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BOTA Tarot Decks

The Magician tarot card
The Magican

Two pip cards
Minor Arcana

The B.O.T.A. (Builders of the Adytum) puts out tarot decks, all of them with the same artwork, but in two different sizes (and several different languages).   The 22 Major Arcana cards are available in regular size or in a "huge" size (7"x4").   The full 78-card deck is available only in regular (playing card) size.   All of their decks are moderately priced.   What's special about their decks?

      1.   The artwork is VERY similar to Rider-Waite, but just different enough to make it interesting.   And Death is a skeleton with a scythe rather than the robed figure on the white horse.

      2.   They are printed without colors ("All decks are black and white only," as they put it) ... it's line drawings on a white background.   BOTA encourages you to color your own deck; in fact, their catalog includes a set of water colors that you can buy just for that purpose.

Their regular 78-card deck, which sells for $8.50, is shipped in plastic shrink-wrap; there's no box. The cards are printed on heavy pressboard stock, and it is impossible to shuffle them in the usual way because (1) they're so heavy and stiff and (2) they don't have any plastic coating.

The Minor Arcana don't have illustrations, except on the Court cards; the illustration for the Six of Cups is, well, six cups.

There are a few extra "insert" cards: (1) an illustration of the Qabalistic tree of life;   (2) a card entitled "The Pattern on the Trestleboard" that contains 11 statements (numbered 0 through 10).   Statement #8 is "I look forward with confidence to the perfect realization of the Eternal Splendor of the Limitless Light";   (3) a yellow card that reads "MAN KNOW THYSELF   —   TAROT   —   A Key to the Riddle of THE UNIVERSE   —   A Key to the Mystery of KNOW YOUR OWN SELF [etc.]"

The BOTA's publicity material is littered with terms like "spiritual aspirants," "enlightened worship," "mystical-esoterical meditation practices," and "vibratory attunements."   In other words ... word salad.