Cosmos Tarot is a collaborative effort from Light Grey Art Lab, featuring both a Tarot and an oracle deck in a 100-card deck and book set.
I set my heart on this set when I first lay my eyes on it – not only am I an enormous astrophile, but I adore collaborative decks that feature exquisite art in my collection. I have reading decks as well, but I’ve chosen a small selection of decks I read with – others are there for art appreciation. I thought Cosmos Tarot will be one like it, but actually it does offer insightful readings as well.
How to get it?
I ordered the set from LGAL web shop, for 35USD (shipping excluded), which I find an extremely low price for what is essentially two very high quality decks. The shipping was tracked and came in very fast from the US to Nordic Europe, I was very pleased.The packing was done well and with care, no comments there either.
What do you get?
The decks come in a sturdy box, which actually looks bigger in pictures. I was expecting Mary-El sized box (or similar), but the box is actually quite small and thin. I will definitely use this box for storage, no need to get a different box or bag, but I’m peeved that it doesn’t have a finger gap, so it’s tricky to get the lid off (other boxes have done the same). I mean, is it really so difficult? I have some oracle decks which are practically impossible or just very stressful to open because of the same reason. The thinness of the Cosmos doesn’t really help here.
The production quality, however, is extremely good. The 100 cards have different-coloured backs for oracle and tarot, but are actually totally combineable, should you wish to create a 100-card megadeck.
The cards are gilded, moreover, constellations are also added in gold as an overlay of the images. The cardstock is extremely good, almost my favourite, shuffles like a dream and feels high quality. The gilding is high quality as well, the cards didn’t stick together the slightest. There is also a small guidebook included (think Mahjong Oracle), which is actually quite good for its size.
The cards are a real pleasure to handle, whether you want to just look through them for art appreciation, or to use them for readings, or for meditating, or just to learn astronomy (another interesting use).
RWS or Thoth?
These cards are something else, period. I mentioned before that the two decks can be combined into a megadeck, and that’s probably the best way to use it, as it is quite far from traditional Tarot. Some of the changes that have been made to the traditional Tarot archetypes have not been reasoned in the book, so that might bother some (not me). In that sense, it reminds me of Dreams of Gaia Tarot, which also uses different archetypes, but does it knowingly. I would recommend using Cosmos set as one megadeck, it just makes a lot of sense to me.
Can I use it out-of-box?
Well, the truth is, actually you can, as it has keywords printed on the bottom of the cards (plus if you are good at astronomy/astrology, you can pull some attributes from there). The suits are printed using elements, so you can also use elemental attributes and numerology. The images are also very stimulating, but the deck literally abandons anything traditional about Tarot, so don’t go with your extensive RWS knowledge. This deck deserves to be learnt.
What about the art?
It is a collaborative art deck, so obviously the art is the most important aspect of the deck. And it is wonderful. Usually collaborative decks don’t seem really cohesive, but even though the visual language differs drastically, somehow it all twines together.
In fact, when choosing images to show, I just pulled them randomly – it was really challenging to choose paintings I would like more than others.
Except one. I mean, what happened here!?
I really dislike this image, and it completely disrupts the flow of the deck. Maybe it was planned like it (the underdog card to be the literal underdog), but this card largely prevents me from reading with this deck and changes it into a pure art deck. Why, just why. I Googled the artist and found his imagery to be provoking and smart, if not a bit naive. But that particular image for the page of pentacles? The artwork is wrong and the meaning is just too off to feel like a well-thought out plan.
But then there are cards like these (again, just pulled randomly):
They pull you in and make you appreciate and open your creative juices and just keep you admiring. The art is really what makes the deck worth getting and working with it.
What’s the final verdict?
I love this deck – as a concept and also because of how it has been executed. Wonderful production quality, especially for its price. You are definitely getting a lot of bang for your buck. If not the best reading deck, it will still find use in your collection – just for appreciation, or some work with the skies, or just a themed deck for a stellar evening. A strong recommendation, not to mention that this is an indie deck – you will be supporting artists as well.
This is a limited run deck, so it would be wise to get one before they run out. I purchased this deck on my own funds and I’m not affiliated with any of the authors or publishers.