To provide some context to this review, I am always on the look out for RWS clone decks that have artwork that I connect with. I love the RWS deck, but sometimes I do wish the art was more beautiful as I believe this adds another dimension to readings. I was drawn to the Llewellyn Classic Deck as it looked like it had the familiar imagery and symbolism of the RWS but seemed more accessible, vivid and set in the world.
Created by Eugene Smith with a 200+ guide-book by Barbara Moore and published by Llewellyn in 2014, this is a friendly, accessible deck that would be ideal for a beginner. There are many plus points about this deck, but for me I just cannot get over the poor card stock. I am so disappointed with it. The deck itself is a regular 7cm x 11.5cm, and this for me is the perfect size, it even has a fairly decent back image to the cards, but the cards themselves are so thin that it really hinders the feeling of ‘ritual’ you get with the shuffle and the draw.
There are a few of the cards I particularly like – I am a little in love with The Magician and his setting within the woods and the strong sense of mastery, skill and magic.
I also like The Empress, the sheer sensuousness of this card has been illustrated very powerfully, there is a real power in her femininity and fertility, worthy of linkage to the Goddess Aphrodite/Venus.
However that does bring me to my only other issue with the deck. I am a distracted by some of their faces – they remind me of Patrick Swayze. I have included the Two of Cups – see what you think!
It is such a shame, I could even get over the Patrick Swayze thing if the cards were not so very, very thin. This deck is so easy to read, the cards are beautifully colored, they are friendly and well illustrated but the magic is lost for me in the ritual, it just feels like shuffling cut out cereal cardboard.
It does however have a brilliant guide-book by Barbara Moore, and would make a very good beginner deck for anyone who doesn’t mind a thinner card stock, or indeed Patrick Swayze.