What brought me to this:
Sometimes, I love the Tarot, and when I do, I feel a deep, compelling draw to it… an itch to have the cards in my hands; to feel them, to look at them, to want to know what mysteries they contain. To commune with them.
I own three Tarot decks and love them all, although they give off three very different vibes.
I also own an Oracle deck – The Faeries Oracle by Brian Froud. I like to look through it, but it doesn’t really mean anything to me. Tarot is different. Tarot speaks. It vibrates and tries to communicate.
The Tarot decks I have:
The Osho Zen Tarot, a gorgeous, richly coloured and beautifully drawn deck by Ma Deva Padma that combines the traditions of the Tarot with eastern philosophies (as taught by Osho). It is a deck I feel I can understand when I otherwise don’t feel very in-tune with the mysteries of the universe.
The Osho deck comes with a lovely book that explains the cards clearly, teaches what they mean in our lives and offers a look at their philosophical importance from a Zen perspective.
The Thoth Tarot I have just purchased a new copy of The Thoth Tarot; also a beautiful deck and developed with serious and dedicated study by a very brilliant (magical?) mind, Aleister Crowley — beautifully painted by a talented artist Lady Frieda Harris. I get a sense of esoteric weight and scholarly wisdom from these cards; a sense that within them I can access much Important Information. I’m not as sure that the information gained will speak to me personally, or that I can join Alesiter Crowley fully on his mystical journey, but this is still an impressive deck.
The Thoth deck comes with a better-than-average little white book — but what makes this deck most accessible and even exciting is a wonderful book available separately called Understanding Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot by Lon Milo DuQuette (2003). DuQuette is an easy writer of some very dense subjects and I’m enjoying his work very much. I am also learning a lot.
There are two other Tarot books I’ve come to love. Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, by Rachel Pollack (1980, 1997) and The Tarot Bible by Sarah Bartlett (2006). Both books are special. Pollack writes about the tarot as if she’s been inside it and became its true friend. She is someone who understands it at an intuitive level and with her unusually excellent writing skills, can effectively share that understanding. Bartlett gives us a beautifully designed reference book that looks at the Tarot and at each card individually from a variety of different angles. Her book is a delight to touch and to browse, and it provides a quick guide when one is needed.
The big problem for me with both the Pollack or Bartlett books is that they are based on the Rider-Waite Tarot, and I don’t use that deck. I actually can’t use it… there’s something about it that repels me. I’ve searched for a ‘clone’ deck that I like better but cannot connect to any of them.
The Cosmic Tarot – My first deck… first on my shelf and first in my heart is The Cosmic Tarot by Norbert Lösche. This is the deck that called me first and calls me still. This is the deck that when I understand it, I understand it deeply, in my cells and in a way that can help me shape my life. It is also the deck that I have put away more than once because I don’t always know what it is saying, but that I immediately get out again because it seems to demand it.
This is the deck I need a real, solid, deep and clear guide to, because using a different deck when it is important just isn’t an option for reasons that defy explanation.
And although TCT is close to a Rider-Waite deck, it is just different enough that the books based on Rider-Waite don’t always apply. There are times when I know that Lösche and his cards mean something entirely different than what is written about R-W. I have Jean Heuts’s book, Cosmic Tarot (1996) and I’m glad to have it, but it isn’t enough. I need something that says more and with more clarity, and so far, the something I need doesn’t seem to exist. Perhaps I’ll be able to create it here.
Join me if you like.
© Kathryn Tisdale 2010