This is an interesting deck that has adopted several innovations not seen in traditional decks. First of all there are 93 cards vice 78. The additional cards consist of a fifth suit called "Triax," and an additional Major Arcana card numbered XXII and called "The Separator." The cards are shaped differently as well. They are much closer to a square in shape than a rectangle, measuring 3 1/2" X 4 1/4". They are on a fairly heavy cardboard stock, which doesn't shuffle well at all. I recommend you use the "swoosh" method of card mixing with this deck. The art is excellent. The deck appears to be rendered from paintings. The border is such that the cards appear to be the view one gets when peeping through an ornate key hole. The figures are well rendered and have intense, dark eyes. All of the figures are physically perfect, and the male figures have an androgynous quality, even when shown completely nude. The colors are beautiful with excellent use of blending and shading. The Major Arcana have the traditional names with the following exceptions:
V The Antar vice the Hierophant
IX The Searcher vice the Hermit
XX The Aeon vice Judgment
XXII The Separator (no traditional equivalent)
The card names are in the border at the bottom in German, English and French. The Court consists of Princess, Prince, Knight and Queen. The Minor Arcana scenes are reminiscent of Thoth. They do not have scenes, per se, but the use of color and the arrangement of the symbols are highly evocative of the cards meaning. The suits are Triax, which has no traditional equivalent, Swords, Cups, Wands and Disks. Triax represents a fifth element, "the etheric or spirit." It is represented by a three sided triangular shape, although it is rendered in various guises on the cards, such as birds, leaves and the sides of a pentagram.
The little booklet that comes with this deck is one of the more robust I have seen. It is the same size as the cards themselves and runs for 104 pages. A description of each card is given, along with an upright and reversed interpretation. Although the introduction states that "... interpretations for this deck are not what is usually found," I found the interpretations for the traditional suits fairly traditional for the most part. I also found the interpretations reminiscent of Crowley's Thoth. The only spread in the book is a modified Celtic Cross.
I recommend this deck for those who are looking for something different. I found the suit of Triax intriguing, and the little booklet provides enough information to make a good jumping off point for further exploration. This deck is not in US Games latest catalog, so if you see one somewhere, snatch it up while you can.
Review by Michele Jackson - Images Copyright Piatnik Wein, 1986