The Rider deck was the first deck I ever read with, and the symbolism is top notch in my book. Its not to bare in the minor arcana like older Marseilles and Visconti decks, but its not over laden with specized symbols like the Thoth and GD Tarots. I just have always hated the art on the Rider deck. Everyone does.
So I bounced around to Rider clones, which are nicer looking, but always manage to screw it up somehow with something I hate. My favorite of these is the Morgan Greer, but I am not crazy for some of those cards either. I have used some re-colored rider decks in the past as well, but always found them lacking.
As a gift for finishing the manuscript, I bought myself a new deck: The Illuminated Tarot
A Hand Painted Rider Deck that maintains all the symbols and art of the original rider, but is different enough with the colors and backgrounds to make it interesting. I ordered my deck from Carol on Tuesday and got it today.
I am loving it. You can tell a lot of care went into these.
The cards themselves are not like the cardstock that you would find from a store bought deck. They are glossy laminated cards which make the deck both thicker and more flexible than a standard deck, yet they are amazingly easy to shuffle. In fact, because they are hand done, there is something about them that reminds me of my first experience with Tarot, which was with a deck that my friend Don and I actually photocopied out of Waits Key to the Tarot from the Library, than cut out with scissors when we were in 8th grade.
I purchased the medium sized deck without the irridescent paint added. The only things I dont like are the backs of the cards (sort of a dusty violet star pattern) and that some ofthe cards have the names changed, like death below. But overall, that doesnt bother me much.
Carol was very kind to include several gift cards including a version of the magician with the irridescent paint in the large style, the magician cards from the Tarot Revele, an image of Set, and a few cards from her Chakra card series. She also includes a lined bag that form fits the deck and has one of your favorite cards mounted onto it. Very nice touches.