Sol Invictus : The God Tarot
Kim Huggens & Nic Phillips
Deck and Companion Book
Review by Sorita d’Este for Avalonia.co.uk
Reviewed January 2008
Sol Invictus (The God Tarot) comes nicely packaged in a box with its companion book, in fact the packaging is more like what I would expect from a high quality board game in comparison to the boxes tarot decks are most often sold in recent years which seem to fall apart before you even open them! Likewise both the book and the cards are produced to a high quality and standard, which is always nice to see. What isn’t so great is the price tag that comes with it – the RRP of this deck which is a whopping £49.95 on Amazon.co.uk! (Though to be fair it can be gotten for less through marketplace, Amazon.com or directly from the publishers, Bushwood Books). Personally I would have liked to see this deck at a price which can compete with other decks currently aimed at the “pagan” market, as the price certainly limits its appeal.
The artwork by Nic Phillips reminds me a bit of Chesca Potter’s artwork, especially that of the Greenwood Tarot (which is so rare and desirable now that it exchanges hands for more than £300!), though Nic’s style is definetely more naive than Chesca’s. I like the simple red solar design on white which backs the cards, as I found it to be a focus point, rather than a distraction (which some of the busier designs which are sometimes used on the back of tarot / oracle cards sometimes do!) when doing readings.
For me the strength of the deck is in the fact that it focusses entirely on the masculine divine, though like another review published here on Avalonia of this deck, I feel that the inclusion of heroic (And otherwise famous) men from history at times lets the deck down – I expected to see a deck entirely dedicated to male deities. Maybe this is my own selfish desires for such a deck though, as I often use one of the “Goddess Tarot” decks for group meditations, workshops and lectures to provide astral doorways or meditation foci for participants. I am quite partial to working with male deities and as such would have loved to be able to do the same with this deck, though to do so I would have to remove several of the cards to enable me to do so in the same way. However, what was nice to see was the inclusion of deities from a wider spectrum of pantheons than what one usually finds with modern pagan writings. The “Ace of Coins” presented Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec Sun God who was also the tutelary god of the Aztec nation – a god I have rarely heard reference to in modern pagan circles, but whom I am partial to on a personal level.
The companion book is great and the information on the figures used for the tarot deck is brilliantly researched and presented. In fact, I felt that by itself it would make a great little reference book. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I would love to see something like that from these authors in future as for me this was definitely one of the strong points of this project.
Personally I would probably not use this deck for divination, but then that is not a reflection on the quality of the design or production, simply a personal choice. I am set in my ways and prefer sticking to the Thoth Tarot which I know and love! This deck will however be joining a small selection of other cards which I do use to illustrate workshops, or as astral doorway (meditation journeys) etc. I hope that the artist may consider producing some larger prints of some of the images, especially of the major arcana as I think they would make excellent altar pieces, gifts (I am always stuck for interesting gifts for friends!) and would look lovely in a nice frame on my wall!
A great big well done on an ambitious project, which has come into fruition in this beautifully produced book and deck! Sol Invictus “The God Tarot” is a must have for any tarot collector and an interesting deck to use to explore the different manifestations of masculine energy and divinities, whilst learning a great deal about different world pantheons.
Available from http://www.bushwoodbooks.co.uk