The Astrology Center of America, 207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272
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The Quest Tarot Deck & Book Set

by Joseph Ernest Martin

The Quest Tarot Deck & Book Set
Price: $34.95
Number of cards in deck: 80. There two cards numbered 0 (zero), and one blank card.

Measurements: 2.8 x 4.6 inches, or 70 x 117 mm.

Back of card: Something like a royal blue with turquoise border. In the center, a sea-blue all-seeing eye. In the four quadrants, in gold, are a triangle, circle, square & crescent. The gold shapes ruin the symmetry but if you're not fussy, you can invert the cards.

Book included: Yes, 296 pages, 6 x 9 inches, or 15.2 x 22.8 cm. Illustrated. Titled, The Compass Guide to the Quest Tarot, by Joseph Ernst Martin.

Publisher: Llewellyn. Printed in the US.

Comments: On the back of the book it says that Joseph Ernest Martin has been a professional tarot card reader for more than ten years. Inside the book, it says he's been a professional tarot reader for more than 15 years (pgs ii & 295). He is also a lecturer, fine artist & award winning art director (back of book), or professional artist & art director with more than 63 design awards (pg ii). Or maybe all of the above.

Among the many features on these cards: The astrological sign. The astrological planet. The appropriate I-Ching hexagram. A tiny clock face. A pair of daggers that point up, down, up/down or sideways. Appropriate gemstones - anywhere from one to six per card. Hebrew letters. Runes. On court cards, add skin color, eye color & hair color. Oh, yeah. And a tarot image. Nearly forgot. What to do with this? On the back of the box, it says:

Imagine a Tarot deck that you could use like a Ouija board [Ick!] to get yes/no answers or spell out words. Imagine learning the traditional card meanings in a course of a card game with your friends. Imagine using the same cards to predict your future. Now here's something that doesn't require your imagination - the deck exists, and you're looking at it. Certainly can't fault the enthusiasm.

Court cards are all nudes, as are all the appropriate major arcana cards. But as all the figures are tiny and as most of them have liquid gold or glass for skin, you can hardly tell. Court cards are daughter, son, mother & father. Suits are the usual, except that Pentacles are called Stones. The Lovers card is, as with the lovers in the Cosmic Tribe deck, all about what you want to sleep with tonight. To quote the book,

I'm sure in the early days of tarot this card was rather simple to depict. However, in modern times this card can prove troublesome. In the sky you see the three major romantic orientations represented by their gender symbols: heterosexual, gay & lesbian. The Lovers card is often referred to as the marriage of opposites. You can see the sword & the cup, the yin & the yang, the sun & the moon, and the two rings joined together. The word, opposites does not have to mean gender opposites. Two people of the same gender can be in a relationship, one person expressing a different archetype than the other. (pg. 131)

This isn't tarot at all, of course, but it should be helpful if you find yourself reading for singles in a bar on Friday nights. To put this pop image in context, it helps to remember earlier Lovers cards. Originally a man was forced to choose between a young woman & an old crone (the Marseilles deck). A.E. Waite changed this to: The man wants the woman, but the woman is looking to god, above them both (Rider-Waite). (Waite used a nearly identical design for the Devil card, which few have noticed). Since then, the card has been degraded to: YOU WIN! You get a night with the girl (or guy) of your choice! In a century, the Lovers card has gone from resisting temptation to orgasmic release. But so has society in general. The rest of the deck rarely rises above this level, for better or worse.

There are two cards marked 0 (zero): The Fool, and the Multiverse Unbound, which, in the original order of the cards, is placed after arcana 21, the Universe, which itself takes the place of the usual World card. The definitions are easy to guess: The World was enough for the 19th century, but in the 20th, we outgrew it, so the Universe. And now, in the 21st century, multiple universes too: The Multiverse. (Imagine. You not only get your choice of bed-partner, you get all known & unknown creation. Isn't life great?) The last card in the pack has the fancy border of the others, but is blank inside. This is just in case you have brainstorm of your own. And that's the full compliment of 80 cards, the most a printer will do without a lot of fuss.

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Tarot Home Tarot Decks Tarot Books Astrology Home E-Mail:

Established 1993, The Astrology Center of America is owned & operated by David Roell. Except where noted, this entire site ( & its contents are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by William R. Roell. All rights reserved. Tarot card images are Copyright © by the copyright holder (generally the publisher).