- Author: Jack Sephiroth
- Illustrator: Jack Sephiroth
- Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
- Year: 2020
- Tradition: Rider-Waite-Smith
- Minors: Illustrated
- Suits: Swords, Cups, Wands, Pentacles
- Court cards: Page, Knight, Queen, King
- Reversible: Yes
General thoughts, quality, and aesthetics
If you’re new to Tarot and the imagery of the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith doesn’t gel with you, this deck is for you.
If you’re not new to Tarot but still enjoy powerful imagery, astoundingly close to the original deck while holding a refreshed aesthetic and bringing extra symbolism to the table through astrological correspondences and a clearer integration of the elements, this deck is for you.
Honestly, this is my go-to deck. If you’re going to own just one, then you can’t go wrong with Heaven and Earth Tarot. Plus, the quality of the cards is amazing. My copy withstood up to a thousand readings before the intensive use began to show. The only warning is that this deck is slightly larger than usual, so if you have small hands, that might be a problem.
From a purely aesthetic point of view, each card shows the same attention to detail and care in its design. No “cover card” where the rest of the deck is lack-luster: each arcana is a wonderful Raphaelite painting, with soft tones, elegant images, and a gorgeous use of light and shadow.
My opinion is that Heaven and Earth Tarot is as close to perfect as I’ve found so far.
Perfect for beginners, as the classic imagery to be found in every other book and training course is loyally adapted, but also perfect for expert readers, as the depth and added symbolism of each card will bring a host of nuances to old, beloved images.
The color palette is on the muted side, and the style is extremely characteristic, so at first, readers might have to look twice to tell images apart or to recognize a particular card without reading its name. This problem doesn’t last long, disappearing within a few days of use.
Minor arcana are named in this deck. As such, 3 of Swords is “Sorrow,” 6 of Cups is “Pleasure,” 7 of Pentacles is “Success Unfulfilled” and 4 of Wands is “Perfected Work.” Some of those names are all right, others I’ve found to be misleading to my personal practice. It’s easy enough to ignore if you’re a confident reader, and something beginners should look out for when they start working with Heaven and Earth Tarot.
Speaking of symbology, this is pure Rider-Waite-Smith. There are some additions. For example, the use of color and higher level of detail allow for a greater representation of the elements in each suit. There are also some extra symbols hidden in the cards: I recently worked through the deck with a friend, and their commentary made me discover little designs here and there I had missed. Nothing intrusive, but it does have a heavy Kabbalah influence.
A favorite touch of mine is the inclusion of astrological correspondences in every card. This is extremely useful when working with dignities, or applying advanced card counting techniques, or finding hidden patterns that might otherwise go over the reader’s head.
If you’re using Heaven and Earth Tarot to read professionally, the cards will be recognizable by your clients, and they look gorgeous. This deck might bring a sense of calm, mystique and true illumination to any reading.
At the same time, the cards are just pretty, so we can also use them in a more informal reading without spooking newcomers to Tarot. It’s a versatile deck that can be used in just about any situation, and to address any question, as it’s not slanted toward any particular field.
Cards I love
I could list the entire deck here, but this is a small sample.
All Court cards have heart and soul, their personalities blazing through.
We can see an example of symbolism in the 6 of Swords, because while the people in the card are leaving the situation, they aren’t done with it: not only they carry the weapons, expecting to need them again, but the crows gather in the horizon right ahead.
The Hanged Man, as a self-imposed sacrifice, is incredibly powerful here.
Both the 5 of Wands and 4 of Pentacles are examples of elemental and astrological symbolism worked into the cards seamlessly, not drawing your attention but definitely adding to the card’s meaning.
Cards I don’t resonate with
A misleading title, because I find I resonate with the entire deck, but a few things for you to consider.
So-called “bad cards” are, well, bad. The Tower, The Devil, Death, 10 of Swords… They are painful, complicated cards some people find disturbing. The Heaven and Earth Tarot doesn’t pull its punches in that area, and those cards are as dark and ominous as expected.
In fact, the eerie quality of the deck might lend a dark aspect to normal, or even positive cards. For example, the 4 of Swords, which is all about resting and gathering one’s strength after a hard situation before pushing forward again, has a strong feeling of death to it.
Even The Sun, the most energetic and joyous card of the deck, has a slightly muted tone.
None of this qualifies as a problem for me, but it’s something readers might want to consider and understand before purchasing.
Heaven and Earth Tarot
Best RWS deck for beginners and for experienced users looking for an old classic with a new feel
True to the Rider-Waite-Smith imagery
Slightly too large cards