Tarot and Oracle Decks have exploded into the common experience since the 1990s. Today there are literally thousands of decks to choose from, including out-of-print decks and published ones. Reviewing a deck involves subjective judgment based on various critical criteria.
The critical review of a deck involves looking at the quality and size of the cards, visual accessibility of the art, quality of the companion text of the deck, and potential usefulness in professional practice. This month I have chosen to review The Patch Tarot by Jordan River.
The Patch Tarot Cards
The Patch Tarot deck was published in 2018 by Spirit Science Central. It comes with a booklet. There is also a The Book of Patch in print and digital formats
From the website:
With The Book of Patch, learn to see and know how the matrix works, and step outside of it to become the master of your reality. Allow yourself to embody complete mental clarity and alertness as you dive into the wisdom of the Tarot. Boost your vocabulary of Tarot and the mystic arts, while improving your ability to connect with the cards, and as a results, the people closest to you in your life.
Stimulate your mind with improved focus and concentration as you raise your own mental strength and analytical thinking skills. Develop your memory of all of the card information and increase your analytical thinking skills at the same time as you build a new neural network of ancient wisdom and spiritual truths.
The card stock for the publication of the deck very good and holds up well to repeated use over time. The cards are narrower than standard playing cards, but not much longer. They are not stiff and shuffle easily right out of the package. One drawback, the cards are “slick” so they slide apart easily and can fall out of your hands when you try to shuffle.
Visual Accessibility of the Deck
The visual accessibility of the deck is better than average, but not as good as the Osho Zen Tarot. For the most part, it modernizes the images of the Rider-Waite deck in a very fun and creative way. Positive and negative keywords appear in the top left (positive) and right (negative) of the cards. The words on the right side are upside down when the card is upright and “right side” up when the card is reversed.
Elemental symbols appear on the bottom left and right of the Court cards and a mix of astrology and Hebrew letters appear on the bottom of the Major and Minor Arcana. The number sequence for the Major Arcana is not consistent with traditional tarot and a few additional cards have been added: The Light, The Truth, The Way, and The All.
In the example of the Hierophant card, traditionally card number 5, it is card number 6, represented by the Star of David in the center top of the card. The upright meaning of the card is Spirituality and the reversed meaning is Intolerance. It has the Hebrew letter Vov and the astrological sign Taurus on the bottom left and right respectively.
The visual art of the cards is simple, dynamic, and colorful, making it a good deck for all ages, but not a “serious” looking deck in line with decks like the Haindl Tarot or the Rider-Waite. Common archetypes are used creatively on each of the cards.
Explanation of the Cards
The booklet is rather comprehensive, for a booklet, which means the text is very, very small. All cards get two paragraphs of text. Here is the first paragraph for the Hierophant.
The Hierophant (numbered by the Holy Star) is revealed to be a great spiritual leader, one who embodies the essence of divine wisdom and knowledge, free from dogma. He is the basis of awareness of that which lies beyond physical senses. His wisdom flows through him from all sources, teachings of histories past, lessons learned from life experiences, and wisdom he received through his devotion to spiritual practices. He is the harmony of the four elements, embodying the fifth element perfectly. He is both the learning and the teaching of Cosmic Law, and thus pours a new level of consciousness into this world from his heart.
With so many additional symbols and threads packed into the entire deck, there is a lot to learn to use this deck to its optimal potential.
As a professional reader who started reading cards for pay in 1992, I can say that this deck does work well in public because the images are visually stunning, and the keywords convey ideas clearly. Still, it is not the deck for everyone, any more than the Happy Tarot, which is very similar artistically. People with knowledge of the tarot will be “thrown” by the “off” numbering of the Major cards.
It is one of my top 25 “go-to” decks for public readings where people may need an inviting, fun deck instead of something much more “serious”. Working with clients at a distance, I offer 3 decks at a time for clients to choose from for their reading. The deck is a good choice for first-time readings.
The deck is an “open-ready-go!” kind of deck thanks to the keywords and the fun and effective artwork.
I will give this deck a very high rating. I consider it one of my top 25 decks, but outside my top 10 for public readings. It is in my top 10 for first-time client use. I keep the cards in a beautiful hand-crafted leather-bound box.
As a professional, I do enjoy reading with the deck and can recommend it as an essential deck for someone with the reading experience, and for a novice. If you are a tarot and oracle card collector, then this is certainly a deck you need to have in your collection.