Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review: The Ancestral Tarot Deck

With the storms raging outside, I’ve had the opportunity to sit and study the new gifted deck. Aside from the pounding rain all has been quiet making it a soothing, relaxing experience.

It’s a curious, interesting little deck of cards. I say little, but their about the size of a standard deck of cards though slightly different in shape - being almost square. After getting used to the size of The Golden deck - cards are 6.5 X 3.5 inches - these appear very small in my hands. The cards have a fine mat finish showing the images in slightly muted tones.

The four suits that make up the Minor Arcana represent 4 distinct civilizations. The imagery is vivid, though difficult to decipher in some cases. The suit subject, as in Cups and Staves are sometimes obscure requiring a closer examination of the card in question. 

 The 4 suits are represented by:
Druids, Ancient England = Cups

Various Native Americans = Sacred Circles/Coins 

Ancient Japan = Swords 

Ancient Africa/Egypt = Staves/Wands 

The cards of the Major Arcana are a collection of images from the four civilizations represented in the Minor Arcana, but with nuanced, distinct differences in some cases.  (click to embiggen)


An interesting visual to note is the back of the cards. (Top of this post) In most decks the back decoration is identical for either direction; one cannot tell if the card is upright or reversed (if you read cards both ways).  Not so with this deck, as you can see. The lighter image (up) symbolizes the day (and positive), the darker mirror image denotes the night (or negative). This isn’t a problem for me as I tend to - depending on the deck in use - read cards mostly in the upright position. I have never understood why day is considered positive and night as negative. More ancient prejudices, I suppose.

The box claims the manufacturer as Games Systems, Inc. I didn’t find this deck at their website.

From the box insert:
Ancestral Path Tarot threads together the diverse beliefs of various cultures in order to find commonalities of experience among them. It examines the traditions of our ancestors through mythology to reclaim a personal spirituality that enables us to perceive the divine in ourselves and others.
The Ancestral Path Tarot emphasizes the living traditions of all human cultures for us to factor into our world view. The deck portrays paths created by ancestors of different times and cultures for our consideration.

It’s a handsome deck. I just have to get used to it, by using it. My thanks to whomever was thoughtful enough to gift this to me.  Though I wish I could thank you properly, be assured that I will treasure it. 

And so it goes.


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