Orbifold Tarot Reviews
The Orbifold Tarot expresses tarot symbolism through the geometry of circles, using a combination of numbers and the four elements to create simple and complex shapes that represent each card.
Tarot Deck - 80 Cards - Self Published 2016
Review by Sotiris Dandanas
The Orbifold Tarot is a new Tarot deck created by Michael Bridge Dickson in 2015. It is a colorful deck that incorporates circles as its main theme. Circles, magical and colorful circles, that interact together to form geometric structures and patterns in an endless rhythmic conscious dance.
The Orbifold tarot includes the meaning of the four elements showing the relationships and the connections between them as we find them in the real life and in nature. The wonderful colors used in this deck associate and represent the 4 elements: gold for air, red for fire, blue for water and green for earth. The Major Arcana is a result of the elemental combinations in a wonderful black background, while the Minor Arcana show its elemental correspondence in a bright white background. The court cards are depicted with their rank according to their element in a background of their suit. To give an example the Knight of Cups (Knight of Water) is a red orb on a blue background, which shows that the knights are associated with fire while the blue represents the water. The result is fire in water and this is the system in which the court cards are formed.
The Major Arcana is formed from the colored orbs that mix together to form structurally harmonic images that follow the rules of numerology. Each card shows an image of orbs according to the number of the card. For example the Hermit card depicts a structure made from nine orbs that depicts the Hermits star. We can see that the cards develop though they are independent on their own too.
From Ace to Tens the Minors are evolving from one elemental orb to more complex structures that correspond to our universe. The color of each orb is related to its element and so the swords are gold spheres and the cups are blue. The minors are following the same pattern and are differentiated by their color.
This leads to an elaborate mirror that reflects our consciousness through rhythmic patterns. It is a deck that is based on the geometric structure of our universe, excellent for those who love sacred geometry. The symmetry of the forms creates a perfect tool for self-reflection and meditation. This symmetry is present in a reading revealing with its evocative images the evolution of a situation and the development of the person.
The deck is a combination of simplicity that follows the ways of nature and that is reduced to its essence. The Orbifold Tarot is the essence of the meaning of tarot, it is the number and the element that creates the card making it easy for everyone to connect with it and see the forces that run through a reading. It is highly influenced from the Tarot de Marseille not only because of the common system for the minors but also for its abstractness and its simplicity.
The fact that the deck has this specific theme allows it to be a multi-use tool for our spiritual life. It is excellent for meditation thanks to its symmetric mandalas and its ability to reflect ones consciousness. I personally used this deck in my magick workings. It was an amazing experience! The elements, the numbers, the colors allow me to work in a practical way everywhere just with a deck of cards! I performed a ritual circle using the cards for the elements and to state my intentions. The simplicity of the deck made it really an interesting experience.
The way in which the deck is created, without the traditional images of tarot makes it an excellent reading tool for professionals since it calms the calm and it doesnt disturb the clients psychology with the frightening images of other decks.
The Orbifold tarot is a
new futuristic deck that combines natural simplicity
with the complex meanings of tarot in a way that
changes the traditional history of tarot and lifting it
into higher levels!
Review by Catherine Frei
The Orbifold Tarot is a modern, abstract deck published in the year 2015 by Montreal-based tarot reader and teacher Michael Bridge-Dickson. He wanted to create a deck which is both, aesthetically beautiful as well as simple and practical in use, an aim that he achieved with flying colours. As a creation, however, it is highly complex and a truly ingenious work.
I am a tarot beginner and by now, besides the Orbifold Tarot, I also own two traditional decks, which I use as an addition in the learning process. For the largest part of my learning though, I use the Orbifold. Its clear, simple and harmonious design help me a lot to concentrate on the essentials and not to get too distracted by specific and detailed imagery. It leaves room to create my own inner pictures, which can vary from situation to situation.
The Orbifold Tarot works with the four elements, representing the four suits as follows: Pentacles = Earth, which stands for: being, experience (green colour) Wands = Fire, which stands for: doing, action (red colour) Cups = Water, which stands for: feeling, emotion (blue colour) Swords = Air, which stands for: thinking, intellect (yellow colour)
The decks images are entirely built up with overlapping, coloured circles as the most basic geometric form. They appear in quantity representing the number of each card. Given this graphic structure, the images on the cards go from the very basic shaped aces or The Fool, which are depicted by one circle in the colour of its element, to very complexly shaped higher numbers such as the top numbers of the Minor Arcana or the higher numbers of the Major Arcana, for example the helical Tower, the mandala-shaped Star or the X-shaped Judgement, just to name a few. I am truly impressed by the amount of imagination that must have been involved in the creating process of every pattern and by its transformation into the finished, amazingly beautiful images. I assume that the colourful, contemporary or maybe almost a bit futuristic design appeals to a lot of different people and personalities, also to those who might not be very familiar with the spiritual realm.
The Minor Arcana cards show different images of these overlapping circles, in their quantity in accordance with the card number, in the colour of their element, on white background. All cards, the Minors as well as the Majors and the court cards are labelled in a clear and readable way, which makes the handling easy for learners. The Minors here are labelled with their number and element.
The Major Arcana cards are structured in a similar way, so, the quantity of their circles also correspond with the card number, but, as Michael assigns the four elements in various combinations to the different Major cards, there is a bigger variety in the four applied colours in the Major Arcana. Some of these cards still only contain one single element, whereas others are a mixture of two, three or all four elements. The immediate visibility of the elements in the Majors which underline the card meanings are a big help in the practical use, especially for tarot beginners or even for more advanced tarot readers who are new to this deck. The background of the Major Arcana cards is black, and they are labelled with their Roman numeral and card name.
The court cards then are designed particularly simply and are therefore very easy to learn and memorize, as they show the respective rank (The Page, The Knight, The Queen, The King) as one circle coloured with the element that is assigned to each of the ranks, embedded in the respective element shown as the background colour. These cards are labelled with their rank and element.
The Orbifold Tarot is a deck that is reduced to
the basic tarot principles and follows a totally
simple and consistent structure. And still, as all the
tarot principles are included, it is, as a system, very
much in alignment with the traditional tarot decks. So,
without changing the initial ideas of tarot, the Orbifold
is a very easy to access deck and as such has a huge
potential to find a broad clientele among readers of every
Review by Pixna
The Orbifold Tarot, by Michael Bridge-Dickson, is unlike any other tarot deck I've ever used, and for me, that's a good thing. I don't relate to the images in most tarot decks. Although there are plenty of decks with gorgeous, intriguing, or compelling illustrations, I haven't found any that inspire me to transcend the artwork and focus solely on the depth, complexity, and strata of meanings intrinsic to each card. I've been wishing for a deck that is free of the confines of time, race, ethnicity, age, gender, and even species. If you've been searching for such a deck as well, the Orbifold Tarot may be your dream come true.
Composed of 80 cards - the standard 78 plus two additional Majors - the images are a blend of deceptively simple and profoundly complex colorful spheres reflecting the four elements: yellow/gold Air (Swords), red Fire (Wands), blue Water (Cups), and green Earth (Pentacles). The variety and intricacy of shapes and patterns created with graphic minimalism is particularly remarkable. Bridge-Dickson found a way to distill and encapsulate the traditional as well as energetic essence of each card, encompassing all possible interpretations, from light and airy to heavy and dark, through his meticulous arrangement of these spheres and his ingenious colorization of them.
The Pips have the same design for each number, with the only difference being their suit color. This makes perfect sense once you understand how to extrapolate and apply both the numerological and elemental aspects of the cards. In fact, these expansive yet precise interpretations allow the meanings of each card to be accurate and fluid depending on the context and surrounding cards in a reading. The Court cards contain a single-colored orb on a rich background of the suit's color, demonstrating how the energetic elements of other suits permeate and influence each Court card. No longer are the Courts restricted by narrow interpretations of personhood, gender, or age, which in itself is liberating.
Each Major is either a reduction or amalgamation of that card's energetic elements. The composition of each Major is based on the total orbs that make up the card's numerical value. In this deck, Strength is number eight, with eight orbs, and Justice is eleven, with eleven orbs. Strength contains the elements of Air and Fire, so the orbs are red and yellow. The layout of the orbs and their colors not only reflect the prevalent interpretation of internal/external struggle and self-mastery but also allow for multiple layers of additional understanding, showing, for example, how an abundance of Air can fuel Fire or the lack of Air can extinguish it, how Fire can become uncontrollable, and how Air is almost impossible to contain. Contrarily, Justice is singularly green, demonstrating the groundedness and security of truth and fairness. But in addition to the colors, Bridge-Dickson has deftly devised surprising patterns from what may seem on the surface to be such facile objects: basic circles. How these patterns portray and evoke the peculiar fundamental qualities of each card is truly uncanny. It is this rarified combination of color and construction that merges multifaceted depth with elegant simplicity.
Bridge-Dickson's attention to detail is astounding. This is masterfully demonstrated in the borders of the cards, which either show a spectrum of the card's colors or, for cards with a single color, a gradation of dark to light based on the card's number, and therefore the level or amount of the element it contains. This is brilliant! Although borders rarely have an impact on card meanings, in this deck they aren't an afterthought but are an intentional and integral part of the design of each individual card. The edges of the cards are matte black, a much-welcome change from either no edge color or the gilding that creates recalcitrant sparkles on hands, tables, and cloths. On top of these inventive touches are the designs on the cards, which are glossy and slightly elevated, providing a satisfying visual and tactile experience. The Pips are on a white matte background and the Majors are on a black matte background. The backs of the cards are glossy (yes, they do show fingerprints, but these can easily be buffed away with a soft cloth), with a colorful circular motif that can be inverted, making it easy to use reversals if desired. The card stock is sturdy but flexible. The raised designs add a bit of thickness to the cards in the center, creating a slight bow that works well in terms of keeping the cards from sliding apart when stacked. Quite clever!
The two additional Majors are Void (representing unmanifested potential) and Manifestation (representing potential that is manifesting), which are matte. Their images are flush with the card's surface.
The Orbifold Tarot comes in two sizes: a full-sized deck that is 2.75 x 4.75 inches and a mini deck that is 2 x 3.5 inches. Both are eminently usable, regardless of hand size or shuffling preferences. Both sizes come in a beautiful, durable box with a magnetic closure. Bridge-Dickson provides a small instruction pamphlet on glossy paper that offers valuable but very basic guidance. However, he has generously made available numerous online articles and videos for in-depth study. The only downside to this deck is the lack of a book, which it fully deserves. Although the articles and videos are readily accessible and offer a wealth of wisdom, I'd prefer to have something consolidated and tangible for easy reference when I'm working with the cards, or simply a convenient resource to read in bed or carry along with me. It is my hope that an in-print book will be forthcoming.
reviewers have mentioned that this deck is based on sacred
geometry. Truth be told, I know nothing about geometry and
am horrible with math. If you're a math wizard,
you'll likely find the connection and can enjoy that
aspect of this deck. If you're like me and have zero math
skills, don't worry - you don't need them to work with
this deck. In addition, if you're new to tarot, you
don't need to have familiarity or experience with more
traditional decks to begin working with this one. If, however,
you do have a solid tarot background, you will no
doubt appreciate the intricate system that
Bridge-Dickson has methodically developed, which is founded on
sound tarot principles and conventional structure and
yet is wholly original and contemporary, organized but
liberating, modern but traditional. To my mind, this is the
perfect deck I've been seeking and one of the most
exquisite, extraordinary, and significant new decks of this
decade, if not this century.