Art of Life – a tarot deck by Charlene Livingstone

July 5th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Art of Life - tarot deck by Charlene Livingstone

The Art of Life Tarot is beautiful. And it can hardly help but be given that it’s made up of 78 art masterpieces.

Charlene Livingstone has taken her experience as an art historian and used it to curate an absolutely gorgeous fine art Tarot.

Renoir, Klimt, Van Gough, Cezanne, and da Vinci are just a few of the many masters represented.

She’s also included quotes on each card from the greats of philosophy and literature, people like Emerson, Thoreau, Plato, and Lao-tsu.

As a mini art-gallery with inspirational commentary, these cards are amazing. The fact that they’re structured as a Tarot deck makes them even better.

Art of Life - 8 of Pentacles

Though not at all a standard RWS deck, the paintings Livingstone chose to represent each card loosely follow the general themes of the Golden Dawn tradition. And many, in fact, are very clearly RWS inspired.

For instance, Gauguin’s portrait Van Gogh Painting Sunflowers is a beautiful depiction of the traditional 8 of Pentacles, as is Raphael’s Pope Leo X with Two Cardinals for the Hierophant.

Art of Life Hierophant

But some of Livingstone’s other choices offer us a slightly different perspective on the cards.

Instead of the familiar scene of five figures flaunting their sticks in the 5 of Wands, she chose the painting Pere Magloire on the Road to Saint-Clair by Gustave Caillebotte.

It pictures a man unhurriedly walking down a quiet white road, no sign of battle or discord anywhere.

Art of Life 5 of Wands

The image suggests to me that the remedy to the strife commonly associated with the 5 of Wands is quiet solitude, maybe a walk by the sea.

The accompanying quote by Euripides fills this idea out – The wisest men follow their own direction.

And following her own direction is clearly what Livingstone did when creating this deck. As she says in the short booklet that comes with it,

I knew that I wanted the format to be different from the others [Tarot decks] I had worked with in the past – more personal and direct, without the interruption of looking elsewhere for card interpretations.

In that I think she succeeded.

Though an understanding of the RWS or Golden Dawn Tarot systems will likely add insight to your readings with this deck, it’s not at all necessary. These cards stand alone, both metaphorically, and quite literally.

One of the especially nice things about the Art of Life is its oversized cards and the beautiful box they come in.

The box allows you to display a card as if it were a little framed painting on an easel. It’s pretty cute, and perfect for the contemplation of a single card and its message.

This is a really nice deck. I recommend it to Tarot reading art fans, bibliomancers, and collectors alike. It’s not just a Tarot deck, it’s a magical fine art collection in a box.

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Art of Life © U.S. Games Systems
Card images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Joie de Vivre Tarot

June 22nd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy

The Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy and released by US Games is a very pretty deck. It’s a world of fantastical creatures in pastels and soft lines.

There are bunny-eared fairies, merlions, and well-dressed cats. Rabbits wear clothes, hats have faces, and seahorses can fly.

Joie de vivre, or the joy of living, is obvious in this deck. It’s happy and light, playful and friendly. But that doesn’t stop it from being serious as well.

For instance, its take on the Tower – a woman falling from a collapsing fortress of open-mouthed snakes, is hardly disregarding the impact Tower energy usually describes.

#16 The Tower from the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy

And the 3 of Swords clearly illustrates the pain of unreleased sadness. It’s just whispered, not shouted.

This isn’t a deck for those people most interested in traditional tarot symbology, or who want their cards to talk tough. But don’t be fooled into thinking the Joie de Vivre is just a frilly, fluff deck. I think it has real spirit.

3 of Swords from the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy

It loosely follows the RWS structure and those readers familiar with that system should have no trouble understanding it. But Cassidy’s pictures are unique and create their own Tarot universe.

Each character has a name and their story is described in the booklet that comes with the deck. The names are derived from the energy of the card and can be used as key words.

Examples include Ponder for the Hanged Man and Orbit for the Wheel. The Devil’s called Deception, and Gleam, Glitter, and Glow are the ladies in the 3 of Cups.

It’s clear that the focus of the Joie de Vivre Tarot is finding joy, but I still went ahead and asked it my usual ‘new deck’ question – what do you like talking about most?

10 of Swords from the Joie de Vivre Tarot by Paulina Cassidy

The card I got was the 10 of Swords, certainly not the most joy-filled card in the deck.

In fact, the veiled fairy in the picture looks sad, lonely and unconsoled by her snail and snake companions. There’s darkness in the background and the moon is shrouded in fog.

The booklet says the fairy’s name is Lament and that she’s at her lowest point. Her dreams feel like dust and all she has left is her will.

But the nine swords in the background are her worries, and they’re further away than she thinks. And on her lap is the sword of fortitude with which she’ll carve a new beginning.

This 10 of Swords is the perfect card to explain what the Joie de Vivre Tarot likes to talk about most. Finding joy in the very pits of despair.

When your name becomes Lament and even the light of the moon has been dimmed, this deck wants to talk. Like the tiny star shinning above the fairy’s head, the Joie de Vivre wants to be a source of light.

What a sweet message and sweet pack of cards. If you’re looking for a little light, try out this deck.

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Joie de Vivre Tarot © U.S. Games Systems
Card images used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Tarot of the Sidhe

May 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Over the last few months, I’ve been getting to know the Tarot of the Sidhe by Emily Carding.

When I first saw it, I thought it was pretty with its bright colours and vibrant imagery, but I was so blown away by Carding’s Transparent Tarot and Transparent Oracle that I didn’t give the Sidhe their proper due.

I know better now though, and after spending some time with this deck, I’ve come to like it more and more. The readings I’ve done with it have been intense and honest, but still somehow playful and even sweet.

It’s a great deck, and I recommend it highly.

And apparently so does Neopagan Priestess whose wonderful video review is posted below. Take a look ….

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