This is going to be the very first tarot deck review I’m going to be doing, ever. I mainly blog about YA novels, so this is going to be totally different for me. Nonetheless, I am stoked to share my thoughts and feelings toward The Wild Unknown Tarot deck by Kim Krans and the edition I’m going to be reviewing is the one published by Harper Elixir.
In 2015, I came across an article on Urban Outfitters’ blog about tarot written by Bakara Wintner (I just literally scoured the internet right now and remembered that it was taken down for some reason.) Anyway, it was the very first time I was exposed to The Wild Unknown tarot deck by Kim Krans. I saw the pictures on that post and I thought, “Those are some cool and edgy looking images.” You have to understand that I have mainly worked with the Rider Waite Smith style decks with actual people in the cards, so this deck was unique for me at the time because it only had animals and objects.
Anyway, I kept my eyes out for the deck and, eventually, I gave up on ever owning it because the independently published editions were too pricey and the shipping cost was horrendous. Then last year The Wild Unknown deck was picked up by Harper Elixir, which made me so ecstatic. However, I did not get it right off the bat and I waited for the right moment to come. After contemplating for a really long time if I should buy it or not and the serendipitous workings of the universe, a sale plus an extra ten percent coupon code later I finally got it!
I really love the packaging of the deck! Harper Elixir really did a good job of making it feel luxurious and high-grade. The box itself is sturdy, it has a handy lifting ribbon, and the overall design is just minimalist and practical.
The guidebook’s external features are well made, however, the cover is malleable enough to form wrinkles when it is bent, which is a little annoying for my bookworm soul. Despite that kink, I still appreciate the simple beauty of this guidebook.
The content provides clear and concise information about the basics of tarot and the meanings of the cards, which is totally handy for a tarot newbie. However, I really wished that the author could have added fun tidbits on why she chose certain symbols for a particular card (i.e. why did she choose those species of animals for the court cards? Why did she do that geometric style for the 7 of Pentacles). I also hoped that the book held information on why she chose to create the deck in the first place. I’m not familiar with Kim Krans as a person and I just felt like she totally missed out on the opportunity to show a sliver of herself in the guidebook.
(UPDATE: I RECENTLY FOUND OUT THAT MY COPY OF THE BOOK IS MISSING THE FIRST 20 OR SO PAGES. THE TABLE AND CONTENTS, INTRODUCTION, MAJOR AND MINOR ARCANA EXPLANATIONS ARE NOT THERE.)
In terms of the physicality of the deck, I really love the matte finish of it. It felt smooth and velvety, which is a nice texture for a deck of cards. The thickness is great because it is a happy medium of not being too flimsy nor too thick.
The illustrations are just stunning and I really do love the look and feel of the cards. As I mentioned, this is a purely nature-based deck and it doesn’t have any people in it, which is my very first one in that genre.
However, truthfully, I didn’t connect intuitively with the images when I first started using it. Despite utilizing it every day for the first two weeks, I just could not read it. It was like speaking a language I couldn’t understand, which almost made me regret buying it. Maybe it stemmed from the fact that I haven’t worked with a nature-themed deck and that the lack of humans made it difficult for me to read the symbols. The stark and minimalistic imagery, though gorgeous, did not speak to my soul.
I eventually forced myself to learn the symbolism within the deck partly because it was the only deck I have on hand at the time. I think this solidified my relationship with the deck and now, I FREAKING LOVE THE WILD UNKNOWN! I can finally understand what it’s saying whenever I use it, which is just a magical experience.
TIPS: For people who couldn’t resonate with a deck, please give it time and attention. Try to stare at each card until it slowly seeps into your psyche, which I think is what happened to me. If you find the imagery too overwhelming, I highly suggest visiting Carrie Mallon’s The Wild Unknown: Tarot Card Meanings for a thorough breakdown of each symbolism within each card.
I have still a lot to learn from this deck, especially the court cards and some of the pip cards (minors that don’t have a lot of imagery in them), but I am so excited to work with it for a really long time.
I highly recommend The Wild Unknown by Kim Krans, especially for tarot enthusiasts who want to challenge the way they read the cards. It is an edgy yet soulful tarot deck that will enhance your intuition.
Do you own The Wild Unknown deck? What are your own experiences with it? Definitely, post your review or comments down below and let’s start a discussion.