Deck Review: The Sirian Starseed Tarot by Patricia Cori, illustrated by Alysa Bartha

The Sirian Starseed Tarot by Patricia Cori

Copyright: All images © 2012 Patricia Cori and Alysa Bartha; All article rights © 2012 Sandie Worthy

When I was approached about reviewing this deck, my first impulse was to say Yes, I’d love to!  Why wouldn’t I?  I had read of the Sirian Mysteries, Starchildren, Indigos and Crystals and I was sufficiently intrigued to want to know more.  I began to read what the other reviewers had written about this new and mysterious deck.

They wrote, variously, of cards leaping, energetic pulses and an overwhelming feeling of love.  Such descriptions are de rigeur among writers of esoteric review, and I withheld judgement until I was able to experience the deck for myself.

When Patricia Cori, a leading new-age author, felt compelled to translate her vision into a tarot deck, she approached talented  metaphysical artist, Alysa Bartha.  The result of that co-creation can only be described as stunning.

The set comes in a very sturdy box, which will keep it secure for many years to come.  I was impressed by this, as so many kits are spoiled by their flimsy cases.  As a teacher, I prefer to keep my decks in their original boxes, so that my students can easily recognise the cards within.

The pocket-sized book says everything – in about 80 pages – that it needs to say,  without becoming verbose.  I love it – there’s enough to satisfy even inexperienced readers and still leave plenty of scope for the imagination to take flight.

Measuring a generous 4” x 6” and of substantial weight, the cards have a glossy finish which allows you to fully appreciate the stunning artwork.  Despite the size, I found that the cards rested comfortably in my small hands and, after a little while I was able to shuffle them quite easily.   And to be honest, I wouldn’t want to give up any of that extra space, this artwork demands a large canvas.

Although Patricia wanted to honour the rich heritage of tradition within the tarot, she also wanted to bring a fresh perspective to its ancient wisdom.

The deck retains its standard 78 cards,  comprising the Major Arcana with 22 cards and four suits of 14 cards apiece, but with some differences.  The Majors are quite easily recognisable, despite some name changes.  The suits have been renamed as Orbs, Flames, Chalices and Crystals.

It is the court cards that have undergone the greatest transformation.  Patricia wanted to encourage a more intuitive response to these character cards, which after all, confuse and confound the most experienced among us.

She deals with this by dispensing with the feudal structure of the court hierarchy and referring to them as People Keys, renaming them Seeker, Adept, Sage and Master.  In the companion book she reminds us of their nature.  They are personality traits, experiences, awakenings, indicators, situations and characters that influence our lives and spiritual progress.

Instead of defining each of the 16 personalities, she explains each of those four roles in general and asks us to consider their attributes in relation to the essence of their suits.

The 78 cards of this deck are beautiful, surprising, occasionally disturbing, at times confusing and always challenging.

Indigo bears the number 1, usually depicted by the Magician.  What magic and deep awareness lies within his eyes?  What gift does he hold forth?

The Higher Self, the second card of the Major Arcana, is usually called High Priestess.  She emerges from the water bearing a scroll.  Behind two darkened pillars, we see a multi-coloured universe filled with stars.

Seeker of Orbs attempts to gain control over her own thoughts, which manifest in a glowing orb of green light.  Around her is darkness, but she is quite focused upon the light of her own knowledge.

Look how she has grown and learned from the dull leaden thoughts that surrounded her in the 9 of Orbs.

The Shadow – a spider’s web is all that stands between the two figures and their own freedom, a gossamer threaded web, spun perhaps from the ego’s selfish desires and fears.  How much more expressive is this than the usual depiction of the Devil?  For aren’t we all, at some time, bound by our own doubts and obsessions?

Six of Crystals, in which a beautiful young woman sits upon one side of the balance.  Her white robes express purity, as she offers a perfect pink rose to an outstretched pair of hands.  Do you understand the nature of her gift?  Can you perceive the harmony within the balance of this image?

Five of Orbs.  You will not like this card.  It has a quiet brutality that goes beyond reasoned thought.  It is the faceless thief of power.  This image is disturbingly honest; I have never seen this archetype expressed so accurately, nor have I ever understood it so well.

The real power of this deck is its ability to bring about an intuitive response in the reader.  Read the book, of course, for it contains a wealth of information.

But all knowledge must be tested with understanding.  All lessons must be absorbed, evolved, tried, tasted, tempered with one’s own experiences, compassion and awareness.  Thus is wisdom born and shared.

I cannot do this deck justice in a nine hundred word review.  For the student of the tarot, it offers a unique and fresh perspective upon the ancient wisdom of our art.  For the seeker, it is another step upon the path.  Gaze into and beyond the images, for who knows what wonders lie within this beautiful tarot.  This is more than a tarot, it is a tool for awakening the sleeping Starseed within us all.  Enjoy the journey!

Mitakuye Oyasin – We Are All Related

Freespirit x

Copyright: All images © 2012 Patricia Cori and Alysa Bartha; All article rights © 2012 Sandie Worthy

 

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Deck Review: Sacred Path Cards by Jamie Sams

Sacred Path Cards by Jamie Sams

Sacred Path Cards: The Discovery of Self Through Native Teachings

Jamie Sams teaches in the Senaca Sioux tradition of Native American culture, in whose belief system every thing is seen as living, and each living thing has a specific role as a teacher and storyteller.  She is an accomplished author and teacher of the Wolf Clan.

These cards are quite beautiful and this is certainly my favourite oracle deck. Please do not confuse these cards with Tarot cards, as oracle cards are quite different.  They do not follow the rules of tarot and rely upon their own ‘stories’ to guide the reader.

Lets start with the design, which features a black background upon which is painted a hide with a picture in the middle.  Each of the 44 cards illustrates an important lesson to be learned on the ‘Good Red Road’ of this earthly life.  There are no contrary cards, as the purpose behind this deck is self-development and coming to an understanding of your own personal truths.

The card stock is a little flimsy – my own deck bears the scars of frequent use.  However, this is a small irritation, when weighed against the cards many virtues.  I like to remind myself that all beings and things have their frailties, yet they also possess unique virtues and lessons to teach.

As with each deck you use, you will find some cards speak to you more than others.  For example, I love the Sacred Space card, which I think is beautifully drawn and needs little explanation.  Its keyword is respect, but the teaching reminds us that we should expect this for ourselves as much as for others.

Another card I really like is the Talking Stick, which has the keywords Viewpoints/Options.  One of the most deeply held beliefs among Native American traditions is that each of us is entitled to our Sacred Point of View.  This means that each person’s opinion should be considered before important decisions are reached.

Traditionally, at tribal council meetings, only the person holding the Talking Stick was allowed to speak, so that everyone would listen.  Each person wishing to express an opinion was allowed a turn.  Again it had to do with respect, but also about seeing things from different perspectives and not allowing yourself to develop tunnel vision; really considering all options before reaching a decision.  This reminds us that in order to make choices with wisdom, we must really listen to all points of view, including our own.

This is a lovely deck and possibly not the most obvious choice for a beginner.  However, if you love the use of fable and metaphor and enjoy learning about Native American spirituality and culture, then this is definitely one for your collection.  Highly recommended.

Walk in Beauty – Freespirit

© Free Spirit 2012

Reproduced from http://www.FreeSpiritTarot.co.uk

Mitakuye Oyasin – We Are All Related

Deck Review: The Fey Tarot by Riccardo Minetti and Mara Aghem

The Fey Tarot by Riccardo Minetti, illustrated by Mara Aghem

The Fey Tarot Deck by Riccardo Minetti and Mara Aghem

What a wondrous thing is this deck, deep and insightful yet filled with a childlike wonder at the magic of the universe.  I waited impatiently for the set to arrive from America and I haven’t been disappointed for a moment.  The artwork is stunning; graceful and inspired.

The Fey of this deck are not mere cartoon figures, but fully developed characters, with personalities, foibles and individuality.  The four suits are perceptively drawn and keep their main elemental correspondences and characteristics; the Chalices (cups) are gentle, watery Fey; the Swords have a dark, haunting energy; the Wands are nature sprites and the Pentacles live and thrive in the earthly realm.

The Major Arcana are both sensitive and provocative; using the templates provided by RWS, Mara expands on their symbolism in a world both magical and relevant.

The Seer, for example, representing the High Priestess, portrays the ancient allegory of wisdom by showing the Fey reading her book.  She sits outside a gate, beyond which we suspect is further knowledge, showing that she is the guardian, not the source of understanding.  It is not a heavenly gate, adorned with jewels, but rather plain and simple, indicating that wisdom comes from many sources and that value is indeed relative.

The Seer also only occupies the bottom half of the card; the gate rises above her, suggesting that she will help you so far but no further; understanding is not a gift she can bestow but one that must be earned. Only by climbing the stairs and entering the unknown can you hope to understand the mysteries she guards.

The Empress, by contrast, is large and wonderful; her image fills the card with its presence, protecting all her creatures with her gentle, all embracing love.

The small, winged unicorn she holds in her lap represents purity, innocence and spirit; the earth mother will protect the very smallest and weakest of her creatures against any force.  Her size in comparison to the building on which she rests reminds you that she represents the earth mother, whose love and protection is limitless.

I must draw to your attention the Lovers.  A substantial creature, born of earth and stone, tenderly reaches toward a delicate sprite of the air.

Their differences are indisputable,  yet they have chosen each other’s company.  This card speaks of the power of love to overcome adversity and diversity.  It illustrates something of the nature of love, which is not blind as is often said, but sees all and accepts everything.

Rabbi Julius Gordon said:

Love is not blind – it sees more, not less. But because it sees more, it is willing to see less.”

I’d recommend this deck to anyone who has an interest in exploring the tarot with a new perspective.  A reader familiar with the RWS should be able to recognise the archetypes without very much trouble; although the Minors have lost their pips each has its number at the top of the card, so not too much difficulty there.  I bought my deck as part of a boxed set and I think the accompanying book is well worth reading, revealing insights into the symbols used in each card.  You won’t get your LWB by buying the set.  I never use mine, but those of you who enjoy these might want to consider separate purchases.

This is a wonderful deck for meditation.  Try picking a card from your traditional Rider Waite Smith clone; now pick the corresponding card from the Fey.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new.  These cards have a fresh, youthful perspective; you cannot help but learn through the eyes of the Fey world represented here.  Each time I use this deck, I am blown away by its depth and personality – I would totally recommend it.

© Free Spirit Tarot 2003

Mitakuye Oyasin – We Are All Related

Freespirit x

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