Friday, 8 August 2014

Silver Witchcraft Tarot Overview

Just as there is a seemingly bottomless market for cat tarots, so too the audience for pagan/Wiccan decks appears inexhaustible.  And Barbara Moore has certainly capitalised on both these trends with her Tarot of Pagan Cats (Lo Scarabeo, 2010) and her two Book of Shadows decks (Lo Scarabeo, 2012, 2013). 

Her latest creation, the Silver Witchcraft Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2014) is in many ways like an amalgam of the two Book of Shadows decks.  It is at least as easy to read as the So Below deck, but with many of the more esoteric aspects and Wiccan timing elements found in the As Above deck.  As such, it is both innovative and traditional, easy to read straight out of the box, yet offering much extra information for those interested in the Wiccan path.

In terms of the cards themselves, they definitely break the Lo Scarabeo mould!  They are borderless, with titles just in English.  The artwork, too, mixes innovation and tradition.  All the Majors are easily recognisable, with only one (the High Priest/Hierophant) having been renamed.  Each Major features a cube as a plinth, though they vary from vine-covered to ethereal white, and many share a background, also.  For example, the Hermit features the same background as all the cards from Strength to Temperance.  This bearded old man with a lantern fits well with traditional archetypes, while adding an interesting element with his caduceus wand.

The Courts all show berobed figures, in suit/element appropriate robes: red for Wands, blue for Chalices, yellow for Swords, and green for Pentacles.  There is nice variety in what they are doing, and the elements around them.  I really like this Page of Swords, for example, with a book floating above one hand, an athame in the other, and a sylph by her side.  Being up amongst the clouds also clearly indicates her element: air.

The Aces are also very interesting and clear, representing the seed or source of their suit.  This Wands Ace shows a large flame, with various fruits around it and a ginger cat walking among them.  The book gives the key phrase: "The spark that starts the fire," and goes on to explain that: "Everything that is manifested in the physical world begins as a spark, an idea."

As for the Minors, as I mentioned on Monday these (at least numbers 2-9) are linked to the eight wiccan sabbats.  So, this Nine of Chalices connects with Samhain/Halloween.  The image of a woman sitting as though giving thanks under the rays of a crescent moon doesn't match the traditional guy sitting looking smug in front of nine cups.  Nevertheless, as the book explains: "This is a time to not only enjoy the gifts we have received and helped create, it is a time to reconnect with the spiritual world, our ancestors, our guides and allies, and the Goddess and God."  The end of the year fits well with the idea of a cycle coming to completion, and Halloween as the last harvest of the year is truly a time to give thanks and to also start to turn inward, to take emotional stock.  A spiritual take on the Nine of Cups, but one that still fits the keywords of wishes fulfilled and contentment!

This deck is an interesting departure for Lo Scarabeo, moving away from their traditional white borders and multi-lingual titles.  It reads well, and the timing aspect of it is a fascinating addition to understanding the minors.  Altogether, Barbara Moore has achieved a deck that is well worth spending some time with, while remaining more accessible than the Book of Shadows decks were.

4 comments:

  1. The appearance definitely an improvement but somehow the multitude of robed figures puts me off. They are a bit like pillars because of their lack of folds.
    Perhaps it is silly but somehow it annoys me. I do like the idea of including the sabbats in the 2-9 cards

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    1. Yes, the robes sit strangely with me, too. I guess if I'd ever been to any rituals where robes were worn it might feel a bit less odd... Like you, though, I like some of the ideas behind it :)

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  2. The artwork on this deck is CG, and I notice LS publishing a lot of CG decks. They always seem rather flat and lifeless although they punch them up with colour. My Tarot of Fire is like that and this reminds me of it. One of the things I used to like about LS decks was their roster of classic illustrators which they seem to be getting away from in some instances--such a shame. Cut and paste and collage decks are tiresome--we need to clone Will Worthington!

    I have the Tarot of Pagan Cats--the theme decks can get a bit silly as they go on and on--meh. I do like some of the artwork though. I noticed you speaking of the Mystical Cats deck--I don't have any Mickie Mueller decks so am thinking about that, will explore further.

    How are you getting on with the book database for your card collection Chloe? Are you finding it as useful as I did or have you not had time to get decks into it?

    Judy

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    1. Hi Judy,

      As CG decks go, I think these are a distinct improvement on the past, but I know what you mean. With a couple of the cards, I had to look at both cards to check that, yes, this was supposed to be a different person, rather than the same person in different situations, as the faces were identical.

      I liked the Mystical Cats - blogged with it a couple of weeks ago.

      As for the database, I've actually got my entire card collection on there, now. However, haven't yet used it for anything else, other than safeguarding the information :D

      Chloë

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