the Wild Unknown is THE WORST Tarot Deck EVER

The Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans is a well known and popularized tarot deck available in most any bookstore or metaphysical store globally. Inspiring other avenues of marketing and revenue including art prints, tattoos and more this deck based in the RWS system is considered to be on of the most well known tarot decks in the world! The 78 cards in the Wild Unknown Tarot deck are an art that explores various mysteries of the natural world and animal kingdom.

The Wild Unknown’s production quality is high in terms of the card-stock, packaging and guidebook. With its minimalist style of artwork the images tend to invite contemplation to get a deeper understanding. Kim uses hand-drawn illustrations and is considered to be somewhat of a Marseille-based deck as it entails pip-like minors and the majors with the 8th arcana being Justice and 11 as Strength. The cards interpretations are evident from Rider-Waite Smith thus is deemed “a good beginner deck.” Various pip illustrations in the minors carry important messages and an individual must also rely on numerology and elemental symbolism to interpret them.

Historically, the Wild Unknown began in New York with a famous artist creating seventy-eight card illustrations by drafting a table using ink and watercolor. The deck grew popular for five years as Kim published and sold tarot deck to close friends and fans. Later many people discovered the bridge and now have unknown wild tattoos as the artist has become a muse for other people in the world. The Wild Unknown deck is known to be published by the spirituality division of HarperCollins and having a worldwide distribution.

Kim is a famous artist, author, and creator of the New York Times bestseller that is The Wild Unknown Tarot and has a various publication that includes ABC Dream; Hello scared Life and the Animal Spirit Deck, Kim curates the Wild Unknown, a collective arts offering, artwork, events, and music that are very creative and has the radical transformation to people. Most of her work as been featured in the New York Times, Teen Vogue, Design Sponde, and New York Magazine. Kim stays in Portland, Oregon. Kim is an activist basically for creativity and sharing of information and new ideas as well as works of art. Kim advocates about change and lives it, and spirituality is geared towards Kim’s creative nature of the practice.

The images in the deck tend to be simple, however, it needs the reader to delve into them spending a lot of time with each card and/or looking up meanings in order to understand and interpret. It requires understanding each of the traditional cards images as a beginner, hence taking a lot of time and effort in order to learn it’s meanings.

Let us take a look at some of the cards in the Wild Unknown Tarot to demonstrate the lack of key traditional symbolism in the cards in order to interpret their meaning first we’ll start with:

the Empress & Emperor

For those of you that are familiar with the traditional Rider-Waite Smith imagery the ONLY imagery/symbolism within these cards are the tree within the Empress representing growth and coming into one’s own self, and the Emperor is the hint of red (which looks more like orange to me) being the “dominate” color and symbolizing illumination and a new solution.

I could write a whole article dissecting the symbolism within the traditional RWS imagery within the cards and the fact that only one very small piece is there speaks volumes to the void of meanings one can derive from these cards. Especially when it comes to new learners.

Strength

Which is typically the 8th major arcana card is the 11th in the Wild Unknown Tarot making it Marseille influenced esp. by the pip cards. The colors red are present with the lion itself representing one’s on true will! The flower representing the beauty in every creators soul and the lemniscate representing infinity and equilibrium.

Many of the other symbolism lost and not represented in this card (compared to a traditional RWS deck) have to do with the woman herself, the position and posing of the woman and lion, the lions mouth being open, the woman in relation to the lion, the blue mountains in the background and the yellow sky.

The Wild Unknown Tarot is also one of the most widely produced decks around the world. It seems no matter what book store or metaphysical shop one goes into they will have this deck for sale. It is over saturated in the global market rendering the deck worthless from a collectors standpoint. It is so blindly accepted by all it puts the deck on a pedestal as if it is free from criticism. No matter how many YouTube videos I watched or blogs I read it was few and far between that anyone voiced any concerns over the deck that I could find. Since the deck has been so over-produced it has cheapened the value of the deck despite the higher level of production quality in compassion to other decks. If the Wild Unknown was a restaurant in would be McDonald’s. On every corner, in every major city, selling chemical-induced, unethically harvested food all for a $1.

I am a huge advocate for supporting smaller independent business’ and artists so acquiring the Wild Unknown Tarot would be the worst deck to get in my opinion. I strive to consistently bring content to showcase the plethora of options when it comes to decks to use for diviniatory practices! There are SO many options of beautifully made decks that are still very affordable and of good quality. Choosing to get the Wild Unknown Tarot just seems like a lazy choice made out of a mob-mentality mindset.

Speaking of over-saturated: Jump on Instagram and it seems like every other tarot reader is using and posting about the Wild Uknown. In comparison to other popular tarot decks looking at the number of post tags around this deck are over 37 THOUSAND!!! Looking at other popular decks that are globally popularized the Wild Uknown is still used and tagged more than them all COMBINED!

  • Pagan Otherworlds Tarot 12.9 thousand
  • Light Seer’s Tarot 12.4 thousand
  • Marl El Tarot 7.5 thousand
  • MoonChild Tarot 7.1 thousand

The Aries in me is completely shut off from even attempting to like this deck! “Everyone loves it,” when the art is just decent, nor does it give enough symbolism to new readers, I can’t escape seeing it, whether it’s online or in any shop I go to, everyone has it. It’s just not special. It’s no longer unique or cool to me. And honestly it’s a bit frustrating to feel like “I’m not allowed” to question that or have an opinion otherwise about it! So…..I’m letting this Aries fire burn and I’m speaking my mind!

Conclusion:

The Wild Unknown Tarot is a globally accessible tarot deck readily available most anywhere making it easier for anyone to obtain the deck whereas they may not otherwise have that opportunity with most decks depending on culture, country and government restrictions on shipping or laws. Always seeing this deck for sale everywhere I go personally makes shopping for tarot decks boring! I am a fan of always having options and being able to discover something new or unique and always seeing this deck for sale everywhere I go just gets old.

The production quality of this deck for this price is superior to most decks on the market. Between the packaging to the cards themselves the purchaser is getting a good value for their money spent. From a collector’s standpoint the overproduction of this deck renders the deck worthless.

Due to it’s exposure in social media it not only creates an allure to those new to tarot, but we as humans always want to feel apart of a group and feel accepted. Getting the Wild Uknown Tarot makes one feel apart of a broader community of divination by being able to connect with others. Connecting not only for your love of tarot but over the fact you share a deck you use. This Aries likes to be unique, likes to stand out and be different! By getting this deck is simply conforming to what other’s like and not discovering what I like for myself as an individual.

This deck is marketed in such a way that it is said it is a good deck for a beginner tarot reader. I am a firm believer in choosing a deck with your instincts. It’s in my opinion it doesn’t matter what deck that attracts you to tarot, whether it’s good or bad, one will learn that along the way. The deck is simply a catalyst in order to spark the fire of interest in learning tarot. Although the deck is based in the RWS system the imagery is lacking in many of the key symbolism to derive meaning and messages from the cards especially from a beginners viewpoint! The pip-style minors can be even more confusing making using the book a complete crutch. Part of the beauty of the traditional imagery is there is SO many details, from the art to the symbolism that new readers can pull meanings from the cards and the Wild Unknown is completely void of these.

It’s because of these things that make the Wild Unknown the WORST tarot deck ever! It’s time we elevate decks that are TRULY great decks for newbs and novices alike and their creators! It’s time to saturate the market with options when it comes to tarot decks and show the world we are more than just this one deck!

Do you have or have you worked with the Wild Uknown tarot deck? What are your thoughts and opinions on this deck? Do you think the Wild Uknown is the worst tarot deck, or do you disagree? Why or why not? Comment down below and share with the rest of the Squirrel Nest so we can all learn and grow together!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Barb Dittmar Ward says:

    I do not have this tarot deck but I do have the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck. I like the illustrations on that deck very much but it is rather cumbersome so it’s not my first go to when I want to do an Animal Reading. I’ve seen other readers use the tarot deck and I like it. I find the illustrators use of color and shading quite pleasing to my eyes. I do understand that from a collector’s standpoint, I wouldn’t be a good choice monetarily wise since it’s so common. I find a decks appeal is unique to each reader. If a deck feels good to me and resonates with me, I will use it more often than not.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I disagree. I love The Wild Unknown and I am one of those tattooed people you speak of. I have the Ace of Wands, Strength and the Ace of Swords tattooed on my right shoulder. Don’t forget that it started as in independent deck that was privately published and grew to where it is today. There is something within the cards that speak to me and I go back to this deck again and again. It’s one of my spirit decks. If I had to pick only three decks and walk away from all the rest of the ones I own, The Wild Unknown would be the first one I choose. This deck forces you to think outside the box and be intuitive to find its meaning. The Wild Unknown is a huge part of my spiritual path and will continue to be so. There is a reason that it is so widely loved. I think that has to do with the primal nature of the deck and the spirit that it asks you to embrace. That’s my two (or three!) cents.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t know that’s it’s the worst but I don’t care for the deck’s inherent simplicity. I dislike vague meanings and it’s my opinion that the Wild Unknown allows for a wider net of interpretations as opposed to achieving real and valuable insight. In other words, this deck really allows people to see what they want. Tarot is already set up enough as it is for this kind of criticism, The Wild Unknown deck seems to embrace the simplicity by amplifying tarot’s biggest objection. I’m not a hardcore RSW advocate. I have many decks that possess new layers on older meanings but the Wild Unknown lacks definition. Just seeing the Emperor/Empress cards in this deck irritates me. Call it for what it is: His and Her trees. A dash of pink and a moon for her, a dash of red and a sun for him. Overly simplified gender stereotypes and utterly vague.

    A splash of vibrant color amidst black ink does not impress me. My two cents.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like your impression of these cards better I should have used that instead 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Utterly over-hyped and under-powered as a symbolic deck. The art is competent but not all that compelling. It’s an example of the belief that any 78 images can make a tarot deck (of which there are many theses days – “It’s so easy a caveman could do it!”). At best it might work well when read as an oracle. My daughter is a college-trained illustrator, tattoo artist and budding tarot/Lenormand reader and asked for it so I bought it for her. But I would never use it myself.

    Liked by 1 person

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