Deck Review: The Pagan Otherworlds Tarot

Now that we're well into the 2000s, the Renaissance really does seem like a whole other world. Traveling back centuries to a time when people were experiencing an incredible surge of creativity, art, science, architecture, engineering, and LIFE in general can open our eyes to a wealth of wisdom. 

When Uusi Design Studio released the Pagan Otherworlds, I was deeply immersed in the world of the Renaissance, watching Medici: Masters of Florence (if you haven't seen it, you should — it's well worth your time). While normally a stickler for more modern interpretations of the tarot, this particular deck caught my attention — there's something very contemporary and fresh about its depiction of the Renaissance. Maybe it's because of Uusi's overall minimal and clean aesthetic, or how its subdued palette transforms the works of such an old time period into something refreshing and new.

The cards have a linen finish which allows for a very smooth shuffle. You can fan out your cards beautifully too. I love how solid the cards feel in my hand. The same quality goes to the packaging as well — not only does the deck come with a nice pouch, it also includes a box that mimics the cards' intricate backings. The box comes beautifully sealed as well (tip to people who want to preserve the seal and sticker: open the bottom end of the box instead). Put this all together, and it's plain to see why this deck is such a stand out.

While this is generally a pip deck, you see the influence of the RWS on the Pagan Otherworlds, most particularly in the Aces.

While this is generally a pip deck, you see the influence of the RWS on the Pagan Otherworlds, most particularly in the Aces.

Attention to detail is strong in all the cards. Every segment of the tarot from the aces to the pips to the courts are executed with such a light and steady hand. You can easily set the Pagan Otherworlds right next to the actual works of the Renaissance period and it will not look a stitch out of place. The hand lettering is exquisite — I love the use of brown ink. 

The use of landscapes and perspective makes interpreting the card meanings accessible. I have yet to order the guidebook, but even without it, you can get by using this card with a general knowledge of the Rider Waite Smith.

If you're into bonus cards, this deck will not disappoint.

If you're into bonus cards, this deck will not disappoint.

You get some extras with the Pagan Otherworlds — cards representing the different moon phases along with a Seeker card that shows a man crossing over from one realm to another. I'm not entirely sure how to use these moon cards, I'm sure shuffling them in and pulling them will have some significance (maybe relating the specific moon phases to a person's own self-development or growth). The Seeker is a beautiful wild card that can also stand as a significator. We all use the tarot, after all, to seek answers to our questions.

I've been using this deck for personal draws and so far, they've provided me with readings as rich and as clean as the illustrations here. I have yet to use the Pagan Otherworlds with clients — for now, I prefer to keep it to myself just because I find it so precious and delicate.

If you're an art history nerd or have a proclivity towards history, this deck is for you. That said, even folks who love modern art may actually enjoy the Pagan Otherworlds because it brings something simultaneously contemporary and richly storied to the table.