The Morgan-Greer Tarot is a reworking of the Rider-Waite deck created in the 1970s. The cards are borderless, and the artwork has a lush, immediate feel, where the characters are shown in close-up. It's a good option for beginners.
Now available in a small-size tin edition!
The Morgan-Greer Tarot is based on the classic Rider-Waite deck drawn by Pamela Coleman Smith. The Rider-Waite is so ineptly drawn that it has inspired numerous attempts at improvement, often simply by use of different colors than Smith's original. Greer's tarot deck starts off with entirely new drawings painted in exceptionally rich color. With no borders, the card images run the full length of the cards. Rather than paint full scenes as did Smith, Greer chooses to paint from a closer perspective, so figures are often head/shoulders or three quarters in length; this allows for more detail in the painting of each character portrayed in the cards. The symbolism follows Rider-Waite closely, with only a few departures: the nine of swords, traditionally the nightmare card in Rider-Waite, now shows symbols of bound hands, which to me changes the meaning of the card.
Many of the people shown in the cards are androgynous, this is especially evident with the Pages, they can represent a girl or boy equally well, without offending either. This sexual ambiguity is well suited to a deck that will appeal to men and women alike.
I have a "pet peeve" card in each tarot deck I purchase, and in the Morgan-Greer deck it is Key 13, Death: Death is shown in a black cape with a square of white at the collar; this gives him the appearance of wearing a priest's Roman collar, and is to me off-putting. A quick touch-up with a Sharpie fixes this, however.
Morgan-Greer deck will appeal to fans of Rider-Waite and its
many variants. It is a handsome deck that will be well
suited to readings for other people.
This was my first tarot deck and I was drawn to it intuitively. I'm not a "numbers" person so I need the rich images to evoke a gut response, and these cards achieve that end admirably. Major and Minor arcana all have great artwork, original without losing the classical connotations of the tarot. The colors are bold, and the intended meanings are pretty clear. There is nudity or partial nudity on only four cards, all Majors, but the artwork is primitive enough that it is not offensive at all.
I find the illustrated Minors capture the imagination and allow intuitive interpretation rather easier than other decks. Someone gifted me a deck that had very simple minor arcana (ten crossed swords on a blue field) and it means nothing to me. In the Morgan-Greer the ten of swords depicts a man lying facedown with ten swords stuck in his back, much more evocative of betrayal! Don't get me wrong, there are only two cards in the deck where blood appears on the swords and only the one where they enter the body. The images are NOT terribly violent. This Deck is a great one for beginners or experienced readers that want a "traditional" deck with out being limited to good old Rider-Waite.
The book that goes with the cards is informative, but not overly
verbose. Included are the usual connotations of each
suit and a short discussion on numerology as used in
the Major arcana. There is a description of the image
with a brief analysis of the elements included in each
image. There is brief discussion of the care and
keeping of the cards, although there is no mandatory
tone to it and these things are left to the reader's
discretion. In the back, several spreads are presented
with concise descriptions for each, then an essay on
how to read cards in combination with each other (i.e.
swords and pentacles togetherů) I don't personally
want more than a couple of pages on each card, reading
is a very intuitive thing. Some explanation of the
mind set of the artist is great and helpful, after
that let me alone and let me bond with my cards!
My very first Tarot deck was the Rider-Waite deck. It served its purpose as a teacher but was quickly supplanted by the Morgan-Greer deck, which is currently my deck of choice for giving public readings.
There is a separate card with the deck that states that it was illustrated by Bill Greer, under the direction of Lloyd Morgan. It further states that Case's The Tarot was used to get the correct (symbolic) color scheme.
I love the back of the deck (blue with white stars) and the over-all imagery with illustrated pips and no borders to interfere with the cards's "power."
Some of my favorite images are in this deck: the Hermit (a lone figure in a brown cape, holding a staff in one hand and a lighted lamp in the other), the High Priestess (shown seated, cloaked in blue with a lavender backdrop, with the symbol of the moon beneath her feet and on her head-dress, a cross at her throat and a scroll held between her hands), and the Devil (a goats head with fangs and horns, a lit candle over his head and a pentagram with a blue beetle between his horns).
The meanings of the Morgan-Greer cards come through so clearly, and appeal so to my traditional nature, that I often use them when working with affirmations, meditations and rituals.
I also recommend this deck as a good one for those just starting out because of its traditional nature and clarity of images. (I find the cards very easy to "enter," and the symbolism rich.) This is a good deck to have in one's collection as representative of the more traditional approach to Tarot. (No one should stop at one deck, after all!)