With a berry and jewel toned color palette, The Art of Adventure Tarot is a space-faring sci-fi graphic novel in the form of a 78-card tarot deck. The deck is the brainchild of Pakistani filmmaker Bilal Lashari and illustrated by Manuel Pasmino.
This fun-filled deck is a little bit of everything. You get Victorian Steampunk that’s retrofuturistic with industrial machines and robotic motifs. It’s dystopian. It’s utopian. And everything in between.
It’s got a Rubber Hose comic strip style with the coiling boneless limbs and carefree smiles. If you love Liminal 11’s Mystical Medleys Tarot, then you’ll love Bilal’s Art of Adventure Tarot.
Pasmino’s art here is an amalgamation of different eras in time and place, depicting a universe that at times reminds me of that childhood cartoon, The Jetsons. It’s an alternate reality Space Age with aliens and robots, juxtaposed with scenes from ordinary suburbia.
This RWS-based deck reads beautifully for me. I found its messages on point, easy to decipher, outfitted with all the key elements an RWS tarot reader would want. I love the speculative universe that Lashari has created here.
You get a classic stapled little white booklet with the deck, and it’s worth a read. I love how each card is described.
The Emperor is The King Pin. For The Hierophant, “Forgive me father…” The Lovers card: Adam and Eve and Steve. The Chariot: On the road again. The Hanged Man: I’ll be back.
Let’s zoom in to the Death card for a quick study. As fun and whimsical as the aesthetics of the deck appear, it’s rich with meaningful details. The Reaper is wearing a watch, keeping Time. In place of the River Styx and a boat in the back, there’s a highway and a car.
In the above photo you can see part of Temperance, the cosmic bartender. I love the recurring appearance of that three-eyed starry night alien creature!
This deck is absolutely a visual experience that not only showcases Pasmino’s incredible talent as an illustrator, but also Lashari’s depth of tarot knowledge. He describes himself as a “film director by day and a passionate tarot reader by night.”
The four suits express the four seasons. In the Wands, summer time madness. The Cups, spring into action! The suit of Pentacles– cha-ching! It’s autumn. And the suit of Swords: winter is coming.
With every reading, you get a psychedelic visual experience. These cards help bring a much-needed and welcomed levity to any reading, which never takes away from the sincerity or impact of reading with this deck.
“How could you be so heartless?” reads the caption in the LWB for the Queen of Swords. And you know that’s said in a tongue-in-cheek tone.
The cards shuffle beautifully, with a lot of comfortable slip. It’s got aqua-blue colored edging that perfectly matches the blue card back design. This is one of those decks I see in the hands of university students gathered and crowded in a cramped dormitory room as they sling cards, asking questions about love and romance, and philosophizing on postmodernism.
And yet truly it’s a deck created for everyone. No matter who you are, where you come from, what level of proficiency you have with the tarot, be that beginner, expert, a professional reader, or a collector, there is an aspect to the Art of Adventure Tarot that will appeal to you.
For the beginner, there’s enough RWS symbolism here that qualify this as a good first deck. You can graduate on to any other deck from this one. The illustrations are universal and inclusive enough for the professional tarot reader who reads for a diverse clientele. And it goes without saying, this is a one-of-a-kind deck that quickly elevates it to a must-have among collectors. I mean, like, omg that Ten of Swords is everything.
The artwork is packed with detailing, multi-layered in meaning, multi-dimensional in scope, and boisterous. It feels operatic in its narrative expressions of drama. What do I mean by drama? Just take a look at that Ten of Wands. Or the sense of celebration you empathically feel when you see that Four of Wands.
Lashari and Pasmino’s Art of Adventure Tarot is not like anything I’ve yet seen in tarot art. It’s at once exciting, sentimental, full of humor, theatrical, and an expansive universe of fun.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the deck from the independent creator for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the deck.