Thursday, January 8, 2009

Review: Russian Tarot of St Petersburg


*Illustrated by Yury Shakov
*Copyright US Games Systems, Inc. 1992
*RWS based

This is my first deck.
These babies came along during my first impressionable time as a tarot novice. They're nice and broken in now after almost 4 years. The gold is a bit worn along the edges but they're smooth to shuffle and spread.

In the box, which features a black cover with metallic silver borders and title, is a full deck of 78 cards, an LWB written by Stuart Kaplan, title card and artist bio. The cards themselves are smaller than some I have (4.5 in long x 2.5 in wide); not as long as Lo Scarabeo decks and thin enough to get a good grip on them. They are stunning.

Suits are cups, swords, coins, and clubs- which are appropriate for no nonsense Russian peasants. There is really no distinction made as to the elements of the swords and clubs so you can read them either way. Strength and Justice are labeled VIII and XI.
The LWB has a couple paragraphs on the artist, Yury Shakov, and full list of upright and reversed meanings for each card. The Majors are also accompanied by a description of the scene and many reference Russian history and culture.



Each card has large, clear wording at the bottom and majors have their Roman numeral at the top. An intricate border of flowers surrounds the center picture in an oval which isn't distracting at all. Each of the suit's objects appear at the top two corners and bordes are metallic gold.


The background on the entire card is black, which makes everything really pop. Illustrations themselves are not lost among everything; they're bright and detailed but never garish. You can pick out each pearl on a woman's bracelet, each jewel on the cups, each pattern on a dress. It's noted that Shakov painted them in actual size and at times worked with a single-haired brush. Yikes!

I've gotten some strong intuitive readings with this deck- feelings, a couple visions here and there. People also factor highly with these strong cards. You can usually tell when a court is someone you know!
Highly recommended for all levels- pips are illustrated and intuitive readers will pull a lot out of the images and black background.

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