I've been busy with work and study this year and that's going to be the case for the rest of 2023 and probably most of 2024. So, posting is likely to be pretty sporadic and random but I just had to do a review of this deck. I got it a little while back and each time I use the deck it has given great readings. Here are a few things to know if you're considering getting the Tarot of the Abyss.
The first thing you will notice is the stunning pen and ink artwork by Ana Tourian. If you are fortunate enough to have any other decks she has created or worked on, you will be familiar with her sweeping strokes, graded shading and wonderful proportions. This deck is black/grey ink on an ivory background but unlike most of the black and white decks I own, its not a minimalist style. The cards are covered edge to edge with the imaging but even so, they're not too busy. You can easily see what's going on and it does follow the Rider Waite Smith type but with some variation.
That means it's easy to read straight out of the box. The suits and court cards keep the traditional RWS names but (and this is really my only criticism of this deck) I have found the title font quite difficult to read. There is a card-sized guidebook that comes inside the box, it's 148 pages of English text and that is in an easy to read font, it's just the titles that I've struggled with. The content of the guidebook is original and very helpful in understanding the cards.
There's a bit of a panorama effect in some of the court cards which, although they don't all match with precision, is an interesting touch and tell me, does the King of Cups look like his surname would be Hemsworth? That is one thing I really appreciate about this deck, there are no 'funny faces'. It has all the storytelling abilities but no cartoon or Disney-like characters.
Now let's get to the practical stuff. The card stock is excellent, standard U.S. Games feel and size and therefore easy to riffle or overhand shuffle. They come in a sturdy two part box, which if this were a YouTube review, I'd be knocking on the side of the box and you'd hear the rat-a-tat-tat clear as a bell. Interestingly, the copyright labelling has been included within the back design on the cards and is visible if you look for it but not in any way intrusive. This is an excellent remedy to a niggle that I suspect affects many readers.
There are a couple of alternative cards for the Three and the Ten of Swords, so if you don't like heartbreak and overkill, the new options might work better for you. I like all four so have kept the two spares in with my deck and it seems to work just as well with 80 degrees of wisdom. Overall the quality of the production is, in my humble opinion, equal to or better than some independently produced decks. This is the kind of deck that makes me wonder how indie creators can up their game to keep ahead of the mass market publishers and continue to push the frontiers of tarot. U.S. Games have really pulled it out of the bag on this one.
Just a final note, I've found this deck to be one I go to for emotional situations. I wouldn't read for others during a time of crisis but I have turned to my cards many times over the years when I'm stressed out and this deck has an emotional vibe. It's not all watery, there's a good balance but the art style draws me in when logic, energy and practicality can't provide answers. So if you're looking for a deck for straightforward readings during difficult times and you want top quality for a low price, I'd definitely recommend checking out the Tarot of the Abyss.