By Sheri Harshberger
The Archeon Tarot is a stunningly beautiful, dark deck created by Timothy Lantz, an incredibly talented and creative visionary, who has brought his unique vision to many mediums and media. The Archeon Tarot is the manifestation of this vision as applied to the Tarot. It is published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
This deck was initially produced a few years ago and has recently been re-issued as a "Premier" edition, which features the deck, the little white book (LWB), and a special layout sheet depicting the Celtic Cross, inviting users to apply stunningly re-imagined cards within a traditional spread context. A masterful blending of old and new.
The card stock is high quality and sturdy. The cards are approximately the same size as a traditional deck. The Majors and the Minors have titles at the bottom of each card; however, unlike many other Tarot decks with card titles, the power of the artwork of these cards completely takes center stage despite the prominent size and coloring of the titles.
The Archeon Tarot follows the traditional, 78-card deck structure with 22 Majors and 56 Minors. In the Majors, The Fool is numbered 0, Strength is 8, and Justice is 11. The pips are all scenic. The Courts include a King, Queen, and Knight, but deviate from tradition and include Heralds in place of Pages, extending the prominent featuring of angels into the Court cards. The traditional suits of Cups, Pentacles, Swords, and Wands have been carried on in this deck. There is no top or bottom on the card backs so the deck may be used with reversals.
The artwork in this deck is breathtaking. The visuals are abstracted collages of color and symbology and remind me of dreams - imagery is suggested through color and shadow as well as lines. It seems both fresh and ancient at the same time. The people are eerily human, with many cards focusing the detail on the face of the figure in the card. Timothy Lantz himself makes a cameo appearance in the deck as the King of Cups, gazing directly at the reader and inviting him or her into the dream-state imagery. My favorite card in the deck is Temperance. The imagery of an angel (or woman) with a lamb on one side and a tiger on the other really brings the message of what I thought the card was supposed to mean (but didn't really see it before). Although the imagery can be dark and very abstract or interpretive, the cards are very readable.
The deck includes a LWB in which Mr. Lantz has provided both traditional upright and reversed meanings for each card, as well as a quote or phrase that enhances, or provides context for, the card meaning. In many respects, the phrases serve to provide insight not only into the pip card itself, but into numerology also. At the front of the LWB, he briefly discusses symbolism and its role in the deck. The booklet also contains instructions for using the Celtic Cross layout. The kit also comes with a large sheet that has the Celtic Cross layout diagrammed on it, for use with the cards. As I mentioned before, I like the mix of the new, edgy imagery in the cards used with a very traditional spread like the Celtic Cross.
The subtitles and the symbology of the images invite deeper study, making the Archeon Tarot an excellent deck for those who enjoy a challenge. I think this is a stunning deck that would be a valuable tool to add to any reader's deck collection, not only as a "book" of Timothy Lantz's artwork, but also as a very useful tool for reading for oneself or reading for others.