Friday, 23 January 2015

Gorgon's Tarot Overview

When Beth of Little Red Tarot first posted about the Gorgon's Tarot (Schiffer, 2014), she mentioned that her copy was from the first print run, and huge.  The second run is smaller, I believe.  However, when I went to buy the deck, the Book Depository through Amazon was offering it half price!  That was compared both to Amazon's price and Book Depository's price through their own website.  I thought "bargain!" and clickety-clicked. 

Turned out, I was getting the huge first edition.  And no matter what guys think, bigger is not always better ;)  I have fairly large hands, and can manage to shuffle most decks, even if they're big.  I even posted a video about riffing big decks.  However, these have totally defeated me!  Smooshing them around on the floor kind of works, but isn't a very effective means of shuffling. 

I did a deck randomisation process, laying the cards out in piles so you don't have two of the same suit or the same number together.  Which works, but is time consuming.  And given I rarely use large spreads and mostly fan my deck and choose  cards at random, I can live with it.  Still, if you have the choice, I'd go for the smaller size deck.

Anyhow, on to the cards!

Death has two skeletons standing silhouetted in a cave mouth, with their arms joined to reach for a star above them.  The moon rises behind them, full of potential, and a curled snake lifts its head, centred between them, like kundalini rising.  There are also two white cats sleeping peacefully to either side of them and each skeleton has a plant behind and to one side of them. 

This card demonstrates well the different perspective and yet clear symbolism of this deck.  The busy geometric patterns of the cave's floor and walls are also typical of the artwork and a good reason for the choice to stick to black-and-white images.  Can you imagine how psychedelic and cluttered this would look in colour?

The Knight of Pentacles sits astride her horse, facing left.  She looks secure, despite the lack of a saddle.  Her horse seems calm, and her Pentacle is simple, held close in her arms.  There is what might be a bull in a field in the background, and altogether the card has a very pastoral feel.  A quite easy to read, almost traditional Court card, despite the somewhat funky, zebra-striped trousers :)

On the Ace of Cups we have a large, black cup rising from wavy water.  A fish leaps out of the cup, and both a sun and moon hang in the sky above.  A white flower decorates the bottom edge of the card, adrift on the wave.  I see here emotions that make our soul leap, that endure day and night, that bring a touch of joy to our every moment and that help us withstand the ups and downs of life!  Of course, depending on the context, this could also indicate sentiments that confuse us, leaving us feeling adrift in a sea of ever changing emotions...

Turning to the pips, we have the Five of Wands.  Five women with wands in a field look more like they're dancing than fighting.  Then again, there are plenty of dance competitions, so that interpretation is still valid.  There are also two snakes watching from behind them: this could be a transformative situation.  And there is a somewhat tentative air to them: playful practice, perhaps?

Sorry it's wonky, round cards are hard to scan!
On Monday, Bev of By the Sycamore Tree commented about the number of fish in the cards I drew for my weekly reading.  That sent me off to check the deck out, and here are the results.  There are fish on twenty cards in total - all the Cups cards (at least as elements on the cups themselves, but often also in other places), and six other cards.  There are also cats on seventeen cards, dogs of nineteen cards, birds on thirteen cards, snakes on seventeen cards, and some cute rat-type creatures on fourteen cards.  I also spotted dragons, bulls, a lion, a wolf, a crocodile, a griffon, an eagle, a snail, a rabbit and several foxes.  A panoply of wildlife, both weird and wonderful!

All told, this is a beautiful, playful deck, full of interesting characters.  It is easy to read, yet with plenty of symbolism to dig into if you want.  And of course there are all the options of reading reversed or partially tilted images, given its circular nature.  A little tilt to the right could indicate a future focus or dynamism, a tilt to the left might show the past or an area where you're dragging your heals...

11 comments:

  1. It is beautiful and it reminds me of my Daughters of the Moon tarot,not only for it's shape and the large cards but also for the style of the drawings

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    1. An interesting comparision, Ellen. I've managed to steer away from the Daughters of the Moon so far, I'll admit round decks are not my favourites... :)

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  2. You make a great point about the reason for keeping it black and white - I think my eyes would bug out if it were in color! I do like all the patterns and animals in this deck. Someone on Amazon said they were slightly over 5.5 inches; that is pretty darn big. Of course now that a smaller version is out, folks will probably resell the large version in a year or two for some ridiculous price.

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    1. Ha ha, yes, isn't it always the way! I wouldn't go for the big one again, given the choice, but it's true that you can see the images beautifully...

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  3. I really fancied this but the price is now up to $56 CAD--Yikes it just keeps rising.

    I would enjoy the big deck. Lo Scarabeo has the Circle of Life Tarot and the Heart Tarot which are both large and unwieldy for shuffling (circular and heart-shaped.) I like to lay them out in rows and put them back together. I love black and white decks and large cards!

    Too bad about the price and it seems like it's just going to go up. Ahhh, too bad the details in the cards are really interesting.

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    1. Well, give it a year or two, and maybe it'll be more affordable or you could find a second hand copy... :)

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  4. I find this artwork very interesting, and enjoyable. The Death card is lovely - the skeletons remind me a bit of Day of the Dead paper cut outs :)

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    1. Oh by the way, thanks for this post - it's the perfect reading for me ;-) I thought "let the next blog I check out have a special message for me today." Yours was next, and each card, the line as a whole, is quite fitting and nice :)

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    2. Glad to have been of help, Olivia :D And yes, I definitely see the Day of the Dead similarities :)

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  5. Yay, so great to see this deck is in your collection Chloe! I have the big deck and yeah, it's tricky, but it's also just awesome to have such lovely big cards. Great that there's a smaller one out now though :)

    I love how you describe the deck as playful - it really is! It makes is such a pleasure to work with. And all the little creatures, the shoggoths and fish and dogs and so on... they're so great. Having met the lovely Dolores, you can really feel how these cards have come right from her imagination.

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    1. Lucky you meeting her! I love those kinds of insights into a deck creator's thought process, so thanks again for sharing that, and the cards :)

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