The Golden Universal Tarot is a re-print of the Universal Tarot by Roberto de Angelis, redrawn and more dynamic version of the Rider-Waite. This edition has selected symbols and imagery decorated with gold foil on its 78 cards. (Lo Scarabeo)
To be brutally honest, I was never drawn to original RWS tarot cards for some reason..BUT then I saw this version of the Universal tarot with these beautiful cards and gold decoration, I was
really excited, I loved the look and the shine and went directly to buy it. It was reasonably priced and unreasonably pretty. I am still surprised why this deck in not getting more exposure on tarot forums like let say Wild Unknown Tarot, which has become very popular, but I assume it is because it is "yet another RWS clone" and people may consider it less original or interesting.
Fair enough, there are so many RWS clones already, do we really need another one... ? I would say, in this case yes as it is not just about the gold foil. The original Universal Tarot's imagery is lively and evocative - two qualities I am personally gravely missing in the original Rider-Waite, it is bit more 3-dimensional, detailed and dynamic. Which are important qualities for easy-to-read tarot decks. So yes, you can say you could just buy the original Universal Tarot version, to get the benefits of very readable images, but then - if you can have it gold, for pretty much the same price, why wouldn't you?
It works great with clients, even if you read tarot in low-light environment, it still shines and gives the reading an aura of being a very special moment, without sacrificing readability of the cards, which is often the case with more elaborate decks. You get the effect, but you pay in comfort of use.
However.. one thing lets the deck down.. and that is the stock paper.. It is not even standard lo Scarabeo stock paper, like the one they used for The Tarot of the Magical Forest which is on great paper. I concluded, that this has something to do with the gold foil so I am not mad at it as I guess it couldn't be avoided, but the paper feels a bit cheap and it chips easily, especially on the edges. The back of the cards also looks bit like lower-quality print.
The gold foil works great with the colors and on some cards it creates shiny gradients of gold and softer pastel colors. Few cards have intentional “faults” in the gold foil, which I know some people didn’t like, but I don’t mind it that much, as the cards do chip fairly easy on the edges, the intentional faults in the gold foil make it all look little bit more like purposeful vintage.
Is this a good beginner tarot deck?
Ehh ..yes and no… Yes, if you saw it and loved it. No, if you need a title on each card, because this deck doesn't have it. So if you can't recognize the cards by the image, Golden Universal Tarot will give you a hard time.
Overall this is been one of my favorite decks, it reads very well. Clients love it, I love it. I found it great for meditation as well. For me it is triggering the intuition really well. I would say some people may find the gold distracting, but if you are that type of person, you know you will hate it straight away and you are most likely not even reading this review.
The imaginary itself is very clear and easy to read and it has just the right amount of details for a small cards size image. Overall Golden Universal Tarot is a great "everyday deck" that reads well and is not overpowering.
Astrid "The Psychic Witch"
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