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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Review: Tarot Draconis

R E V I E W



78 cards, 64-page instruction booklet
Llewellyn / Lo Scarabeo 
ISBN-10: 0738739421
ISBN-13: 978-0738739427
Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 3 x 1.2 inches


(My apologies for labeling the card images "Draconis Tarot" when it should be "Tarot Draconis.")

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I like dragons (and dragon-themed decks), so of course this deck appealed to me immediately. I loved the examples of the cards that I saw on line. I like the way the artist gave many of the dragons a distinct “attitude” or “personality.” Unfortunately, most of the card images are darker than I would like. Many of the images look muddy, and details are difficult to see or entirely lost.

I do like the color schemes based on elemental/suit associations. You can tell at a glance if a card is from the suit of Cups, Pentacles, Wands, or Swords. To me, that adds something to a layout. You immediately see elemental strength/weakness and relationships in a reading.

I am quite fond of the Little White Book (LWB) that comes with this deck. It starts with a quote by the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Who wouldn’t love that? After a discussion of what dragons have symbolized over the centuries (and still symbolize) to humans, we get a description of what this deck offers: “a mythical past of Humanity. . . a world where heroes in armour achieve their destiny by fighting epic battles to conquer kingdoms and where the skies are obscured by the passage of Dragons.”

That’s very nice – but what I enjoy most are the descriptions of the individual suits. Here are the opening lines of each:

Chalices – The Dragons of the Dawn
“We come to the days before days, in a time when the World was a dream, and Man was still a soul. . .”

Pentacles – The Dragons of Wealth
“We are the first-born of Mother Earth and we know her secrets. . .”

Wands – The Dragons of the Battle
“Our home is the flaming heart of the Battle. . . This is the Torch lit by our Fire. It is up to you to use it for destruction or for creation.”

Swords – The Dragons of Twilight
“We come from the Shadows, from that realm in between, inhabited by ghosts and restless souls. . .”

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

Embodying all the magic and primitive purity of the mighty winged beasts, Davide Corsi's bold dragon art perfectly combines the epic grandeur of classic fantasy with the iconic power of the traditional Rider-Waite tarot. It has been said that dragons share a common sight everywhere—in the skies, in the sea, and on the land. In this deck, the visionary wisdom of the dragons will be your guide through the mystical and spiritual worlds.


BASIC INFORMATION

Davide Corsi is an illustrator based in Italy. In addition to Tarot Draconis, he is the artist for the Vampire Tarot of Eternal Night, The Tarot of the Elves, the Pictorial Key Tarot, and The Ghost Tarot, all published by Llewellyn.

This deck has the standard Tarot components:

  • Major Arcana: 22 cards (zero through 21)
  • Four suits: Chalices, Pentacles, Wands, Swords
  • Court Cards: King, Queen, Knight, Knave
  • Pips: Ace through Ten for each suit

The Major Arcana begins with a glowing golden egg atop a pile of treasure for The Fool and ends with the egg breaking open as a baby dragon emerges on The World.

A number of reviewers have expressed disappointment in the Court Cards from this deck, describing them as “uninspired.” This is largely due to the approach that was used in creating them. For example, notice that the horse on all four Knight cards is the same horse in the same position. The Queens feature the same woman for each suit in a slightly different pose but sitting on the same throne, with the color scheme varying based on the suit. This is true of the Knaves, Knights, and Kings as well.

If you’re interested, you can also get the following from Lo Scarabeo/Llewellyn:
_Draconis Journal_
_Draconis Satin Bag_

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

The cards measure just over 2-1/2 inches wide and 4-3/4 inches tall. (Dimensions of the deck in the box are listed on Amazon as 5.1 x 3 x 1.2 inches and on the Llewellyn web site as 3 x 5 x 1 IN.)

Card fronts have black borders and a picture frame colored for each suit (blue-cups, light green-coins, red-wands, gray-swords) or Major Arcana (gold). The backs also have black borders with an ornate golden frame on a red background and a gold emblem of a dragon.

There are no labels or titles on the cards. Majors have a Roman numeral at the top and bottom. Courts have symbols for Knave, Knight, Queen, or King at the top and suit symbols at the bottom. Pips have a numeral at the top and suit symbol at the bottom.

Quality of the card stock is acceptable – somewhere between sturdy and flimsy.  The cards are not laminated.

ART

I would describe the art as a classic fantasy style that comes across very well on the Llewellyn web site, where some of the cards are displayed digitally. Unfortunately, that level of beauty and “sizzle” does not make it into the cards. This is not the fault of the artist, of course, but probably the printing process.



In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.


12 comments:

  1. This looks an interesting deck and one that would appeal to me. It's a shame from what you have said, that not more imagination was shown in the illustration of the court cards, however I'm sure the dragon depictions more than make up for this. ^_^

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  2. Yes, the dragons are truly lovely. LOL! Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I wouldn't know how to approach a dragon themed deck. I had some hesitations about my faeries' oracle, But now I am hoping to receive Tarot of the Sidhe for my birthday so I guess that obstacle has been overcome. Perhaps dragons will be my next challenge :D

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    1. I know what you mean, Ellen. I feel that way about vampire decks and decks with artwork that turns me off. I'm pretty sure you will enjoy exploring some new themes.

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  4. The only complaint I have about the deck is , the instruction booklet. The print is so small I can't read it.

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    1. Hello Jim! I know what you mean. I actually made an enlarged copy of an LWB once using a copier so it would be easier to read! Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. How do I do a reading on someone else with the dragon cards¿

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    1. Hello Adam! If you do readings on other people, you would do them the same way with the dragon cards that you would with any other deck.

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  6. I'm interested in the deck's energy, stamina and reading potential. (Do the cards read ok, do they last when shuffled and do they give answers . . . even bad ones) I bought a deck that wound up just being a collectors deck and I would like to avoid that mistake again. Are they . . . anything other than pretty?

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    1. These are fair questions, and I understand why you are asking. I have not done enough readings with this deck to address your question about how long the cards last or even to give a useful evaluation on how they read (do they give answers, etc.) Your questions make me want to use this deck for a few readings, so I probably will, perhaps here on the blog.

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    2. Edited to add: I just completed what I feel is a very successful reading with this deck. It will be posted here on the blog tomorrow (January 10, 2016). I hope you enjoy it.

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    3. Edited to add: and here's another reading done with the spread that appears in the LWB: http://tarotnotes-majorandminor.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-flight-of-dragon-with-tarot-draconis.html

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I love hearing from my readers!
~ Zanna