Friday, 18 April 2014

Tarot de St Croix Overview

Having said on Monday that one of the cards which originally put me off the Tarot de St Croix (self-published, 2013) was the Fool, wouldn't you know it popped out to show its face in this brief overview!  As ever, though, reading the companion booklet makes sense of this stripy Fool, and makes me like the card better than the image alone.  The artist explains that this is based on "the Pueblo Indian sacred clown Koshare."  This Coyote-masked trickster reminds us to be playful and look beyond our fears.  Lisa tells a story of a time when she played the unwitting Fool in a Zuni Indian ceremony, with a reminder to laugh at ourselves.

This is a fair representation of what is found in the description of all the Majors: culturally varied and interesting takes on archetypal ideas, with personal anecdotes and interesting key meanings.  There are plenty of insights, too, into the inspiration behind the cards, from everyday experiences to different artistic masterpieces.

We see this, also, in the King of Wands.  Although I normally see this King as quite dynamic and charismatic, and generally associate him with a younger figure than that shown here, I like this Magician-like character.  The King of Wands is good at getting things done, whether through enthusiasm, his own skills, harnessing those of the people around him, or a combination of these and more.  Lisa de St Croix chose to base this card on a marble "pavement" showing Hermes Trismegistus, who is used for the Magician in a number of other decks.

Moving on to the Aces, the Ace of Cups shows a perfect wave cresting in the background, with a champagne flute spilling over in the foreground.  I love this variation on traditional Ace of Cups imagery.  To me, it speaks of the sometimes overwhelming nature of love, and also of the joy and celebration it encompasses.

Finally, we have a regular Minor, the Seven of Wands.  This card clearly indicates the multi-cultural nature of this deck, which is another aspect that appeals to me about it.  I guess California is as much of a mixing pot as my home city, London.  So, it's good to see different ethnicities and cultures represented.  In this instance, the card shows Brazilian Indians marching to defend their land.  I like Lisa's keyphrase: stand up for what you believe in!   I sometimes see the Seven of Wands as fighting enemies that are more in your mind than truly around you.  That could also be read here, in the sense that challenges to traditional ways of life may or may not be a bad thing, depending on your perspective and the context.  So, the card is open to many interpretations, always a good thing in my eyes.

Altogether, this deck has already become a firm favourite.  It ticks so many of my boxes: beautiful, well-executed artwork; a thoughtful, varied take on traditional meanings; diverse cultural elements; and a well-written companion booklet.  So, I'm delighted that Lisa has given me permission to blog with it a little more: I'll be using it on 1st May for the next Tarot Blog Hop :)