I am not a fan of the cardstock! Still, I recognise others will like it.
Altogether, while this might not be the best deck for an absolute beginner, or someone wedded to RWS-style imagery, it is certainly easy to read. And the imagery is beautiful and inspiring. Overall, the reputation this deck has already garnered is well-deserved.