- The Linestrider Tarot by Siolo Thompson
- Author: Siolo Thompson
- Publisher: Llewellyn
- Format: Cards
The modern Tarot divination system has undergone some dramatic re-evaluations over the past couple of decades. Into this arena has arrived a new deck titled The Linestrider Tarot by artist Siolo Thompson.
Described as being a bridge between magic and logic, the deck mainly calls upon typically Shamanistic elements such as power animals and underworld archetypes. It is also said to be a progression of the Fool’s journey and that it is based upon the Rider-Waite-Smith deck which is still immensely popular with students from all over the world.
The Linestrider Tarot is available in a presentation box and includes a full deck of cards and accompanying book.
The Linestrider Tarot is a complete 78-card deck. Each card features a very minimalistic line-drawn illustration set against a completely white background. The cards measure 5.5cm x 8.7cm and have been produced using high-quality card with a semi-matte finish.
Each card displays its title in uppercase lettering along the bottom in a clear and attractive font. The cards shuffle well and have a very resilient feel to them, installng confidence that this will be a deck that can take some use and abuse.
The Major Arcana cards follow the consistent theme of being minimal representations of the principles that the author feels that they convey. In most cases, the characteristics normally associated with an individual card are represented in light shades of grey with splashes of pastel color.
The naming of the cards is consistant with core Tarot principles but they are not numbered as is usually the case.
The Minor Arcana cards follow the normal suit convention of wands, cups, swords and pentacles whilst the court cards also follow tradition using the king, queen, knight and page divisions.
The Linestrider Journey is a book that accompanies this deck. At nearly 280 pages it is fairly comprehensive with each card having its own dedicated couple of pages set over to describing the dynamics of the card, its keywords, reversed meaning and correspondences (astrological, numerical, associated birthdates and plants)
The book also includes some commentary on the cards, a couple of examples of layouts and personal reflections on the deck by its author.
The following are our thoughts on this deck as we drill further down into it.
This is a beautifully crafted deck. The cards are exceptionally well produced and the accompanying book presents the author’s ideas well. The illustrations themselves are very minimalistic and the simple use of colors (mainly light blue and red) make for a visually attractive deck.
The accompanying book contains some delightful encapsulations of Tarot card basics and their interpretational meanings are grounded within the world of practical and mundane issues. The addition of reversed interpretational meanings are also welcome making this a good guide to the Tarot by anyone approaching it for the first time.
Where this deck fails rather disastrously to my mind is in its complete re-evaluation of the traditional card associations. In each case the author has ascribed to the card her own personal attributes and these, in most cases, contradict established Tarot principles. More than that they also very often undermine the context of the card, its title or position in tarot hierarchy.
Also the lack of numbering on the Major Arcana cards is also a negative to my mind for these always play an important part in extended Tarot interpretation.
However my greatest criticism of this deck has to be not in the quality or effectiveness of their imagery but of the fact that they appear to be an exercise in artistic expression rather than a method for calling upon inner consciousness as a process of divination.
Some of the imagery on various cards make little or no sense. For example in the case of the masculine Page of Wands the figure is shown exposing a full female bare-breast or THE MAGICIAN who is effectively shown as a monkey holding aloft what appears to be a dildo. (This card is been associated astrologically to Aries rather than to Mercury which also ruins the card’s core essence).
Other howlers include the lack of reference to the traditional elemental bias within the cards with the result that neither the minor arcana nor the court cards can be differentiated in any way from any other card; and in particular to those contained in the deck’s major arcana. The result is that all 78 cards kind of look the same after a time.
This is a deck for those who might be attracted to its presentation and visual appearances rather than those who want to learn the heart of Tarot structure and methodology.
Sadly as a deck it bears no relationship to the Rider-Waite as suggested by its promotional blurb so if you are drawn to it on that basis you will certainly be disappointed.
If you also know a little about the Tarot and have come to connect to the cards through their traditional associated symbology then, once again you will not take kindly to it; nor to the very broad animal-based themes that its author places upon this most treasured of all divination systems.
I somewhat regret that this deck has failed in these regards as it is quite clear that a deliberately fresh approach to the cards was made but which ended up as a product that purchasers will find contradicts a great deal of the information and guidance offered by most other authors and teachers.
Credit: Review copy kindly supplied by PGUK, London.