Reviews,  Tarot Reviews

Review of the Lubok Tarot

Reviewed by: Boglarka Kiss

So, where to start… 🙂 I know nothing is by chance. Also that miracles surround us, though sometimes we are blind to them and we let them pass by. But I had a dream – and that it has come true, this is kind of a joyful miracle to me.  My dream was the Lubok Tarot – and it would be too lengthy to tell you about the whole story here. The point is that I was so much longing for it, I cannot tell you how much, and I was literally screaming for joy when I opened the pack the postman had brought and there was the Lubok deck in it! I just want to thank Sergei Savchenko and Eugene Vinitski for it, I am absolutely in love!

Once I opened the deck, I felt as though I were in a Russian tale come alive. Not just that the artwork is beautiful, but the stories we can see in each card are so talkative. That’s why for me, it is not just a deck, but so far the clearest channel in my collection (I have a collection of around ninety decks).

I am in love with Cyrillic letters – when I was a child I learned Russian for five years at school and it was an even bigger challenge for me to read the texts out. I managed to do it, though I am still translating them to understand all of them – it takes a while because of my lack of free time. Though the deck works perfectly without the little helpful words on them. I am just curious about what they say because no matter how long I have been exploring Tarot, I am still learning new things. And will do so in all my life, as Tarot – like Life itself – is a never-ending lesson.

But to talk about the deck itself – I cannot decide if I prefer the Majors or the Minors, but I am very impressed by the unique stories of the Minors. Just to show you this Four of Swords and Six of Swords, the hero after the fight with the dragon in the Four of Swords. Both need to heal and recover. Or the globe-shaped balloon in the Six of Swords – a higher perspective is needed if we want to see the picture as a whole instead of getting stuck in difficulties, such a deep and intense depiction of this card, indeed! I am so pleased that the Minors differ from the ‘traditional’ Waite-depictions, preserving the meaning of each card, yet adding something new to them.

Yet my favorite one of all the seventy-eight cards is the Sun. Why so?  Probably because I associate this figure with Jesus, carrying the Sun on his shoulders instead of the cross. And because for me, this card is so much about Unconditional Love – and the Sun never asks who it should shine onto, it just shines and always does so, always at a place where Light is needed.

When I unpacked the cards, this was the first card I wanted to touch – and this is also the card that decorates the box, probably not by chance. Because the Sun means Light – and what I actually feel is that pure Light radiates from and comes through each card, even the ‘difficult’ ones. When I looked at it, an Irish blessing came on my mind: ‘May the Sun shine upon your shoulders.’ Then indeed, instead of burdens, we will feel warmth. In winter, we so much need the Sun – and no matter how cold it is outside, if we leave our neck free for a while and let the Sun shine on it, even depression will avoid us.

So without wanting to mystify this deck, I just want to say it is simply sunny. Sunny in its appearance, in its clarity and in the messages it conveys – I do one and three-card readings only with this deck, because the cards and their messages are so profound that a Celtic Cross-spread, for example, would be too difficult to analyze with these cards. And I must tell you that any time I ask something from the Lubok cards, the message is clear in my mind within seconds.

A very special thing is the short messages in some of the cards like two of the Page-cards, the Wheel of Fortune or the Eight of Cups, just to mention some of them. They look like a little rhyme at first glance, but unlike most of the cards that have keywords in Russian in them, we can read short message-like sentences in the Page of Coins and the Page of Swords.

The message of the Page of Swords is this: ‘Не делай, потому что не умеешь.’ – ‘Do not do it because you do not know how to.’ The message of the Page of Coins is this: ‘Не делай, потому что не знаешь.’ – ‘Do not do it because you do not know it.’ The picture of the Wheel of Fortune is very telling with the carousel in it, and the short sentence says: ‘Всё проходит, пройдёт и это.’ – Everything passes, it will also pass. And this is what we can read in the Eight of Cups: ‘Готов ли ты платить за свой подъем наверх?’ – Are you ready to pay for your uphill climb? The message in the Five of Coins is very talkative together along with the picture itself, as well: ‘Ослепленный своим горем, не пройди мимо окон храма.’ – Do not pass by the windows of the temple when you are blinded by grief.

As I have seen it from my readings with the Lubok deck so far, these short messages in certain cards always hit the nail on the head. Please forgive me if my translations from English to Russian are not the clearest  – but I wish one day all these short texts get their proper English translation.

The quality of both the cards and the box is simply perfect, the box is a hard box, and we have a little white booklet for the cards, which is only in Russian right now. Still, even if someone does not understand it, the pictures are absolutely talkative without the information of the LWB, too.

Any time I work with this deck, it makes me amazed by its clarity, as well as by the drawings itself. It is very true with the Lubok Tarot that each picture can lead us into mini-meditations if we just let our mind and soul sink in the picture and flow with it. This is also why this deck works so well with one-card spreads, especially because it wakes up such thoughts and questions in the mind that in the end, we catch ourselves on understanding situations more than wanting to know what comes next. Indeed, when we understand something, we are able to flow and we do not so much long for wanting to know what is still to come. It is kind of all the same when we feel good and relaxed. Regardless of the different situations, should they be pleasant or less pleasant, my experience with the Lubok Tarot is that it always helps and inspires me to find the root of worries and doubts when I am out of balance. And it so much reassures positive recognitions when I am balanced, as well. Probably this is the blessing of this deck: working with it so much leads to finding balance, and to being able to maintain it longer and longer when I just recall what messages it gave me to certain questions.

Thank you so much for reading my review – I hope it is helpful to many of you, and should you get the Lubok Tarot, I wish you deep and wonderful readings with it! You will not be disappointed! 🙂

_______________________________________________

Created by Sergei Savchenko and Eugene Vinitski
Review by Boglarka Kiss