The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans is a popular deck that many people, both light-hearted hobbyists and serious tarot scholars alike, have bought. Because I only started studying Tarot recently, I was glad that the popularity of the deck brought it to the attention of HarperElixer. That way, the deck was made for the masses, including myself. I bought the full Keepsake Box Set and boy, did I not regret it. Before I even get into the full review, I want to tell you that this deck is beautiful and you should definitely get it.
Again, I have to emphasize how gorgeous the deck is. Even though the Minor Arcana has sparer details than the standard RWS deck, the imagery is still intuitive. Having only owned the standard RWS deck and the Lineztrider deck, I had not known what “good card stock” meant and holding the TWU deck in my hands made me realize how great cards feel like. The cards are matte, not letting shiny lights take away their beauty, and how they slip against each other while shuffling is almost buttery and sensuous.
Further to the cards, the packaging is also very well thought out. The larger box itself has a magnetic closure, with a long black ribbon to help pull out the guidebook and the deck. The deck is also encased in a slipbox, with a moving message, the infinity symbol and the four suits on the bottom. This box also has a black ribbon to help pull out the cards. These are all very practical additions that are very well thought out.
The imagery and writing are also very unified. This goes beyond simple branding; Kim Krans knows what she wants to bring across – and the deck itself is very evocative of the wilderness and the great beyond. Not only did the box of the deck had a heartfelt message from its creator, how the symbols are drawn and the little guidebook is written makes me feel excited to open the deck and read with it.
Also, because of the deck has no human figures, it is very much gender-neutral, which I appreciate.
Alas, even so, there were problems. I am not too sure if this happened across all the decks or if I received a defective deck. Most of the cards are printed too for left, making the white border on the right strangely wide. Below are some sample cards that show what I mean.
If only the borders were better balanced, I would have no cons at all to mention.
Other Points to Note
The deck uses Father, Mother, Son and Daughter instead of the usual King, Queen, Knight and Page. I don’t have a preference towards either – the “domestication” of the old hierarchy does make some sense, but at the same time, it loses the mysticism of the latter. The court cards also uses Snakes to represent the Wands, Owls to represent the swords, Swans to represent the Cups, and Deer to represent the Pentacles. This, I very much appreciate.
Who is this for
Everyone, from the casual hobbyists to tarot scholars! I have done some readings for my friends using this deck and they themselves have expressed interest in purchasing it.
Benebell did mention that this deck may not be good for learning as it is not a standard RWS deck; even the meanings stated in the guidebook differ slightly. I would agree; but having an exposure to this deck will not hurt, it just should not be the first and only deck you buy if you intend to study tarot more deeply.
By the way, for readers worldwide, I recommend buying the deck from Bookdepository, as I myself have. Bookdepository actually sells it cheaper than Amazon (depending on your currency) and delivery is always free.