Despite the potential problems regarding artificial intelligence, it seems that AI is now unavoidable as we are both surrounded and dependent upon the likes of Alexa, Google, ChatBot GPT, and common features of technology such as facial recognition, text editors, and e-payments. Though I’d like to argue that using AI-based artwork is both lazy and lacking creativity, it’s no huge surprise that we are now leaning upon the latest technology to provide us with pictorial solutions.
Whilst I far prefer hand-drawn, personally painted, and individually designed products especially so when it comes to the likes of the Tarot deck, I was both intrigued and rather interested to explore what AI may have to offer in terms of imagery when I received Deckstiny’s latest decks – the Golden Journey Luxury Edition and the Golden Journey Pocket Tarot.
Based in Thailand, Deckstiny is a team collaboration of Mate Horonumber, Oomsin Phumphat, and a number of other artists and contributors including Midjourney.
Over the past few years Deckstiny, alongside their contributing artists, has designed, developed, and produced a range of modern, cutesy, divination decks, all of which are available to purchase Worldwide via their Etsy shop.
Packaging & Presentation
Both the Golden Journey Luxury and Pocket Edition Tarot decks are packaged in sturdy, cardboard, blue-black coloured cases with thumb slots for easy access. Each deck’s packaging features simple gold lettering and electronic, cosmos-themed designs. The luxury edition of this deck includes gold foil lettering whereas the pocket edition lacks any shimmer or shine.
Deckstiny once packaged their Tarot decks in flimsy slimline tuck boxes, this seems to have changed for all of their decks now as they seem to have upgraded their packaging to sturdier, more stylish options ideal for storing and displaying decks. Whilst I love the sturdier, more robust packaging, I feel that perhaps the pocket edition of this deck should have been made available in either a tin or pouch for a lighter, easier storage solution whilst out and about.
Deckstiny Don’t Do Guidebooks
It is worth noting that Deckstiny does not provide a guidebook with the majority of their divination decks, this includes the Golden Journey Tarot. For beginner/ amateur readers it may, therefore, be worthwhile purchasing a separate guide to the traditional Rider Waite Smith Tarot in order to gain an understanding of the possible spreads, and the individual card meanings.
Whilst the Golden Journey Luxury Edtion is a standard tarot-size deck, the pocket-sized option is obviously far smaller. The Luxury Edition features gold-foil, shimmery, symmetrical card backs with bright, bold detailing whereas the pocket edition does not have the gold-foil finishing nor the same amount of detail, and sadly seems rather dull in tone.
Published in early 2023, the Golden Journey Luxury Edtion Tarot is printed on 330 GSM Art card stock with a matt coating featuring holographic gold both on the front and back of the cards. Edged with holographic 3D gold glitter, the Luxury edition of this deck measures a standard 70 x 120mm.
Published in 2022, the Golden Journey Pocket Tarot measures 57 x 98mm and is printed on 0.35mm black PVC (waterproof) matt card with a linen texture and matt black edging. Though I wasn’t too keen on testing how waterproof this deck was, I would like to suggest that perhaps with the water-resistant cardstock, the pocket edition of this deck is an ideal solution for those wishing to pull Tarot whilst either poolside or on vacation.
Limited Luxuries & Certification
Deckstiny prints a limited number of each of their Tarot decks, certification of precisely which number deck you have received is usually always included on a signed certification card, as well as being printed/stamped on the side of the packaging.
The Luxury Edition Bonus Cards
The Golden Journey Luxury Edition Tarot deck includes several bonus cards including two packaging/ art cards, a certification card, a ‘Fortune Teller’ card, an ‘Anonymous’ card, a ‘Balance’ card, a ‘Spirit Soul Body’ card, a ‘Golden Journey’ card, and as with each and every Deckstiny deck, a Happy Squirrel card, which in this case has been renamed as the ‘Happy AI’ card.
The Pocket Edition Bonus Cards
The Golden Journey Pocket Tarot also includes bonus cards but they differ from those within the luxury edition of this Tarot deck. The Golden Journey Pocket Tarot includes two art/ packaging cards, a certification card, a ‘Fortune Teller’ card, a ‘Blessings of Ganesha’ card, and a ‘Mushakraj the Mouse’ card.
The Golden Journey – An AI-Inspired Concept
The Golden Journey Tarot is based upon the traditional Rider Waite Smith Tarot and thus follows the same suits, titling, and set up as the traditional deck. Whilst the titling and arrangement of the deck may be traditional (following the traditional suits of wands, cups, swords, and pentacles, along with the titling of the court cards), the imagery and concepts within this deck are far removed from the traditional figures and layout of the RWS Tarot.
I was rather intrigued by the idea of AI-inspired imagery for a Tarot deck and whilst I cringe at the removal of personal creativity, I can appreciate the dark, dreamy, ethereal illustrations and landscapes that AI has apparently selected.
The Luxury Edition Major Arcana Cards
The Golden Journey Luxury Edition Tarot also includes an additional ‘Fool’ card (labeled and numbered as 22) so readers can choose to swap and switch between the Fool cards within their deck.
As you can see from the images above, the major arcana of this deck are rather dark, dreamy, and surreal in style. Finished with the glorious, golden-foil stamping, the luxury edition of this deck is shimmery and stylish providing a peculiar, pretty, but different deck.
The Pocket Edition Major Arcana Cards
Whilst the luxury edition features golden-foil, shimmery stamping, the pocket edition lacks this and the printing seems far duller, darker, and dreary.
The Luxury Edition Minor Arcana Cards
The golden-foil stamping continues throughout the minor arcana cards within the Golden Journey Luxury Edition Tarot deck, though without the shiny, shimmery, golden titling, labeling, and details the deck feels rather dark in places.
The Suit of Wands
The Suit of Cups
The Suit of Swords
The Suit of Pentacles
The Pocket Edition Minor Arcana Cards
Though the imagery within the luxury and pocket editions of the Golden Journey Tarot is identical, the printing quality, tone, and finish are miles apart. Sadly, the pocket edition of the Golden Journey Tarot lacks any shimmer, shine, or saturation and thus feels rather dark and drab as it lacks definition.
The Suit of Wands
The Suit of Cups
The Suit of Swords
The Suit of Pentacles
Delving Deeper Into The Cards
In order to further illustrate and explain the Golden Journey Luxury & Pocket Edition Tarot sets, I have put together a detailed walkthrough and comparison of each deck.
Reading & Working With The Golden Journey Tarot
I’ve spent the past week working with both the Golden Journey Luxury Edition and Pocket Tarot and have personally found the luxury edition a far more appealing option when it comes to carrying out readings.
The pocket edition of this deck is waterproof thus ideal for travel purposes and is super smooth to shuffle with its silky matt finish. The luxury edition of the Golden Journey Tarot is however far superior in quality and appearance due to its brighter, bolder, more distinguished printing and glorious golden-foil finishing.
Though I was a little skeptical at the idea of using AI-inspired imagery, I can appreciate why and where AI can provide both useful and in this case, different solutions. I’m not entirely sure Tarot decks should be AI-inspired as I found some images rather difficult to relate to. I have however found reading and working with the Golden Journey Tarot a unique experience.
Whilst shuffling through these decks, I often found myself looking closer at the imagery and wondering exactly what Deckstiny had typed into their AI to acquire the images printed. It’s certainly a deck with a difference!
Purchasing & Pricing Information
Both the Golden Journey Tarot Luxury and Pocket Editions are available to purchase directly from Deckstiny via their Etsy online store. The Golden Journey Luxury Edition Tarot currently retails (as of April 2023) at £75.06, whereas the Golden Journey Pocket Tarot retails at £58.85.
As Deckstiny is based in Thailand, it is worth noting that postage and packaging are usually quite expensive (Deckstiny is currently quoting a postage fee of £20.29 for postage to the UK) thus it’s well worth considering purchasing in bundles/ bulk to save on overall costs.
Whilst I’m all for using artificial intelligence to improve our quality of living, I’m still slightly wary of introducing AI into the Arts as I’m not entirely sure whether it’s necessarily needed or required. I’d hate to imagine that technology will one day swipe away our sparks of creativity leaving us void of vision.
The Golden Journey Tarot is a stylish, surreal, and rather dreamy deck, I’m not sure whether it’s to my taste. Whilst I rather like the gold, shimmery-style detailing on the luxury edition of this deck, I felt somewhat uneasy reading and working with AI-based imagery to interpret the future…
Though I love that the pocket edition of the Golden Journey Tarot is waterproof thus an ideal deck to take on my travels, I wasn’t too keen on the dull printing and thus was somewhat disappointed when comparing it to the luxury edition.
Overall, I found reviewing, reading, and working with the Golden Journey Tarot a unique and eye-opening experience. For now, however, I think I’ll stick to the likes of Alexa when it comes to AI as I personally feel invoking imagery is perhaps a step too far into the future.
For further information on the Golden Journey Tarot or alternative Deckstiny publications visit www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ShuffleTarot
Disclosure: I was sent the above product for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.