Illuminated Tarot Deck Guide

The Illuminated Tarot Deck Guide: Illuminating the Divine

The Illuminated Tarot Deck is a wonderfully colorful 53-card deck that illuminates the answers you seek. The definition of illuminate is to shine a light on something to make it more visible. Tarot decks are used to find answers to complicated questions and guidance before an uncertain venture.

Although traditional decks like the Hermetic Tarot Deck are based on secret societies, this one has nothing to do with the old Bavarian Illuminati. It’s a serious deck beautifully designed by a seasoned tarot reader. It’s newer than the Rider Waite-Smith Deck but has divine possibilities if you know how to use it.

This deck is about modern reading and divination. Don’t worry; you won’t need to know the laws of secret societies or partake in strange rituals. However, it’s a complicated deck due to the limited number of cards, making it a better choice for seasoned readers. Intuition plays a role, but patience is required.

This Illuminated Tarot Deck Guide will share my experience with the cards, differences, and the many opportunities of this beautiful deck.

Illuminated Beginnings

Creator Caitlin Keegan is the woman who shone a light on this beautiful deck in 2017. It was published by Clarkson Potter and came with a simple guidebook for readers to follow their intuition. The same publisher and creator also released Keegan’s Illuminated Playing Cards in 2019.

Keegan was intrigued by tarot cards since she was a teenager. Her mother used Morgan’s Tarot Cards, a simple but modern take on divination and solutions. Keegan’s artistic mind was deeply fascinated by the beautiful illustrations of tarot cards as she expanded her experience with numerous decks.

Keegan also became curious about the varying interpretations, card archetypes, and symbolism hidden within tarot decks. She saw each card’s deeper, universal meanings and how they moved from the beginning to the end through the middle of a story.

Keegan’s main takeaway as an artist and avid tarot reader was that her intuition allowed her to follow the fine details and symbols found in each card. Her story is one reason I love the deck. She created a deck that allows for personalized illumination and divination.

Oracle Versus Tarot

The Illuminated Tarot Deck has 53 cards, making it an oracle deck, which isn’t the same as a tarot deck. Both decks are used for perspective, personal growth, inspiration, spiritual guidance, insight, clarity, divination, and motivation; however, an oracle deck is more complicated.

Tarot decks have 78 cards, allowing detailed guidance from archetypes in specific scenarios, whereas oracle decks have combined archetypes, making it harder to prioritize archetypes. Tarot deck archetypes have straightforward interpretations, but oracle cards can mean multiple things.

Oracle decks are best used in self-reflection or self-readings. They rely heavily on intuition because fewer rules are guiding the cards. A new reader might be confused by flipping a card that represents two archetypes. Although Keegan is careful to use numerology to combine archetypes, it’s still confusing.

I’ll admit that Keegan’s deck is less complicated than oracle decks containing fan-fiction and self-care cues. She uses numerology to determine which Major and Minor Arcana archetypes correspond. She bases her combinations on strict universal numerical laws, similarly used to create mathematical astrology.

I don’t often use oracle decks, but the Illuminated Tarot Deck is one I can use as a seasoned reader. The interpretations are vast, but I use my intuition to interpret the cards. Once you bond with the deck and feel the connection to each card, you’ll be interpreting them with greater ease.

Interesting Facts/Differences

The Illuminated Tarot Deck looks like a regular deck of playing cards. The Fool is depicted as a joker, being the 53rd card. The Fool is just as powerful as he is in traditional tarot decks, always moving between archetypes and influencing the entire spread.

There are major differences between the Illuminated Deck and other decks like the Rider Waite-Smith and Spiritsong Deck. You can better interpret the cards and spreads once you know the differences.

1. Missing Knights

The Illuminated Deck has no knights traditionally found in the courts of other decks. The knights are part of the royal four in each suite of a traditional deck. They serve the kings and queens in suits, and they announce revelations, actions, and news. They have powerful energy around them, but they’re missing in this deck.

2. Altered Pages

Pages are another part of the four traditional royal figures in other decks. They represent messengers, curiosity, and a gateway to the court cards of each suite. The pages are still in the Illuminated Deck, but they’ve been recreated as Jacks, inspired by regular playing cards.

3. Major Arcana

The Major Arcana appears to be missing in the Illuminated Deck, but they’re still hiding among the cards. Keegan combined them with Minor Arcana cards that corresponded to the same numerological interpretations. She also used her years of experience and intuition to guide her correspondences.

4. Suites

The Illuminated Deck has different suites, which some modern decks are experimenting with anyway. Not all decks use the traditional pentacles, wands, cups, and swords. Keegan’s deck flipped the suits into what looks like playing cards.

  • Swords become spades
  • Cups become hearts
  • Wands become clubs
  • Coins/pentacles become diamonds

5. Unfriendly Reversals

Tarot cards are traditionally interpreted in upright and reversed positions, but the court cards of the Illuminated Deck turn this into a challenge due to them resembling jacks, queens, and kings from playing cards. The court cards are reflectively reversed in design, no matter which way they come up. Reversed reading is challenging.

6. Broad Interpretations

Again, I can use my intuition to read the deck as a seasoned reader, but the broad interpretations of combined archetypes can be challenging for new readers. You can interpret 21 cards in three ways because of the double archetype symbolism.

Bonus Tip for Beginners

You can learn to better interpret tarot cards by taking a short course at the Tarot Summer School. I highly recommend them for anyone wishing to expand their practice with astrology, deeper interpretations, and intuitive reading. The courses are also affordable at $32 each.

7. Double Meanings

The Illuminated Tarot Deck has 21 cards with double interpretations. The pip cards contain hidden symbolism and archetypes from the Major Arcana found in other decks. Therefore, you’ll need to consider both interpretations for Minor and Major Arcana archetypes with each flip.

Quick Interpretive Guidance

Interpreting the combined cards doesn’t need to be rocket science if you have a guide. Remember that intuition directs your personal interpretations, as was intended by Keegan, but I’ll share the combined archetypes with you for clarity.

The Magician – King of Clubs

The Magician card represents transformation, creation, magic, and manifestation in the upright position. The reversed position means trickery, deception, and manipulation.

The King of Clubs card represents wisdom, status, responsibility, and optimism in an upright position. The reversed position means authority, dominance, command, and control. It additionally represents a male figure in your life in both positions.

Seeing it upright might mean you need to take command of an opportunity to manifest what you want. It could also mean you need to be careful of the deception portrayed by a male figure in your life if the card is reversed.

Use the keywords, even those in the guidebook, to interpret what your intuitions tell you about your situation. Remember that your intentions before spreading the cards influence the lineup. If you intend to know about a man in your life, the reversed position could be warning you against him.

The High Priestess – Two of Diamonds

The High Priestess card represents intuition, personal growth, sensuality, mystery, secrets, and psychic energy in the upright position. The reversed position means doubt, withdrawal, and disconnection.

The Two of Diamonds card represents adaptation, prioritization, and time management in an upright position. The reversed position means an internal struggle, mental block, too much commitment, and disorganization.

Seeing it upright might mean you should adapt to the situation to unlock the mysteries of your psychic energy. A reversed position could mean you need to stop doubting yourself as it creates the mental block that stops you from doing what needs to be done.

The Empress – Queen of Hearts

The Empress card represents abundance, creativity, love, fertility, divinity, and femininity in an upright position. The reversed position means overindulgence, insecurity, stunted growth, and smothered.

The Queen of Hearts card represents support, deeper relationships, compassion, sharing, and generosity in an upright position. The reversed position means clinginess, over-expenditure, emotional exhaustion, and self-neglect.

Seeing it upright could mean you need to be compassionate with your partner to deepen your bond. Seeing it reversed could mean you need to stop spending too much money to avoid stunted financial growth.

The Emperor – King of Spades

The Emperor card represents a father figure, boundaries, leadership, authority, respect, and discipline in an upright position. The reversed position means guidance, trust, stability, and groundedness.

The King of Spades card represents intellectual power, truth, and mental clarity in an upright position. The reversed position means inner truth, manipulation, and an abuse of power.

Seeing it upright might mean you should trust the father figure you have in mind. Seeing it reversed might mean you need to ground yourself and listen carefully to avoid being manipulated by a man in your life.

The Hierophant – Five of Diamonds

The Hierophant card represents knowledge, wisdom, intuition, convention, marriage, and spiritual wisdom in an upright position. The reversed position means rebellion, unconventional, poor leadership, and challenging conformity.

The Five of Diamonds card represents poverty, isolation, anxiety, loss of income, and a failing mindset in an upright position. The reversed position means spiritual poverty and recovery from a financial loss.

Seeing it upright might mean you need to seek knowledge before falling prey to financial loss. Seeing it reversed might mean you need to be a little rebellious to overcome a challenge.

The Lovers – Six of Hearts

The Lovers card represents transparency, clarity of mind, communication, love, harmony, compassion, relationships, and knowing the facts before making decisions in an upright position. The reversed position means choices, respect, soulmate, divinity, and clearer communication are needed.

The Six of Hearts card represents joy, innocence, and memories in an upright position. The reversed position means forgiveness and an inability to let go of the past.

Seeing it upright might tell you to enjoy the moments of your relationship and be transparent. Seeing it reversed might mean you should communicate better or forgive your partner.

The Chariot – Seven of Spades

The Chariot card represents determination, willpower, success, action, and control in an upright position. The reversed position means opposition, self-discipline, and a lack of direction.

The Seven of Spades card represents behaving strategically, betrayal, and deception in an upright position. The reversed position means keeping secrets, imposter syndrome, and self-deceit.

Seeing it upright might mean you must behave strategically to succeed. Seeing it reversed might tell you to be your true self to find the right direction.

Strength – Ace of Clubs

The Strength card represents confidence, attracting lovers, courage, self-value, boldness, and wise spending. The reverse position means co-dependency, insecurity, submissiveness, unbalanced, lack of self-esteem, impulsivity, and compulsive spending.

The Ace of Clubs card represents growth, potential, inspiration, and opportunities in an upright position. The reversed position means a lack of direction, delays, roadblocks, and distractions.

Seeing it upright might mean you should take an opportunity to attract someone of romantic interest. Seeing it reversed might mean you should overcome your insecurities to pass an obstacle.

The Hermit – Nine of Diamonds

The Hermit card represents introspection, soul-searching, and inner guidance in an upright position. The reversed position means isolation, withdrawal, and loneliness.

The Nine of Diamonds card represents luxury, abundance, independence, and self-sufficiency in an upright position. The reversed position means hustling, self-worth, and too much investment in work.

Seeing it upright might mean you need to allow your intuitions to guide you to abundance. Seeing it reversed might mean you should stop working so hard, or you’ll be alone.

Wheel of Fortune – Ten of Hearts

The Wheel of Fortune card represents change, karma, turning point, fate, and intuition in an upright position. The reversed position means challenges, setbacks, lost control, and bad luck.

The Ten of Hearts card represents blissful relationships, alignment, harmony, and divine love in an upright position. The reversed position means struggling relationships, disconnection, and misaligned values.

Seeing it upright might mean you need to change something in your relationship to make it flourish. Seeing it reversed might mean you should be careful of misaligned values creating a setback.

The Hanged Man – Two of Spades

The Hanged Man card represents surrender, sacrifice, letting go, pausing, and changing perspectives in an upright position. The reversed position means resistance, indecision, and delays.

The Two of Spades card represents weighing options, impasse, difficult choices, and avoidance in an upright position. The reversed position means confusion, stalemate, and indecision.

Seeing it upright might be telling you to let go of your perspective to avoid an impasse. Seeing it reversed could mean you should delay your decisions to avoid confusion.

Justice – Eight of Spades

The Justice card represents balance, fairness, change, law, truth, consequences, integrity, and perception. The reversed position means unfairness, dishonesty, imbalance, avoidance, and corruption.

The Eight of Spades card represents pessimism, imprisonment, self-limits, and victim mentality. The reversed position means inner critic, releasing negative beliefs, seeing new perspectives.

Seeing it upright might mean you should remember the consequences of adopting a victim mentality. Seeing it reversed might mean you should release negative thoughts before they corrupt your mind.

Death – Four of Spades

The Death card represents change, rebirth, transformation, renewal, and transition in an upright position. The reversed position means resistance, stubbornness, fear, and self-limiting behaviors.

The Four of Spades card represents relaxation, contemplation, reflection, and rest in an upright position. The reversed position means exhaustion, stagnation, and burnout.

Seeing it upright might mean you must contemplate a situation peacefully to transform your outcome. Seeing it reversed might tell you to stop being stubborn to try something new, or you’ll burn yourself out.

Temperance – Two of Hearts

The Temperance card represents perspective, tranquility, patience, moderation, and balance in an upright position. The reversed position means unfairness, imbalance, overindulgence, and risky behavior.

The Two of Hearts card represents a partnership, unified love, and mutuality in an upright position. The reversed position means distrust, lost love, and disharmony.

Seeing it upright might mean you should see your partner’s perspective to create an equal partnership. Seeing it reversed could mean you should stop risky behavior before you lose your partner.

The Devil – Five of Clubs

The Devil card represents attachment, addiction, sexuality, restriction, and the shadow self in an upright position. The reversed position means detachment, exploring the shadow self, and releasing self-limiting beliefs.

The Five of Clubs card represents conflict, competition, diversity, tension, and disagreements in an upright position. The reversed position means avoidance, inner conflict, and tension release.

Seeing it upright might mean you should avoid addictive behaviors to prevent conflict. Seeing it reversed advises you to resolve your inner conflict by allowing yourself to embrace your shadow side.

The Tower – Six of Clubs

The Tower card represents destruction, change, chaos, trauma, revelation, and awakening in an upright position. The reversed position means fear of change, avoidance, and clinging to a past life.

The Six of Clubs card represents progress, self-confidence, success, and recognition in an upright position. The reversed position means a fall from grace, egotism, or a personally recognized achievement.

Seeing it upright might tell you to be confident in yourself before chaos overwhelms you. Seeing it reversed might warn you to stop fearing a change, or you might fall from grace.

The Star – Seven of Diamonds

The Star card represents faith, purpose, spirituality, and hope in an upright position. The reversed position means despair, disconnection, and lost faith.

The Seven of Diamonds card represents sustainable, long-term, investment, and perseverance in an upright position. The reversed position means short-term and limited.

Seeing it upright might tell you to follow a purpose to sustain long-term results. Seeing it reversed might encourage you to overcome your despair because the situation is short-term.

The Moon – Eight of Hearts

The Moon card represents fear, subconscious, intuition, and illusion in an upright position. The reversed position means repressed emotions, internal confusion, and the release of fear.

The Eight of Hearts card represents abandonment, escapism, disappointment, and withdrawal in an upright position. The reversed position means the last chance, indecision, walking away, and drifting.

Seeing it upright might mean your fears are causing your escapism. Seeing it reversed might advise you to release your fear for a final attempt or walk away.

The Sun – Nine of Clubs

The Sun card represents joy, freedom, success, happiness, and good health in an upright position. The reversed position means pessimism, a lack of enthusiasm, and depressed feelings.

The Nine of Clubs card represents courage, persistence, boundaries, and resilience in an upright position. The reversed position means paranoia, overwhelmed, inner struggle, and defensiveness.

Seeing it upright might mean you should persist long enough to succeed. Seeing it reversed might mean you should take note of your emotional state.

Judgment – Ten of Spades

The Judgment card represents rebirth, absolution, and judgment in an upright position. The reversed position means inner critic, self-doubt, and ignoring your call or purpose.

The Ten of Spades card represents betrayal, crisis, painful endings, and loss in an upright position. The reversed position means resistance, regeneration, and recovery.

Seeing it upright might mean you’ll experience a betrayal before you’re reborn. Seeing it reversed might mean you need to stop resisting a change, or recovery can’t manifest.

The World – Ace of Diamonds

The World card represents completion, wholeness, fulfillment, achievement, travel, and success in an upright position. The reversed position means stagnation, burden, detours, and a lack of closure.

The Ace of Diamonds card represents abundance, opportunities, and manifestation in an upright position. The reversed position means lost opportunities and missed foresight or planning.

Seeing it upright might encourage you to grab an opportunity by the horns to achieve what you desire. Seeing it reversed might warn you to stop procrastinating before you miss an opportunity.

Impressions and Experience

The changes to the deck allow seasoned readers to interpret the cards with numerous meanings behind each symbol and archetype. It’s a great deck for non-beginners. The illustrations are also gorgeous, and they’re detailed enough to spot the symbols hidden in each card.

The deck left me with a good impression and experience. Knowing each card’s keywords, if they were separate, is how I interpret the spreads. I’ve given simple and intuitive interpretations for each flip in both positions for once you learn how to recognize the upright and reversed position of the court cards.

Then again, I love a challenge, and it’s still a little complicated for me to interpret the cards correctly. Sometimes, we interpret them wrong, but the challenge makes it fun. My overall impression is good, but there are some pros and cons.

Pros:

  • It’s a great deck with detailed illustrations for elaborate interpretations.
  • The price isn’t bad, at only $15.61.
  • The cards can be used as playing cards.
  • It’s an oracle deck that allows you to do full tarot spreads with combined archetypes.
  • The guidebook is simple enough to follow your intuition.
  • The cards are colorful and grab your attention, which is good for tarot readings.
  • The deck works well in most spreads.
  • The cards are of good quality, allowing for easy shuffling.
  • You can order a new guidebook without the deck on Keegan’s website.
  • You can also order a matching dream or daily use journal from the website.

Cons:

  • The deck won’t work well for beginners.
  • The combined archetypes can lead to confused and incorrect interpretations.
  • The court or royal cards aren’t sorted traditionally, and the missing knights can change the readings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is the Illuminated Tarot Deck Good for Beginners?

Answer: No, the deck is too complicated with the combined archetypes for beginners to interpret the messages correctly. Divination is best achieved when you can interpret the spreads easily. Otherwise, you can purchase the deck to experiment with until you have a greater knowledge of interpretations.

Question: What is the Illuminated Dynamic In Tarot Decks?

Answer: Again, it’s not from the Illuminati. I promise! The illuminated effect in this deck is added by the starburst illustrations on the top of each card. These starbursts represent hope and universal energy, intended to help you find the answers you seek. Remember that illumination is about making things visible.

Question: Does the Illuminated Tarot Deck Relate to Astrology?

Answer: Serious tarot decks like Rider Waite-Smith and the Hermetic Deck use astrology to reinforce divination results. The Illuminated Tarot Deck was designed using numerology. Still, you can use it to interpret the cards further if you consider your zodiac sign and its relation to the Major Arcana archetypes.

Sure, adding the astrological factor to this deck becomes even more challenging, but use the archetype combination cards above to determine which zodiac sign relates to which card. The zodiac signs correspond to Major Arcana archetypes like this:

Aries is the Emperor and the Tower
Taurus is the Hierophant
Gemini is the Lovers and the Magician
Cancer is the Chariot and the High Priestess
Leo is Strength and the Sun
Virgo is the Hermit
Libra is Justice and the Empress
Scorpio is Death
Sagittarius is Temperance
Capricorn is the Devil and the World
Aquarius is the Star and the Fool
Pisces is the Moon and the High Priestess

The Illuminated Tarot Deck Guide: Final Thoughts

The Illuminated Deck receives a lot of criticism due to its unique differences, but it’s an amazing deck for personal use by a seasoned reader. I don’t use it daily due to the complicated layering of interpretations, but I’m slowly familiarizing myself with the shining light divination.

Whether you want to spread the cards for quick answers, a directional hint from your spiritual guides, or you want inspiration before making a life-changing decision; this deck can do it all once you learn how to interpret it. If you don’t have the deck yet, get yourself one to expand your tarot reading and divination abilities.

Read more:

The Most Interesting Anime Tarot Card Decks Available – Tarot Technique

Horseshoe Tarot Spread Explained: How to Read the Horseshoe Spread – Tarot Technique

Full Moon Tarot Spread Explained: What is a Full Moon Tarot Spread? – Tarot Technique

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