The Lost Tarot of Nostradamus is quickly becoming on of my favorite Tarot decks. This deck is absolutely beautiful and is made on very sturdy card stock. The images are vibrant and colorful and are reportedly from drawings by the mysterious prophet himself.
The creators of this deck, John Matthews and Wil Klinghan have done an excellent job making a coherent Tarot system from images that were likely never meant for this purpose. The book that accompanies this deck is more than a simple guide to the images and the divinatory meanings. It is a fascinating walkthrough of their process of creating the deck, choices made, details on the borders, the suit choices and more. It’s, frankly, the best companion book I’ve had the pleasure of reading with a Tarot deck. In addition to divinatory meanings behind the cards, each card is also given a historical reference to the time from which it came and things that they are likely depicting. I honestly found myself quite engrossed in reading it.
Unlike the tradition Tarot suits of Pentacles, Swords, Cups, and Wands this deck has the Spheres, Stars, Moons, and Suns respectively. These suits, while quite different from what one may be used to in a Tarot deck, are quite fitting to the imagery of the deck. Each suit has a unique border that all fourteen cards of the suit share. This makes it quite easy to identify at a glance which suit you are dealing with.
One of the more fantastic touches of this deck, in my opinion, is that each suit has its own unique Courts. Gone are the traditional Page, Knight King and Queen. Each court is specific to the general imagery and messages of their respective suits. Each set of courts is listed below:
The Suit of Spheres, which replaces the typical Pentacles has the Apprentice, Astrologer, Astronomer, and Alchemist. Obviously this is a more scientific suit and deals with the study of the physical.
The Suit of Stars, traditionally the Swords, has a more religious court of the Postulant, Cardinal, Abbess, and Pope reflecting the more spiritual nature of the suit.
The Suit of Moons has a more mystical court of the Neophyte, Initiate, Prophetess, and Master.
Finally the Suit of Suns has the most traditional Tarot court in the Page, Knight, Lady and Prince.
The Major Arcana
The Major Arcana of the Lost Tarot of Nostradamus is the place where I believe this deck shines the
most. The images are incredibly unique, but quite effective. The borders of these cards are far more ornate than the Minor Arcana. That paired with their bright coloring make them strongly stand out from the Minors in any spread.
One thing that I find slightly disappointing is how strictly the names of the Major Arcana echo the Rider-Waite tradition. The only thing even slightly different is The Completed World, which oddly is represented in a large chalice. Honestly, it may be the one card in the deck that I truly don’t understand the thinking behind even after reading it.
Overall I have to admit that I’m absolutely in love with this deck and have been since the first time I saw it. It’s a deck of hidden knowledge. The esoteric images bring very deep thoughts to mind from the intuition. An intuitive reader will find quite a lot to love in these images and will draw sometimes very surprising messages from them. The guidebook is worth the price of admission alone. It’s absolutely amazing, from start to finish. I’ve honestly never been captivated by a Tarot companion book in quite the same way. I’ll admit that at times I found much different ideas conveyed in the art of a card than the ones that the artist intended, but that is sometimes the case.
The Lost Tarot of Nostradamus is decidedly NOT a beginner Tarot deck. If you are new to Tarot or looking for a good place to start, this is not it. There is an assumption in the book and in the cards themselves that you are not new to the cards and that you are familiar with the interpretation and idea behind Tarot. A beginner will likely find themselves overwhelmed and frustrated. Even for a seasoned reader this deck can prove difficult. I know that some readers have found it very easy to get into, but I didn’t find this the case. While I was captivated by the images, breaking into their esoteric code to find the messages underneath was no easy task. It was, however, a task well worth it!
My final thought on the Lost Tarot of Nostradamus is that if you are a Tarot reader who has been drawn towards this deck and have been curious, go for it! Prepare to spend some real time getting to know and understand its language, though. Also, prepare to spend a good bit of time with the guidebook. That, however, is time that you are likely to greatly enjoy. In my opinion, The Lost Tarot of Nostradamus is a worthy addition to any Tarot collection.