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Black & white or two color decks… how do you feel about them?


FindYourSovereignty
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FindYourSovereignty


A recent discussion started by @Scarlet Woodland about favorite new mass market decks got @Misterei and I discussing black and white decks. Oddly, I couldn’t find a thread about this subject so if this is a duplicate, please shift accordingly. Happy to keep a previous thread moving.

 

Where are you when it comes to two color decks? 

 

I have Ship of Fool’s Tarot - just opened it for this discussion although it has been on my mind all week. I’ve found a lot to ponder and consider in the guidebook which I like because thinking outside of the box is a personal goal of mine. However, a good guidebook does not necessarily make for a good reading deck relationship.


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I have Little Odd Tarot which I purchased because I wanted a b&w deck and it has turned out to be a super easy reader and riffle-shuffles like a dream (side note: mine is the first edition and I heard the card stock is different now.)

 

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I had the Spirit Speak Tarot and truly regret moving it along. I really want this deck back in my collection because it causes me to think. I had it too early in my tarot journey and thought I’d never get to grasping her approach. Silly me.


 

Edited by FindYourSovereignty
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Scarlet Woodland

Black and white decks have always given me pause, because a rich colour palette is such a key part of what attracts me to decks. I would worry that I'd get bored of looking at them and reach for some colour.

 

I do think I need to get over this a bit though 😄. I love the b&w cards from TWU just as much as the watercoloured ones (some more so) and haven't had this trouble at all with the Phantomwise tarot.

 

I will say though, that the richness and breadth of tone in the Phantomwise helps. It not just black and white but every shade of grey in between. It looks richly saturated despite being monochrome. Sorry about the artificial lighting, I couldn't get the tone quite right, but this is what I mean:

20221130_190733.thumb.jpg.b3c4ffb0c02db8a09623efef316ff677.jpg

 

Here's the ten of pentacles properly scanned so you can get a better idea:

5687befd940db607c0ee84d4fd58780b.jpg.f34cb5b7b8b22a1b9147c2d31e8dc39e.jpg

It doen't feel stark to me. There is some variety in the warmth of the greys too, to be fair.

 

I would struggle with the minimalism of something like the Ship of Fools.

 

I'm crushing hard on Tarot of the Abyss right now but still dithering over the trigger because... black and white. 

Edited by Scarlet Woodland
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It really depends if i actually like the deck so i don't mind it seems I have a soft spot for black and gold or white/nude and gold/silver decks thought there are actually some gems out there to my opinion and extreme variety especially on the rws decks for each colour and aesthetic like one colour blended with holo silver gold or just a colour with black/white so i find it hard to not like any 😅 so yeah on that kind of decks i find there are actually some stunning options 

Oh i should not forget the black and white paint your deck kind of decks too i find them amazing too cause you can write on them like personal general meanings yes/no etc and personalise them so much so on the black white kind of decks i love these ones

Edited by Aliki
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FindYourSovereignty
1 hour ago, Scarlet Woodland said:

I'm crushing hard on Tarot of the Abyss right now but still dithering over the trigger because... black and white.


I have considered buying two and coloring one of them in. 
 

23 minutes ago, Aliki said:

there are actually some gems out there to my opinion and extreme variety especially on the rws decks for each colour and aesthetic like one colour blended with holo silver gold or just a colour with black/white


Yes, there are some beautiful one or two color decks with foil or b/w with a third color, sometimes just a third through the whole deck or a third color that changes throughout the deck, like the Fyodor Pavlov Tarot. Simply stunning.


I also have the Tarot of the Secret Forest which is colored on one side with the artist’s black and white renderings on the back.

 

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28 minutes ago, FindYourSovereignty said:


I have considered buying two and coloring one of them in. 
 


Yes, there are some beautiful one or two color decks with foil or b/w with a third color, sometimes just a third through the whole deck or a third color that changes throughout the deck, like the Fyodor Pavlov Tarot. Simply stunning.


I also have the Tarot of the Secret Forest which is colored on one side with the artist’s black and white renderings on the back.

 

I adored the moon card on the Fyodor Pavlov one more than any moon card I've seen so far on decks..

On the tarot of the secret forest this is so unique are there any other decks like it in general and is there a particular name for them?

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FindYourSovereignty
4 minutes ago, Aliki said:

On the tarot of the secret forest this is so unique are there any other decks like it in general and is there a particular name for them?


This is the only deck like it that I am aware of. Maybe others have more information to share.

 

I think that Fyodor Pavlov is an exceptional deck. Another deck now on my wish list… 😁

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Scarlet Woodland

Yeah the Secret Forest is the only tarot like this that I know of, though a tickle in the back of my brain says there might be an oracle. I have it but I don't think I've ever tried reading with it with the B&W side up.

 

Stuff it, I've ordered the Tarot of the Abyss. I watched another flip through and those courts are just too good. It's coming on the slow train but I'll definitely let you guys know how we get along when it arrives!

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FindYourSovereignty
7 minutes ago, Scarlet Woodland said:

Stuff it, I've ordered the Tarot of the Abyss. I watched another flip through and those courts are just too good. It's coming on the slow train but I'll definitely let you guys know how we get along when it arrives!


😊 Please do. I look forward to hearing about it.

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For me, it is the same as with every deck:

- Do I like the motives and the style of the cards

- Does it offer something special for me?

- Can I work with it, or, Does it work for me?

 

The only B/W deck in my collection so far is the Hermetic Tarot. I like the geometrical, sober style, and it feels good for abstract questions. Readings were ok so far, but I would not use it for love or realtionship readings

 

Well, the "Tarot of the toiling hands" is next, which seems similar in style but has a more ornamental feeling to me.

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@FindYourSovereignty @Scarlet Woodland it would be such a cool idea as a themed decks type

Tarot of the abyss also looks really unique 

 @Teemu i definitely consider the hermetic tarot such a must i love unique and geometrical kinda artistic decks 

Tarot of the toiling hands also looks really nice but that sun card definitely caught my eye the most 

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FindYourSovereignty
32 minutes ago, Teemu said:

Tarot of the toiling hands" is next, 


This one is already on my wish list. Shipping to states is almost as much as the deck, but I’m intrigued by the story behind this deck.

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9 hours ago, Scarlet Woodland said:

Black and white decks have always given me pause, because a rich colour palette is such a key part of what attracts me to decks ...

I love the b&w cards from TWU just as much as the watercoloured ones ... and haven't had this trouble at all with the Phantomwise tarot.

@Scarlet Woodland what is TWU?

Thanks for sharing pix of Phantomwise. It's a lovely deck. I think this is what surprised me about B&W decks. I love B&W art. I love B&W fashion, B&W clothing. Yet the two B&W decks I own: Bianco Nero (RWS style) and Inversion (TdM style) I can't read with. It's so freakin' bizarre. I'm not even gonna crush on Phantomwise ... b/c I can't take another B&W heartbreak.

6 hours ago, Scarlet Woodland said:

Stuff it, I've ordered the Tarot of the Abyss.

Ha! Post some readings with it so I can enjoy it vicariously? Perhaps I must accept that for some reason my Intuition needs color ... like bread needs yeast to rise ... my intuition goes flat without color. Waiting for Pavlov deck to see if minimal color does the trick.

6 hours ago, Teemu said:

The only B/W deck in my collection so far is the Hermetic Tarot. I like the geometrical, sober style, and it feels good for abstract questions. Readings were ok so far, but I would not use it for love or realtionship readings

@Teemu I was attracted to Hermetic for the reasons you mention. You bring an interesting point. That you only use Hermetic for certain types of reads. Sadly I haven't found any topic where I felt chemistry with my 2 B&W decks  *sigh*. This is an interesting idea though. The qualities that either enhance or diminish our intuition. I had no idea color was a key ingredient for me ...

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I own quite a few black and white decks. Not all of them I choose to read with regularly. I will read with all of them but there are a few I definitely reach for more than the others - the original Spirit Keeper’s, the Light and Shadow and the Ironwing (the latter is not technically fully B+W).

 

There is something about the simplicity of the colour palette combined with complex imagery which seems to be a winner for me in terms of it being a good reading deck. 
 

 

image.jpg

Edited by Flaxen
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FindYourSovereignty
2 hours ago, Flaxen said:

 

There is something about the simplicity of the colour palette combined with complex imagery which seems to be a winner for me in terms of it being a good reading deck.

 

 

7 hours ago, Misterei said:

The qualities that either enhance or diminish our intuition. I had no idea color was a key ingredient for me ...


 

These are both interesting directions regarding what supports us best in specific reading scenarios or what assists us in getting the most information from the reading. Like the details certainly add more depth and information to the reading as does the color. They give us a feeling, an energy connected to the image and the question. I am reminded of watercolor artists that lay down some paint and then with just a few simple lines create a bird or a house and it is truly beautiful. I think from this discussion I am discovering for me personally color adds emotional depth to the image. I think I am drawn to the black and white decks because I like how they remove my emotion - not sure that helps in a reading 😊. I can see where this is supporting me right now and why I will continue to pursue them. I know, like everything, with practice I’ve gotten really great and clear readings with the Little Odd Tarot.

 

Fascinating insight discovery. Thank you for this discussion. 
 

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Scarlet Woodland
7 hours ago, Misterei said:

@Scarlet Woodland what is TWU?

Thanks for sharing pix of Phantomwise. It's a lovely deck. I think this is what surprised me about B&W decks. I love B&W art. I love B&W fashion, B&W clothing. Yet the two B&W decks I own: Bianco Nero (RWS style) and Inversion (TdM style) I can't read with. It's so freakin' bizarre. I'm not even gonna crush on Phantomwise ... b/c I can't take another B&W heartbreak.

13 hours ago, Scarlet Woodland said:

Stuff it, I've ordered the Tarot of the Abyss.

Ha! Post some readings with it so I can enjoy it vicariously?

 

Oh sorry @Misterei, just being lazy. I meant The Wild Unknown.

 

I had a fair idea before purchasing that I'd be able to work with the Phantomwise, thanks to printing out some of the images on paper to have a play with, around a decade ago. There's nostalgia there too, as it was one of the first decks I was drawn to when I started reading.

 

(Was just about to post this and saw your post about colour and emotion @FindYourSovereignty) I seem to need a bit of an emotional response to the images in a deck to connect properly. That's harder for me to find in Black and White decks but evidently not impossible. I think Tarot of the Abyss could be one that does that for me but we'll soon see.

 

I could post a couple of sample, Tarot of the Abyss, 3 card spreads here? Might give ppl a chance to test if they could work with it. Something like, "This is a past-present-future spread, try interpreting this as if it's about your/a client's work"

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On 12/1/2022 at 6:32 AM, Teemu said:

The only B/W deck in my collection so far is the Hermetic Tarot. I like the geometrical, sober style, and it feels good for abstract questions. Readings were ok so far, but I would not use it for love or realtionship readings.

 

Same. I like how esoteric it is, but I very rarely read with it. 

 

I think monochromatic Tarots can work well with certain themes, like gothic/horror (e.g. Ritual Abuse and Da Brigh's Black). I reckon they'd also be great for shadow work. Personally, I like vivid colors so B/W decks might not be something I'd be exploring a lot. 

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Scarlet Woodland
4 hours ago, Akhilleus said:

 

Same. I like how esoteric it is, but I very rarely read with it. 

 

I think monochromatic Tarots can work well with certain themes, like gothic/horror (e.g. Ritual Abuse and Da Brigh's Black). I reckon they'd also be great for shadow work. Personally, I like vivid colors so B/W decks might not be something I'd be exploring a lot. 

 

Ritual Abuse, thank you! I've been trying to remember the name of that deck.

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FindYourSovereignty
23 hours ago, Scarlet Woodland said:

I could post a couple of sample, Tarot of the Abyss, 3 card spreads here? Might give ppl a chance to test if they could work with it. Something like, "This is a past-present-future spread, try interpreting this as if it's about your/a client's work"


This will be a fun activity. Maybe we could have a thread in the tarot reading section where we could share our interpretations of reading b&w decks.

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A deck is a deck. If a black and white one works - fine. If a coloured one doesn't work - same difference. It's what;s in the deck that counts.

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On 12/1/2022 at 5:04 AM, Scarlet Woodland said:

I could post a couple of sample, Tarot of the Abyss, 3 card spreads here? Might give ppl a chance to test if they could work with it. Something like, "This is a past-present-future spread, try interpreting this as if it's about your/a client's work"

@Scarlet Woodland I would like that!

 

I won't purchase Abyss ... so it will be fun to see someone else read with it and go along vicariously.

 

I never could connect with Wild Unknown ... didn't think about it being B&W b/c it has bits of color ... but perhaps this was part of my antipathy for the deck (not to mention the Blair Witch Project vibe creeps me out).

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I have to say with my personal taste I much prefer really colourful decks! As colourful as possible 🙂 . But I do like the Wild Unknown and it's minimalism, it's interesting how the tiny sliver of another colour suddenly becomes crucial in readings. I have a few black and white decks, they will either work for you or not I guess.

 

Back on Aelectic, I became good friends with Linnie (still in touch with her today) and she made the wonderful A'ha Oracle. It's great for spiritual readings and the card symbols are Mandalas that came to her intuitively in meditation and in dreams. When she was creating it, she felt like some of the cards should have colour and some not. This seemed controversial at the time, the final deck had 77 cards and only 18 of them in full colour. The finished deck really works, I think limiting colour can really draw your attention to their symbolism. We know Black and White old films really draw your eye and attention. As long as they express their symbolism and message there is no problem or difference really.

 

 

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FindYourSovereignty

 

On 12/2/2022 at 3:04 PM, Misterei said:

it will be fun to see someone else read with it and go along vicariously.


@Bodhiseed, featured this deck in several blogposts often paired with a colorful Oracle card.

 

21 hours ago, DanielJUK said:

I have to say with my personal taste I much prefer really colourful decks! As colourful as possible 🙂 . But I do like the Wild Unknown and it's minimalism, it's interesting how the tiny sliver of another colour suddenly becomes crucial in readings. I have a few black and white decks, they will either work for you or not I guess.

 


I like colorful decks as well and am actually quite surprised at how many b&w decks I do have. 
 

21 hours ago, DanielJUK said:

she made the wonderful A'ha Oracle


Beautiful oracle deck. 
 

In my Zoom practice group, we spent several weeks pairing our tarot with an oracle deck. I discovered both my tarot and oracle collections were so colorful that none of them felt like they paired nicely. It went much better when I paired a monochrome deck with a colorful one. 
 

 

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I feel much the same as gregory; I'm less concerned about palettes and more about the deck in the overall. This said I do have a fondness for limited pallette work, which has resulted in a fairly large monochrome and limited palette sub-collection at this point (Tarot Obscura, Jonasa Jaus, Commonplace Tarot, Of Light and Dust, Toiling Hands, Interim Tarot, Yasmine Abed, Phantomwise--finally!!, Bianco Nero, Line Defined, Black Line, Darkness of Light, Shadow Light, Normal Tarot...). In general I feel that limited pallettes require the artist to do more with less, and you get some really inspiring results from that.

 

Sometimes there are exceptions, but they tend to be case cspecific. For example, the 5th Edition of the Jonas Jaus Tarot, in which the artist opted to drop one of the colors from the already small set, resulted in a deck which I felt had lost its appeal. I still have my copy and continue to dither on keeping it, as the 4th and 6th are IMO vastly preferable and pretty much the only ones I use by that artist.

 

I will say I definitely classify them differently, by which I mean I'll ask myself 'do I feel like a black and white/monochrome/limited color deck today?' (They also all have limited color bags, because I'm Like That.)

 

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On 12/2/2022 at 9:07 AM, gregory said:

A deck is a deck. If a black and white one works - fine. If a coloured one doesn't work - same difference. It's what;s in the deck that counts.

Same for me, it's not the decisive factor. However some of the black&white deck are too busy for me to read with them easily. Example the original Spirit Keeper’s, then I prefer the colored version. Others like the El Goliath tarot with clear defined lines and big cards is one of my favorites. Beth S. Shaded tarot and the old Astral are also among my favorite cards.

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