Name: The Witches' Tarot Artist: Martin Cannon Publisher: Llewellyn Publications P.O. Box

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Name: The Witches' Tarot Artist: Martin Cannon Publisher: Llewellyn Publications P.O. Box 64383-660 St. Paul, MN 55164 Art Quality: **** (* = poor, ***** = excellent) This is a very nicely designed deck of 78 cards (22 Major Arcana, 56 Minor Arcana) in which the theme Qabala and Paganistic symbolism. A book titled "The Witches Tarot" by Ellen Cannon Reed is also available from Llewellyn Publications, but is not actually included with the deck itself (you must order it extra). The deck was originally released in a box that was too big for the deck and had a piece of styrofoam stuffed to fill out the box. Now the deck is sold in a front-opening box. At one point there was an incorrect card, when the deck was first released in the front-opening box. If you purchased one of the incorrect decks you can contact Llewellyn to get the correct card. The back of the cards is a solid black with a silver pentacle in the center of the card, and the Llewellyn symbol in the lower right hand side. The pictures on the cards take up the entire face of the card with no border. The number of each card is printed in unobtrusive black print at the top or bottom of the card. This sometimes makes it hard to find the number or title. The artwork on this deck is suffused with a luminous quality. The cups glow, the swords appear to reflect a bright light, and often the human figures appear to radiate an aura. The human figures are mainly realistic without being distracting, and in good proportion. An added plus is that (apart from the Court cards) all the human figures appear to be different, unlike many decks in which the artwork may be superb but you get the feeling you are seeing the same person over and over dressed in different costumes. The Court cards are the same four individuals (Princess, Prince, Queen, and King) with minor differences in background season or clothing. The Prince of each suit, for example, carries the symbol of his suit, but other than the stream that flows by only the feet of the Prince of Cups, and the different colors of their clothing, it appears to be the same painting done over four times. An explanation of this will be given in the Minor Arcana description. THE MAJOR ARCANA The Major Arcana figures follow the traditional Rider-Waite symbolism with minor differences relating to the Qabalistic/ Pagan theme. Odd colored circles are shown on each card. Even after studying the book, I'm not certain what these colored circles actually mean. Possibly something to do with spheres of existence. THE MINOR ARCANA The Minor Arcana moves away from the traditional Rider-Waite symbolism with few exceptions. An interesting deviation is the use of the Court cards as "modifiers" of the cards following them. For example, if the Queen of Pentacles is dealt, it is laid down and the next card is laid directly on top of it. The card laid on top of the Queen of Pentacles is then "modified" by the influence of the Queen of Pentacles (if reversed, things have not yet proceeded to become a concept, not yet manifested past the stage of the creative urge). The scenes on the cards lend themselves to different interpretations for the individual reader. For example, the Two of Cups shows a male figure climbing the side of a cliff toward a female figure who holds two cups. But is she sitting there in wait for him, or is she walking away briskly? It could be either. Even in the suit of Swords, where usually depressing scenes are found, an emphasis is made on scenes of action rather than aggression. SPECIAL NOTES While the book is interesting, it is mostly useful to the reader who is heavily into Qabala. The notes about spheres and symbols will mostly confuse anyone else. For those persons, the pamphlet enclosed with the deck will be sufficient. This deck is beautifully conceived and illustrated. It has a warm feeling to it which will commend it to most readers and collectors.


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