Pagan Otherworlds is definitely one of the more famous decks of 2016, and received lots of attention in Tarot communities (particularly AT). It stayed on my wish list for a couple of months, and I finally ordered it through Uusi directly. To my understanding, it was a Kickstarter project originally, and some of the backers felt unhappy as to how the process was handled – I will have nothing to add to that.
How to order?
You can order directly from Uusi through their e-shop for 50USD plus shipping (was 25USD shipping to Nordic Europe). There is also a companion book (currently sold out), which I didn’t get, and several additional items such as boxes, stands etc. My purchase was shipped promptly and arrived fast.
Even though I was not a backer, I got additional items included – a linen cloth bag with the uusi logo for safekeep of the deck, and a Pagan Otherworlds postcard which I currently keep on my coffee table. Some people have received their deck with a leaf of safe or some other herb taped on top, but it wasn’t the case for me – perhaps due to EU customs regulations (bringing plant material in)?
The deck was carefully packaged in a sturdy box, I was happy with the whole process and don’t have any further comments there.
What do you get?
The deck comes in a very high quality tuck-box with embossed gold print, beautiful pattern (the same is featured on the card backs) and even a seal of sorts.
I opened the box from the bottom, to keep the seal intact. You can also see a little bit of the gold emboss on the box. This deck is clearly published by someone with attention to detail – every little thing is thought out and designed to the max. Every texture feels high quality.
I also like the fonts and the calligraphy featured on the box and the cards. The tuck box is definitely sturdy enough to keep the deck, although I would think about another case (if you intend to use the cards a lot, I think it might harm the box).
The deck is otherwise a classic Tarot deck, but it features 6 extra cards – a 23rd Major Arcana called “The Seeker”, drawing from the 19th century “Flammarion image” of an unknown author, depicting a man that reaches through a veil to see the other side.
Apart from a 23rd Major Arcana card (which is becoming kind of a staple in indie decks), Pagan Otherworlds features 5 extra Luna cards, which can be used for timing or merely added to the reading. Why not add them to the deck? They are illustrated with delicate gold flecking.
RWS or Thoth?
This is definitely a RWS-based deck, in fact, it would be easy to just read out-of-box by following the RWS meanings. Interesting fact, though – the pips are said to be unillustrated. Whereas they don’t feature scenic illustrations like the RWS, I wouldn’t call them… unillustrated.
Even though they don’t feature scenes per se, the general mood, organisation and colouring of the cards still communicates the RWS meaning pretty well, I think. In any case, the cards trigger a deep, primordial understanding of what they want to say, and I’m pretty certain anyone would be at ease when trying to read them out-of-box.
What about the art?
The design is beautiful, delicate and rupturing all at the same time, and it very deeply resonates with the mood of the Nordic winter. I think this would make a perfect winter deck. The people are painted in a non-denominational shamanistic kind of way, featuring a lot of nature and leather.
The depiction of nature is very detailed, if not a little bit dreamy. The Ace of Pentacles is one of my favourite cards in the entire deck. The titles are not typed, but rather written in beautiful calligraphy on all the cards.
The Major Arcana cards represent people, mainly, portrayed as their archetypes. I specifically like the Devil, who looks like a mythic village medicine man, or some sort of witch.
The Death card is probably one of my most favourite death cards out there, beautifully using the RWS concepts and picturing them in a different way. I don’t think I’ve seen such a dynamic Death card in any other deck, I can practically hear the scythe swooshing through the air.
What’s the verdict?
The best part about this deck is definitely its quality. The cardstock is unbelievable, the amount of detail awe-inspiring. Everyone should add it to their collection only because of the quality.
Cardstock is my number one aspect of a deck – if the cardstock is bad, I will not be using the deck, no matter how much I love it. One of the tests for a deck is to fan it out of box and see whether it fans evenly or if cards tend to cluster together. A lot of Schiffer decks do that (Sidhe and Mary-El are particularly annoying, because they are such wonderful decks otherwise). This takes away a lot of the fun from using a deck – but Pagan Otherworlds, man, you want to use the deck just to be able to handle it!
Definitely worth getting (and using).