Tarot Review: Nigel Jackson Tarot

If you’ve been reading the blog, you have seen the Nigel Jackson tarot (2000, Llewellyn). It’s a deck that is now (sadly) out of print and fairly expensive (lowest I’ve seen is $100.00). But I’ve been rekindling a love affair with the deck since I found it. I honestly forgot that I had this deck in my collection until a few months ago when I was clearing out stuff to sell and found it’s tattered box.

Construction: The cards are big, they can be a little tough to shuffle. But with time you get used to them and figure out a decent method. The cards are made of good quality stock (something we would expect from Llewellyn) with a nice gloss covering the images, when I got the deck originally they didn’t do the normal slip-and-slide.

Images: My favorite thing about this deck is the images. They have a subtle beauty to them, with incredibly striking images. They are done with a soft coloring, but because of the size of the cards (5.6 x 3.6 x 1.6 inches) the images are in your face, but in a good way. This deck has my favorite version of my favorite card: XIV Temperance. I can’t explain what it is about this card that I love so much. There is such a serenity to this card, she is calmly pouring the water from one as she stands in a field in a white and red dress. The balance of opposites in this card and the calm that she exudes is part of what I find so powerful here.

Little White Book: Though now lost to the sands of time, the LWB is more like a BWB. It’s a miniature text on Pythagorean numerology and philosophy and how they relate to the cards. Though I can’t replicate what is in there if you check the Amazon description (found here) you have a very nice excerpt that, in my opinion at least, captures the book (and provides some useful information about the tarot).

The Ugly: Though I by and large like this deck, there are some things I’m not a fan of. Some of the Trumps (like the Devil and the Tower) and the pips (Nine of Swords) are a little disturbing. The Devil in particular is a Renaissance era version of a devil-demon; I don’t see the card as the good side of the devil, just the darker side of it. For the Tower, as vibrant and rich as the rest of the cards in the deck are, seems flat to me. It doesn’t capture the perpetual movement and sudden nature of the Tower’s change.

Impression: Overall, I love this deck. It’s a nice safe deck to read for other people, solid enough to give you good advice when you need it, and complex enough to keep you on your toes when reading with it.

Deck Interview
What do you have to teach me about tarot?

Five of Cups – The road isn’t always easy and if you aren’t focused on the end, it can seem insurmountable. This deck is able to help us refocus and see the bright side in the sadness that is around us.

What are your strengths?

16 The Tower – Change is inevitable and sometimes unpredictable, and while you can’t always stop it or prepare for it when it happens this deck is the best as seeing the strong foundation that will withstand the shifting earth beneath your feet.

What are your weaknesses?

Two of Wands – This isn’t a patient deck; it is about movement and progress; it doesn’t lend itself to the introspective pondering. It is an analytic deck, that doesn’t need intuition to give advice. It is best approached with a clear question and the desire for a clear answer; not one muddled by hypotheticals.

The main lesson?

Knight of Wands – This deck is pure movement, it can be unpredictable, but it is always effective. It helps you divine the road to take and makes clear the sign posts along the way.