I have been eyeing the Pagan Tarot since it first came out. For starters, the deck was designed by Rev. Gina Pace aka Wicce, who is a tarot superstar in her own right. (Check out her website.) Also, although the colors in the cards are somewhat washed out, the images themselves are intriguing and even better, new. What Wicce and the artist have done is to take the core tarot concepts and give them a new face with updated images. This is a rare accomplishment for a tarot deck. While many have tried to reach this height, many have failed.
The deck depicts the life of a modern-day Wiccan woman. The images are not shy about showing modern technology and life situations, such as working in an office. In fact, a larger theme throughout the deck is the mixing of magical and "mundane" lifestyles. The Temperance card is a perfect example of this. It shows a woman at her desk at work, but the desk also has a mini-altar on it. She is successfully experiencing her spirituality in everyday life. Most modern pagans can appreciate and identify with such a situation. Another card I love is the 3 of Swords, in which our heroine is sitting on the floor in front of her couch watching TV. The heart with 3 swords in it hovers above her head. I get the sense that her personal heartbreak is only being intensified by it being refelcted back to her on the TV screen. I think that this really accentuates the mental reflection aspect of the 3 of Swords very well. Many other decks miss that nuance. Upon my initial look-through of the deck, some of the images drew a question mark, but most of the time, a closer examination of the picture was all that was needed to understand the meaning.
One thing I was concerned about when reading reviews of the deck was the change in the court cards. The deck creator replaced the Page, Knight, Queen and King with Elemental, Novice, Initiate and Elder respectively. The good news is that most of my concerns about this change were alleviated. Instead of the Page/Princess, the Elemental is exactly that. There is a gnome for earth, a sylph for air, etc. While I do find that using Elemental makes me think more of the role and function of the Ace, it can also work as a Page. I personally do not feel that an elemental covers the full range of meanings that can be attributed to the Page, but it's a change that I can get used to. Also, I don't really feel like Novice gives the same energetic feeling as a Knight, but as I said with the Elemental, it doesn't offend my inner tarot purist too much.
It might be thought that depicting modern situations as this deck does would rob the tarot of its sense of mystery, but I have not found that to be the case. Despite (and perhaps because of) the modern clothes and situations, this deck packs an emotional punch, which, to me, is what tarot is really about. The cards do show magic, but what we see is a woman actually performing magical acts. The magic is not tied up in esoteric symbols. If all the esoterica is what does it for you, then you might want to overlook this one. For pagans who are looking for a deck that accurately mirrors their life experiences, this deck is a real winner.
Copyright K. Mayberry. Not to be used without permission.
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