I got the very popular Wild Unknown Tarot Deck and Guidebook! Let’s take a look at it.
Let’s start with the actual packaging. The deck and guidebook are contained in a large box. It’s a well made box, but I find it a bit unnecessary. It’s large and since the deck has its own box, I don’t need it for storage. So what do I do with it now? (I guess I can put tea or dice or something in it?)
Anyway, the deck box is really sturdy. It’s very easy to take the deck out and put it back in, too.
Now to the booklet. It’s a very simple booklet — bendy and easy to hold. The first section is titled “Drawing the Tarot” which is where the author talks briefly about how they came about creating the deck. I really appreciate how the author mentions that us readers finding meaning and insight in the cards would make the author feel “so honored.” If that’s the case, I hope the author feels honored because I so far have been able to find a lot of insight in the cards.
Next section is called “Understanding the Deck” and it breaks into mini sections dealing with the cards. There’s a short section on the Major Arcana, Minor Arcana, the suits, and court cards.These sections are like crash-courses in each of the categories, which I imagine is useful if any new diviner picked up this deck. Even though I’m experienced, it’s still great to be able to read how the author sees tarot so that I can understand the cards better.
Then the next section is “Reading the Cards” and addresses getting readings, what to ask, shuffling, cutting, numerous spreads, and then reversals. The first section about getting readings suggests that to become a better reader, see what getting a reading from a seasoned reader is like. It’s not bad advice, but I rarely see it mentioned in a booklet of a deck.
The next three parts — what to ask, shuffling, and cutting — go through the process of drawing a card. Again, if this is someone’s first deck, I imagine these starting points are very helpful. It’s a very brief description, though, and so I imagine someone new to tarot might be left with more questions than answers.
The spreads are pretty basic: card a day; past, present, future; three card spreads ideas; clarity spread; connection spread; Celtic cross spread; and year ahead spread. They are ordered least complicated to most complicated, with “year ahead spread” being thirteen cards. They are a good sampling of spreads, I think, and would serve a new diviner well.
The section on reversals basically says that reversals are too complicated to be included in the book. The author wants the diviner to first understand the upright 78 meanings of the cards before attempting reversals — if the diviner wants to incorporate reversals at all. I know I don’t plan to incorporate reversals into this deck, but that’s my personal preference.
Then there are some last thoughts by the author before they get into the card meanings. These last thoughts are about how to treat your tarot deck, suggesting that the owner of the deck treat the deck with care. Not to keep the deck laying about and whatnot. While a nice thought, I will probably continue to keep my decks laying about because that’s where they’re best accessible to me. Just my preference though. The author clearly has their own.
Finally, we get into the meaning of the cards. On the left side of the book is a picture with the card title and meanings on the right side of the book. Under the title of the card are a few keywords associated with the card. Under those keywords is a short paragraph description. Once again the author is brief in explaining the cards, which I do like. Brief but to the point.
On to the cards! The deck is the standard 78 tarot cards with the exception that the court cards are called Father, Mother, Son, Daughter instead of King, Queen, Prince, Knight. I find this change makes a lot of sense since the cards aren’t using medieval symbolism. Most of the symbolism is based on nature and animal life, which is great.
The imagery is simplistic and I waffle on how much I like that. I like when the simple imagery hits me like a train despite being so simple, but there are times when the cards don’t resonate with me at all because of how simple it is. After sitting with the deck and doing some readings, I think this is amended once I know the meanings of the cards — the symbolism that was so subtle suddenly is apparent. It’ll probably take some time before I fully embrace the deck.
The feeling of the cards is solid. It feels like good material. It’s not stiff cardstock, though. They’re bendy. The size is about standard tarot deck size — easy for me to shuffle and hold the cards while not being so small I’m squinting at the images.
I did a video review of this deck that has images of the cards, which you can watch here.
Overall, I really like the deck. I definitely think it’d make a great starting deck for someone who is new to tarot or new to divination if they like the imagery. The cards are read best when the reader can identify with the images, after all. And for me, I think it’s going to be one of my favorite decks. It’s a very popular deck for a reason.