A Review of the English Magic Tarot

I’m so disappointed in this deck.

English magic Tarot

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m getting old, and I can no longer find novelty in Tarot decks. But I was so, so excited to purchase this deck, and when I finally opened up the box, it was a complete letdown.

Don’t get me wrong. The deck is pretty enough. The artistic style is vaguely comic-book, but the colors are bold and the lines are sharp. The images adhere fairly well to tradition, which is always important to me. (See my disappointed review of the Wildwood Tarot for further elucidation.) But the whole thing just feels so damned… Uninspired.

English Magic Major Arcana
The Magician, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Moon.

Sure, the Magician is facing away from us and is caught in a moment of Chaos. Sure, the “Wheel” of Fortune is a circle of Tarot cards. I should find these things intriguing and innovative. But at the end of the day, I just don’t. I don’t feel a soul in this deck.

I’m sure it will read just fine. Like I said, the cards are enough in line with tradition that I’m sure any competent reader could pick this deck up and use it well. However, when I did my pre-review flip-through of the deck, not a single card caught my eye or took my breath away. Even the cards that I had loved in looking at the deck online–the cards that impelled me to buy the deck in the first place–seemed dull and lifeless when I held them in my hands.

English Magic Minor Arcana
The Seven of Wands, Ace of Swords, Nine of Cups, and Queen of Coins. Nothing wrong with them. Nothing great about them.

On top of that, the card stock is flimsy and the Minor Arcana have big, unwieldy borders corresponding to the colors of the suits’ elements. I was really shocked at how mediocre the quality of the cards was, especially considering the sturdy box in which the deck arrived.

English Magic LWB.jpg
The Devil card pictured with its section from the book.

One thing that I will say in favor of the deck is that the LWB is quite lovely. It’s large and thoughtfully written, with two full pages devoted to analyzing each card. There are also a couple of lovely spreads and, at the very end of the book, a fun chapter on the “memory theatre” as a way of learning the cards. I’m impressed with the quality of the book, and I sincerely wish the deck itself was on par with the companion text.

All in all, this is an okay deck. If you’re a beginner, there are other decks that I would definitely recommend before this one, and if you’re an intermediate or advanced reader, I doubt you’ll learn anything new from working with the English Magic Tarot. This is an appallingly short deck review, but I sincerely don’t have anything more to say.

4 thoughts on “A Review of the English Magic Tarot

  1. I have waffled back and forth about possibly purchasing this deck…but have only been meagerly impressed by the artwork I’ve seen so far. Your review reveals some things that will deter further thought about it—like what’s with those thick borders on the pips when the Majors have no borders at all? How weird! I surprise myself with how much more “particular” and fussy I am about buying decks these days. Maybe wisdom with age? Anyway, sorry it was a disappointment, but appreciated your opinion.


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