Hanson-Roberts Tarot

The Hanson-Roberts Tarot Deck by Mary Hanson-Roberts

Illustrated by: Mary Hanson-Roberts
Published by: U.S. Games Systems
Distributed by: U.S. Game Systems
Year Published: 1985
ISBN: 0-88079-079-2
Type: Deck of 78 Cards

The Hanson-Roberts deck was the first Tarot deck I ever actually held in my hands. Shortly after I became interested in Tarot, I began babysitting for a lady who had recently bought her first Tarot deck – The Hanson-Roberts deck. She was nice enough to let me look at it, and I was hooked. Many years later, I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this deck in a trade.

The Hanson-Roberts Tarot Deck is a brightly coloured deck heavily based on Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) symbolism. (Mary Hanson-Roberts also redrew and coloured the Universal Waite Tarot, a recolouring of the original RWS deck.) The figures on the cards are quite cute, and often child-like in appearance. Even the Devil card is fairly gentle looking, in my opinion.

The images on the cards very closely follow the images of the RWS deck, although often a small area of the RWS image is focused on. For example, the Three of Pentacles focuses on the workman, and the two other figures found on the RWS card are not shown. The court cards, named Page, Knight, Queen and King, show most of the figures from the waist up.

The suits are named Rods, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. No particular colours are used to set apart suits. Each card has a small white boarder and a white scroll-like area at the bottom where the card name is written in five languages. (English is in the centre, and is the most prominent.)

I recommend this deck to anyone looking for an alternative to the standard RWS deck. It is small, easy to handle, and easy to carry along with you. With this deck following the RWS tradition so closely, it is easy to use it with the myriad of books dedicated to the RWS deck. Ms. Hanson-Roberts’ playful images also make this both an ideal deck for learning and a non-threatening deck to use in readings. However, the Tarotist looking for a deck full of Qabalistic or esoteric symbolism will be highly disappointed.

Summary of Features
# of Cards: 78
Reversable Backs: Yes
Strength: 8
Justice: 11
Symbol Inspiration: RWS (Rider-Waite-Smith)
Suits: Rods – fire, Swords – air, Cups – water, Pentacles – earth
Size: approx. 10.5 cm x 6.5 cm (approx. 4″ x 2.5″)

Rating: 3.5 – a good beginner’s deck, but a little to cutesy to have wide appeal to very serious Tarotist