Deck Review | Le Tarot Noir | Ternel & Hackiere

Published by Alison Cross on

So, someone waved this deck in front of me on Facebook and, of course, I had to buy it.  I must learn some restraint.  But not right now …

I quickly sent Matthieu an e-mail and we organised a sale to the UK.  It arrived promptly and well wrapped (in fact, it took me a knife and a pair of scissors to prise my way into the package!).

The box is – unsurprisingly – black.  Also sturdy, which makes a nice change from the wobbly cardboard that I usually flatten out and squirrel away at the back of a drawer.

The cards are MASSIVE (10.5cm wide by 14cm tall) and have a stylised flower on the card-back (not reversible) bounded in a golden square and oval.

Le Tarot Noir – bigger than your average card…

I was very keen to get my paws on the accompanying book for this deck and for some INEXPLICABLE reason I was surprised that it was in French.  I mean I only bought the French-named deck from a French man, on his French website…what was I thinking?!

Anyway, turns out that the book isn’t hugely important from a divinatory point of view becuase it contains no divinatory information about the cards.  This was designed as a proper deck of playing cards.

As you can tell from the main image – we have unillustrated pips in this deck, but to describe them as ‘unillustrated’ is not to do justice to the beautiful workmanship of the Minor Arcana.

The colours throughout the deck are muted and sophisticated.  There is no suit/colour identification – which ties in perfectly with pre-Golden Dawn Tarot deck ethos.  The deck is edged in gold which looks beautiful against the black of the rest of the cards.  Black does, however, show up greasy fingerprints – so sorry about the smears on the various card images!

Gold Edging.  It IS there, I promise you!

The expressions on everyone’s face are somewhat lugubrious and gives the deck a puff of Deputy Dawg charm that offsets the strange pale and slanted eyes of many of the creatures in the cards (see the Knights in the video)

There are interesting touches to some of the Majors – the Hierophant card has initiates who have the head of sheep (a reference to being led like sheep? Or the Pope as the leader of a flock?) and the horses of the Chariot have sleek white skull-like heads which I find somewhat unnerving!

The courts are, as you can see, traditional representations of the usual Valet, Knight, Queen and King.  Neither the Kings of Cups nor Pentacles hold weapons – their power is, according to my dodgy French translations – in commerce (Pentacles) and the threat of the Hereafter (Cups).

Now, a word about the book.  I am ULTRA careful with books and was even taught how to open new books properly by Mr Scobbie, my old English Teacher.  This one still cracked and began to fall apart within a couple of days.  BUT don’t let that put you off.  I solved the problem by going into my local printer and having him cut off the spine and replace it with a plastic comb.   All for the princely sum of Β£3.00.

And now my book is safe from further damage AND lies flat when I am hovering over it with my school French dictionary…

So, what’s the verdict?  It’s big and it’s beautiful.  Will I be using it for readings? Not until I am more proficient at reading with unillustrated pips.   Do I like the artwork? Yes, I do – it’s traditional and contemporary all at the same time!

Am I selling it on? Not on your Nelly!

Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.Β  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....


Ania · 28th January 2015 at 3:44 pm

It's beautiful but a tad in the "neither fish nor fowl" camp. Too big to use as playing cards and shuffle comfortably and pip decks are not my preference for client readings, though I can read with them if necessary.

    Alison Cross · 28th January 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I know what you mean, but I am pretty enamoured with it anyway πŸ˜€

Caroline Blackler · 27th January 2015 at 8:24 pm

What a great deck πŸ™‚ I loved the video, very nicely put together.

    Alison Cross · 27th January 2015 at 10:25 pm

    I was close to weeping at one point, trying to figure out how to get the movement effect. But I know how to do it now!!! πŸ˜€

    Caroline Blackler · 27th January 2015 at 10:29 pm

    I look forward to many more video reviews πŸ™‚

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