21 January 2010

A Touch of Vertigo Vol. 2

Nearly two years ago I wrote about the Vertigo tarot deck by Dave McKean. Well, I finally got to buy it last summer. I meant to write about it then, but, as it goes, I've been really lazy in my occult 'dabbling'. I finally got around to taking a closer look, and so far I like it.

Like all of McKean's work, the images are eerie, abstract, imaginative and often bordering on the grotesque. The suits and names are all traditional. I like the court cards a lot. The Page, although called such, is obviously female, as it should be. The small cards bear no titles, which is probably usually best, as authors tend to differ on them (I've come to prefer Crowley's versions myself). They're naturally the most abstract cards of the deck, but mostly seem to fit in reasonably with traditional interpretations (though not always).

The trumps are perhaps the most controversial, as they feature characters from Vertigo Comics (even though McKean's style is so abstract that many are almost unrecognisable). Some of these suit the cards very well. Consider Death of the Endless for the trump titled Death, for example. And Constantine as the Fool makes me smile. Some, however, differ somewhat from my ideas of the trumps. Also, some unnecessary changes have been made to the astrological attributions of the trumps (which are marked on the cards).

Right now this deck ranks among my favourites and is certainly usable. It's not a perfect deck (none I've tried yet is), but it holds a definite appeal, and not only due to the geek factor. Who knows, it might even become my primary deck for the foreseeable future. But of course it's early days, and I've always been fickle in these matters.

For the record, if and when I buy another deck, it will almost certainly be Crowley's Thoth deck.

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