Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Some people may feel that an "update" to a deck is unnecessary, that too many versions of the same thing amounts to overkill. I often find that new versions do have something to offer, and that this is the case with the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot.
In the original version of this deck, there is an emphasis on the black outlining of the art, which to me takes away the ability to connect with the cards. The standard Rider-Waite was my first deck, and was almost immediately supplanted by the Morgan-Greer deck, a Rider-Waite clone that I could connect with much more easily.
The Radiant Rider-Waite, had it been my first deck, would have been the deck that I stayed with for professional readings. I like the fact that the intense black lines have been discarded, and the crisp white border with the card number at the top and the title at the bottom. The back of the cards, carrying the image of a starry sky, is also far preferable to the diamond pattern of the standard Rider-Waite deck.
The coloring is much more intense, with more of an orange overtone to the yellows. In some instances (the Fool, for example) there appears to be an aura of light around the figure(s) in the card. You really have to look for this, and I do not feel that it takes away from the ability to use this deck at all.
The Empress ends up with more of an orange sky behind her, but the plant life is distinctly green, rather than the yellowish tone carried by the standard deck. The deletion of the black lines does seem to have affected the facial expressions on the figures in the cards - bringing them out, making them more evident.
The rather gray background of the Hermit becomes an intense blue, which I feel adds rather than detracts from the card. The same holds for the intensifying of the color for the veil behind the figure of Justice. The sun over the mountain behind the figure of Temperance now holds the image of triple crown, which does seem to belong there. The Moon is another card that distinctly benefits from the increased intensity of the coloring of the sky.
The stained glass window behind the figure in the Four of Swords becomes much more of a point of focus, and the little salamander in front of the seated King of Wands has his fifteen seconds of fame.
I find the Radiant Tarot to be a deck well worth adding to my collection, as well as one to offer as a choice of decks for my clients.
© July 2004
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.