Review by Solandia
A lighthearted re-creation of the Pamela Colman-Smith's famous card designs, the Ator Tarot has blocky, somehow humorous, full-colour images. The cartoon scenes are made up of stretches of flat colour, separated by thick black lines. Coleman-Smith's spare designs have been pared down even further.
The Ator Tarot is a suitable deck for complete beginners, as the minimalist style focuses attention on the most important symbols of the Rider-Waite-Smith artwork that give meaning to the card, without distracting the eye with too much background detail or scenery.
The human figures on the cards are shapeless and featureless, but for black dots for eyes and a large circular pink nose. While I usually prefer life-like looking scenes, I find that the oddness and lack of detail on the human faces means that I look more at the tarot symbols to interpret the meaning, rather than just trying to interpret the facial expression of the person in the scene.
There is no companion book for these cards, but that means the Ator Tarot is suitable for using with lots of books. Almost any of the generic workbooks and manuals for Rider-Waite style decks will work with the Ator Tarot.
The backs of the cards are upright only and printed in the blue ink. The letters ATOR/TAROT are repeated as a pattern, with each of the suit symbols placed on top. The card stock is thin and the edges a little sharp. The stand-alone cards come heat-wrapped in plastic.
Overall the Ator Tarot is a non-threatening and straightforward deck that has re-made but still kept the essence of the Rider-Waite-Smith symbols. The simplicity and humour of the cards mean it is an appropriate deck for children, as well as being suitable for all skill levels from novice to expert. And as a limited edition of only 1000 decks, it is also a collector's item.
Kate Hill (also known as Solandia) is the founder and editor of Aeclectic Tarot, and has reviewed more than 200 decks over the years.