The Archeo Deck by Nick Bantock: A Review
To say that I’m a huge Nick Bantock fan is an understatement. Since Griffin & Sabine first came out in 1991, I have been in awe of him. His paintings, drawings, and collages, as well as his books, have always moved me. His latest creation, a deck of cards entitled, The Archeo: Understanding and Developing your Archetypes, is no exception. As I commented on his Instagram account about the deck, it’s a beautiful deck that has touched the deepest recesses of my soul.
First, let’s start with some information about the deck that I learned on his IG. Nick says, “The Archeo took me 15 years to fully conceive and two years creating the art and writing the accompanying book”. After reviewing his entire body of work so far, you would think creating this deck would be a walk in the park for such a gifted artist. So it was inspiring to read that even the most gifted and successful among us struggle with creating new bodies of work. And this deck is a true work of art.
What the Archeo is and isn’t (IMHO)
This deck is not like any I have in my arsenal. It’s not an oracle deck, or a tarot deck. It’s a teaching tool, and a way for you to study yourself on a deep level. The author himself says, “Hopefully it proves to be the tool of self-understanding that I was aiming for”. I think he has succeeded. Maybe it’s because I majored in psychology in college, and Carl Jung was the only psychologist that really resonated with me, but this deck spoke to me.
The only way to explain the feeling I had when I first saw the deck is with a quick story. When my grandma passed away, I finally was able to open the secret locked forbidden drawer in her room. What I found in it, mainly letters and old photos, made me understand her wholly and completely as a person. It was like the first real dawn after several days of rain. I felt that same sense of wonder and spiritual download when I opened the box set and saw what it contained within. Just flipping through the cards brought about a deeper understanding of myself. This is a philosopher’s deck, a thinking person’s deck, and a journey you can’t just skip through. This is not a deck you can take lightly, because it introduces itself and asks for a dance. It will take you to places within that you have never seen before if you let it. And I suggest you let it. The art, the words, and the flow of the cards is so intentioned, that it begs you to go on an adventure into yourself.
My First Archeo Experience
For my first experience with the Archeo deck, I used the Short Spread that the author suggests in the book. I placed nine cards down thinking about what I needed to focus on this week. My cards were the poet, the alchemist, the jester, the survivor, the greenman, the healer, the fatalist, the awakener, and the shadowdiver. Glean what you will from the spread, but my take on it is to keep on my path but take better care of my home and myself this week.
The beautiful thing is that there is no right or wrong answer. The explanation of the cards, and the short stories Mr. Bantock has written for each card, are just a jumping off point. They are thought-provokers, encouraging you to come up with your own meanings. You may look at this spread and come up with a completely different hot take on what I should focus on this week. There’s a real beauty in that. And there are no bad or good cards. They are all just stepping stones to deeper understanding. This deck offers the freedom to grow at your own pace using the cards as a guide.
Reading for Others
I would primarily use The Archeo for myself. This is a self-development tool, particularly if you’re starting to dig deeper into your shadow and trauma work. It’s powerful, but gentle, in its approach to deep diving into your psyche.
To read for others, I personally would need to read the book in the box set a few more times, and brush up on my Jungian Psychology and the Archetypes. Like I said, this is a thinking person’s deck! But also, more than any other tarot or oracle deck, Archeo begs you to be an unprejudiced observer. You may know the person you are reading for, but do you know their conscious and subconscious mind? Probably not. So I would recommend using this deck when you read for people, but check your own ego at the door.
Let the information from the cards come through you, not from you. And let the person you’re reading for speak and own their interpretations of each card and the spread as a whole. You’re a facilitator and a spectator, nothing more. This is true for all readings and all decks, but that’s a different article. As you will find from your first shuffle through this deck, you’ll feel something else is at play and you’ll want to pay attention. For now, I’m using the deck for my Card of the Day readings and I’m loving the addition. I think you will too.
The Archeo can be found on Amazon and at other fine retailers.