The Robin Wood Tarot is a bit…unusual. You’ll either love it or hate it.
Personally, I love it. I love it’s fairytale-meets-pornstar-mustache vibe and I love what it represents.
This was one of the first tarot decks to combine the meanings of the original Rider-Waite deck with nature-based, earthy imagery. It’s often called a Pagan tarot deck because it avoids much of the traditional religious symbolism in favor of more more elemental symbols.
The illustrations feel like they come out of a fairy tale, in a way that reminds me slightly of Arthur Rackham. The deck is a bit dated, but also classic.
This deck is popular among Pagans, Wiccans, witches, and people who don’t want Christianity mixed with their tarot. It’s also a very good deck for tarot beginners, as the cards closely follow the traditional RW-based meanings and stories.
I purchased my copy of the Robin Wood Tarot deck in 2016 for about $20 from Amazon. It’s also available from the publisher (Llewellyn Worldwide) for a few dollars more.
THE ROBIN WOOD TAROT DECK REVIEW
This is a fairly dated tarot deck, but it’s a wonderful choice for tarot beginners who want an alternative to the original Rider-Waite deck.
The illustrations are influenced by nature and the elements. It’s a perfect combination of Pagan images with the traditional RW-based meanings.
HISTORY OF THE ROBIN WOOD TAROT DECK
The Robin Wood Tarot was created by Robin Wood over the course of many years. It was first published in 2002 by Llewellyn Worldwide. This was one of the first “traditional” RW-based decks to use natural and elemental energies, which is why it is considered a Pagan deck. It’s a classic, and you’ll find many professional tarot readers who use this as their main deck.
Robin is a prolific illustrator. You can purchase prints of some of the tarot cards from her shop, and find out more at her website at www.RobinWood.com. She’s currently very active as a Second Life creator, which she talks about on her blog.
THE PACKAGE & CONTENTS
There is nothing special about the packaging of this deck. The Robin Wood Tarot comes in a small box, not the standard “big” box that Llewellyn now uses for most of its decks. This is the only real let-down of this deck. The outer box holds just the cards and is rather flimsy.
The backside of the cards shows a symmetrical Celtic-knot design in black, white, and green. It doesn’t match the style of the illustrations, but it doesn’t detract, either.
The cards themselves are lightweight and slippery. I appreciate this (since I’m a lousy shuffler and these cards are easy to shuffle), but I know some people would prefer heavier weight cards. They are coated and will take a bit of a beating, but they won’t last forever with regular use.
A companion guide is available separately. It’s written by Robin Wood, the creator of the deck (always a good sign) and has very good reviews on Amazon. I haven’t looked at it, so I won’t include it in this review.
The deck itself comes with it’s own “little white book,” which is a tiny 56-page stapled guide to the cards. This guide includes three sample tarot spreads as well as keywords for the upright and reversed meanings of each card. It’s useful, but doesn’t add much to the experience of using the deck.
READING TAROT WITH THE ROBIN WOOD DECK
Even though the illustration style is completely different, the Robin Wood Tarot deck closely follows the RW-traditional meanings, symbols, and stories.
The images are clear and colorful and they feel like they come from an old-timey fairy tale book. It’s impressive how Robin Wood was able to follow the traditional symbols so closely, yet create a deck that feels totally different from the original Rider-Waite.
There is a small bit of full frontal nudity in this deck. It’s tasteful and unabashed, but definitely NSFW.
IS THE ROBIN WOOD DECK GOOD FOR BEGINNERS?
Yes, absolutely. The cards in the Robin Wood Tarot follow the traditional RW-meanings extremely closely.
If you are Pagan, Wiccan, practicing witch, or just interested in those things, this is a wonderful deck. It doesn’t feel as Judeo-Christian as the original Rider-Waite, but uses the same stories on each of the cards. It’s amazing to have a RW-based Pagan deck that carefully combines both traditions.
PROS OF THE ROBIN WOOD TAROT DECK
- A perfect combination of the traditional RW-based meanings with Pagan imagery.
- The cards are well illustrated, detailed, and extremely easy to read.
CONS OF THE ROBIN WOOD TAROT DECK
- It doesn’t come in an impressive package. This only matters if you’re giving it as a gift, though.
- You have to purchase the full companion book separately.
- The illustrations feel a bit dated. “Timeless” and “classic” are two similar words, but, yeah, “dated” works, too. 🙂
Like I said…you’ll either love this deck or hate it. I don’t know many people who are in the middle about it.
If you like the images and you are looking for a serious Rider-Waite based tarot deck that fits a more nature-based spirituality, this is the deck for you. It’s a good choice for your first tarot deck as it’s extremely easy to read and closely follows the RW-based meanings.
If you like the illustration style, this really is a wonderful tarot deck to use. You can get your copy of the Robin Wood Tarot deck for about $20 from Amazon. You can also purchase it directly from Llewellyn Worldwide (the publisher) for a few dollars more.