The Knapp-Hall Tarot Deck Review by Michele Jackson
This deck has some interesting innovations. Per Manly P. Hall, "The foundation of the system is the mandala method of the Buddhist and other eastern philosophies." Each card, both in the Majors and the Minors has an additional symbol drawn. No interpretations are given for these symbols because "Each person must release some part of the his inner consciousness in the interpretation. None of the special devices added has a single unchangeable explanation. To give a list of meanings would be to frustrate the entire purpose of the involved symbolism."
The cards are rather small measuring 2 1/4" X 3 1/2". The scenes on the Majors are traditional and are reminiscent of the Oswald Wirth deck. The titles are on the bottom of the cards in French with the card's number to the left and its Hebrew letter to the right. The Hebrew letters are from the French assignments of Levi et. al, where Aleph is assigned to the Magician, vice The Fool, which is assigned the letter Shin. The last card has two numbers (21 and 22), as if to make up for this. The art is fair, but looks fuzzy. This may be a result of poor quality originals, as the deck is a re-issue of a deck originally published in 1929.
The suits are Scepters, Cups, Swords and Pentacles, and the Court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Knave though the letters on the cards themselves are K, Q, W and S. The Minors are pips. The mandalas or "emblems" appear in shields on the Majors, in triangles on the Scepters, in a visica piscis on the Cups, in a square on the Pentacles and borderless on the Swords.
The little booklet that comes with the deck consists of a reprint of a booklet "Divination with Tarot Cards" by J.A. Knapp and an introduction by Manly P. Hall. The interpretations are based on a simple system of numerology, where each number has a meaning which is combined with the qualities of the suit to determine the interpretation. The results are non-traditional, but the system is very easy to learn in a short period of time. A second set of short interpretations is also provided. This set is based on the work of DeLou Vell and A.E. Waite. 5 spreads are also given as well as a fairly complex set of instructions for laying the cards out.
I recommend this deck for those interested in something different, or who find the use of mandalas as an aid to interpretation and meditation interesting.
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This page is Copyright © 1997 by Michele Jackson