Behold one of the newest entries in self-published tarot deck category! The Prisma Visions Tarot is an exquisite production on several levels. It is a 79-card deck that comes in a custom clam-shell box with a perfect-bound 100-page booklet. So far, so good.

The art is the most exciting feature of the Prisma Visions Tarot. The style is impressionistic and reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh. All of the card images are built up from a base of dark blue, an effect that serves to unify the imagery throughout the deck.

The concept behind the cards is extraordinary. Eads composed four panoramic drawings, that is, four long skinny drawings that are visual storyboards. Each drawing was cut into the fourteen cards of a tarot suit; the images flow from one card to the next. The book recommends setting the suits out to inspect these panoramic images before using the deck. The suit images are seasonal: Wands are spring, Pentacles are summer, Cups are autumn, and Swords are winter. There are no borders on these cards.

The pip cards adhere fairly closely to the RWS cannon, with some unexpected flights of fancy. The Swords panorama features snowy scenes and a huge white goose with big sharp teeth. In the Nine of Swords, the Great Goose is about to bite or eat the guy standing on the snow, while in the contiguous image for the Ten of Swords, the Goose's claws grip a masked character pierced by ten swords, with body a wing and the tail visible in the image.

The Major Arcana cards have borders. The card names have not been changed, but the imagery is more idiosyncratic. For instance, the Chariot card is a depiction of an automobile driving through the rain with head lights on and a white dove fluttering over the hood. The Sun card shows a bouquet melting into color puddles at the bottom of the image. The Fool is a pelican perched on a dock post near a shore. A life-preserver is looped over the post. There is also a 79th card called “Strawberries.” The reader can keep or omit this card when shuffling; it's a goofy but sweet wild card. It can take a while to puzzle out the symbolism contained in some of the trump images. This makes it even more interesting to read with the deck, because the imagery is not always straightforward. The impressionism offers impressions, so there can be a lot more contained in a card than first meets the eye.

Court cards figures are united with their respective elements. The Page, Knight and King of Wands are human forms being carried (or suspended) within strands of swirling white dashes that appear to represent energy beams or streams of fire. Members of the Cups court are riding or merged with spouting gushers of water. Swords and Pentacles court members are more traditionally depicted characters.

“The Visions Guide Instructional Booklet” by Katherine Tombs is well-written and beautifully formatted. Each card has a one-page description with card meanings. A few simple tarot spreads are offered. The dark blue color theme continues to the booklet's cover and the custom box, which is printed inside and out. The card backs feature an open eye surrounded by a labyrinth and the same border used on the trump cards. The cards have silvered edges, quite an elegant touch.

This tarot deck takes some learning and adapting to use for readings, but it's so well-executed and intriguing that it's worth making the effort. The planning and thought that went into this deck are highly admirable, and any deck with top-flight production standards has me at “hello”. The cost is commensurate with similar self-published tarot decks.

The Prisma Visions Tarot is worth whatever it takes to get a hold of a copy. The panorama concept is so brilliant that dammit, I wish I'd thought of it! The producers did a fantastic job with all aspects of this production, and get top marks for originality and good taste. Highly recommended for both readers and tarot collectors.

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Cards by James R. Eads, book by Katherine Tombs
By Eads and Tombs, 2015
$40.00 plus S&H

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