The Minchiate Tarot by Brian Williams

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The Minchiate Tarot by Brian Williams   Artemis will tell you The Minchiate Tarot by Brian Williams is my favorite deck. I’m not sure what my favorite deck is (I think that depends a lot on my mood and the circumstances of the reading), but if I had to choose only one deck to take with me in exile on a desert island, this would be one of the top contenders.

Why? For starters, it’s simply a beautiful deck, with Williams’ excellent artwork and sensitive coloring on the images. The cards are a visual pleasure, even without using them for a reading.Williams reinterpreted the medieval Minchiate to give it a more artistic and readable look. (No small feat – some of the original Minchiate images are almost indecipherable, and Williams used his historical research and Tarot knowledge to create clear images in the updated deck.) The deck appeals to people who appreciate a lighter touch in the images and colors, compared to the saturated, intense colors found in many decks.

As for intellectual and reading appeal, the deck, with 97 cards, has additional majors cards not found in a typical 78 card deck – the 12 signs of the zodiac, the four elements, and the four cardinal virtues. Instead of the High Priestess, the deck has the Grand Duke; instead of the Emperor and the Empress, it has the Western Emperor and the Eastern Emperor. Fame takes the place of the Judgment card. The minor suits feature their emblems in various arrangements, along with human and animal figures.

These additions and substitutions challenge me as a reader to break out of the RWS / Thoth way of thinking and deepen the reading I can give my client. I find the deck is especialy good to use in readings for people who read Tarot for themselves, as the unusual set of majors also helps them think of the cards in a different perspective and to find new ways that the cards relate to one another.

I highly recommend this deck for anyone who is looking for something different from the standard 78 card deck, and for anyone who has an interest in medieval decks, but wants some modern clarity injected into the muddled images.

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