Here is an extraordinary deck I’ve had my eye on for some time but was unable to get until recently. Drawn by artist Kim Krans, The Wild Unknown is like no other deck I’ve ever seen.
It comes in this incredibly sturdy box. The fit of the top is quite snug, took me a little while to coax it off to open the box. Not that I’m complaining mind you. There’s a black lift-out ribbon underneath the cards to help remove them without damaging them. I didn’t spring for the book just now, but hope to get it later. The deck comes with a single folded sheet with basic introduction to Tarot, and tiny pics of the cards on one side, and short meanings for each card on the back. I may put that into a document protector; you can only fold paper so many times before it tears. I was lucky enough to get in on the pre-order period for this latest printing and saved a few dollars, but it’s well worth the $40 it’s selling for now. I just have to pinch pennies.
The minors are essentially pips, although there’s a little more to them as you’ll see. While the deck follows the basic Waite-Smith structure, one big difference between this deck and the RWS is there are no people depicted. The courts even are animals, rather than people.
The Wands courts are represented by snakes, Swords by owls, Cups by swans, and Pentacles by deer. The cards are mostly black and white, although some have more color than others. The pen and ink style of the drawings gives it a rustic feel and the art is quite good (not that I’m any kind of art critic but I’ve seen enough bad art on a number of Tarot decks to know what I like). The backs are a black and white woodgrain design, which fits nicely with the theme of the deck.
One thing that struck me right off is what a quiet deck this is. It’s like standing in the forest and unexpectedly sighting a deer in the clearing. There’s no conversation but you sort of know something has passed between you. I think it’s a great deck for pagans. There are a couple of slightly graphic cards so maybe not the best deck for children or people who have never been introduced to Tarot. Squeamish querents may find it a little odd (I’ve known people who were scared by the mention of Tarot) so you want to keep this one for people who have some understanding and want to take their readings to a new level. Then again, as they say, people who are easily shocked should be shocked more often.
So, on to the cards:
The scans don’t do them justice, they’re really so much more lovely in person. I’m getting really picky about the decks I choose to add to my collection these days, and I’m delighted with this one.