Shaman Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2010) still offers the potential for traditional interpretations in most cards. Yet, it also offers very different, intuitive readings. In this way, its structure echoes the images, which blend modern living with shamanism through the ages, and which are filled with spirit animals.
also renames all the suits. Wands become Skulls, Cups become Crystals
(a little confusing at first, but they are blue crystals), Swords are
changed to Bows, and Pentacles are represented by Drums. The cards buck
the old Lo Scarabeo multi-lingual practice, just having Roman numerals
for the Majors, and numbers and symbols for the Minors. This gives them
quite a clean feel.
Moving to specific cards, Death shows what I
see as a shaman dancing on the path to the Otherworld. He knows that
everyone must walk this path eventually, and while he will protect the
souls he can, he will act as psychopomp or guide for those he can't.
And in that case, he will also be there to support those left behind
through their grieving process.
The Ace of Bows (Swords) shows us a nocked arrow drawn back from a tightly strung bow, ready to take
flight. It is aimed up into the dark sky, over mountains. Our ideas
and words can travel far, and clear confusion and uncertainty with their
As for the Four of Bows (Swords), here we see the mix
of Western and traditional imagery. A man lies abed, with two older men
seeming to tend him. His face is filled with fear, and over him we see
spirits, fiery and awful. Is this the man's shamanic vision as he
fights through his own sickness to be initiated as a healer? Or does he
simply need to rest before taking up his everyday battles again?
Overall, I find this a very readable deck. The Courts
work well, and the artwork is attractive. I also find it a useful deck
for those interested in shamanic practices, for meditating and
pathworking, and for readings around healing.