Friday, 25 April 2014

Goddess Tarot Overview

The Goddess Tarot (U.S. Games, 1998) by Kris Waldherr is in some ways a fairly traditional RWS clone.  However, many of the Majors have been renamed, for example Death becomes Transformation.  And all of them have been attributed to a Goddess, such as Isis for Magic (the Magician), and Inanna for the Star.  Likewise, all the Minors have female characters on them, instead of a mix of men and women.  Almost the only male figures are the Kings and Princes.  In addition, the suits also have "cultures": Staves (Wands) are all shown as red-heads (Celts?); Cups are blondes (Anglo-saxons?); Swords are Egyptian; and Pentacles are Hindu.

Despite these "themes", the deck works well, and is very readable.  I like that there are myths attached to each of the Majors.  For example, I can see why Isis was chosen for the Magician, as she worked magic to bring Osiris back to life (twice) - using the resources she had to hand, and her own focus.

I also like that the Courts are Princess, Prince, Queen and King.  It's a ranking I appreciate, with its gender balance, and the mix of youth and maturity.  Obviously, a Princess doesn't necessarily denote a female in real life when it comes up in a reading - I think we all have aspects of any of these archetypes, no matter our apparent gender.  Still, it brings a better equilibrium to the depictions.  So, in this Princess of Cups, I see a somewhat immature energy, willing to sip from life and explore the emotions around them, yet not ready to plunge deeply into anything, though they may think they are.

The Aces don't  have the traditional RWS hands in the sky offering the suit symbol.  However, they are otherwise quite standard, with nicely illustrated elements, such as the upright wand with lively green leaves seen on the Ace of Wands.  I like that there is also a large sun shining brightly behind it (plenty of energy), a soft green field with flowers at its base (a good basis for growth), and hills in the background (challenges, but not overwhelming ones).  The cards have plenty of symbolism to make them easy to read.

As for the pips, although you can't tell from the card I drew (the Six of Cups), these continue the cultural theme of their suits, and certainly the colour schemes used in them.  In addition, all the male figures in the pips are replaced by females, or left out entirely.  So, for example, the Five of Wands shows five women holding wands aloft.  In the Six of Cups this isn't as apparent, given that it has simply removed the human figures entirely.  Still, the traditional house and garden, little stairway, and flower-filled cups are still there, and I think the notion of an idealised past is still available from it.

All the Tens also have the human figures removed, making the Ten of Wands and Ten of Swords rather less "negative" than they tend to be.  Yet, the meanings are still available, in the way of semi-illustrated pips, from the colour schemes and the shapes formed by the ten objects.

Overall, it's a pretty, pleasant deck, with a woman-centric focus, easy to read, and fairly "gentle".


  1. When Borders was closing down, I got this deck for just £3. Can you believe it? I didn't stop going on about it to my boyfriend in the car on my way home from Oxford. I miss the ones in Oxford Street and Charing Cross Road though.

    I think this is a lovely deck. I also like the gender balance in the courts. What I really don't like is when Knights are female (like the Steampunk Tarot, Moore) or even worse, when they are all mixed about (such as one male and three female). It kind of disrupts it all a bit for me. Lo Scarabeo do that a lot. I think the only time that mixing it about has worked for me was in The Gaian.

    I sometimes pull this deck out. I think I prefer the art on the Lovers Tarot by Waldherr though, just down to the palette choice.

    Great sum-up!

    1. I kinda like the Steampunk courts, even the Knights, and I do sometimes like decks where they just go one way or the other - like the Gay Tarot or the Book of Shadows As Above. It can emphasise that these are aspects of everyone, male or female...

      I haven't used the Lovers Tarot much, because there's more of a learning curve for me. Maybe I'll dig it out again :)

  2. Wonderful overview Chloe. Now I am sure I want it someday :D
    I love the artwork with the soft and bright colors