Personal Empowerment – The Power of Oracle Decks

Lilith
20 May 2009

“As I quiet my mind the symbols and images in front of me act as gateways
to magical worlds of wisdom.”




The first deck that we are going to look at is the Rider-Waite Tarot (also know as the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot). If you are looking for your first deck, this is what you want to consider, as it is the deck most often used in face to face teaching, as well as on Internet sites. Created by A.E. Waite and artist Pamela Colman Snith, it is a traditional deck, with traditional imagery. In fact, it is the first deck in which the Pips (numbered cards) were illustrated. (The background for this deck is the metaphysical group The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.) This deck is offered through U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in four versions: miniature, pocket, standard and giant. Many of today’s decks are clones (copies) of the Rider-Waite Tarot.

The next deck that we are going to look at is the Thoth Tarot. Created by Aleister Crowley and artist Lady Frieda Harris. Aleister Crowley, like A.E. Waite, was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. There is a significant difference in decks, however, including the fact that some versions of the Thoth Tarot carry three versions of the Magus. As with the Rider-Waite Tarot, it is a classic Tarot deck. However, it is seldom used for teaching purposes – largely because the text from Crowley is written in a very obscure, hard to understand manner. Most people will need to pair this deck with one of the excellent source books available that explain the deck in an understandable manner (Such as Lon Milo DuQuette’s “Understanding the Aleister Crowley Thoth Tarot”). It is a beautifully executed deck, and has great appeal for those interested in the occult. The imagery on the deck is both astrological and Kabalistic in nature. The pips in this deck do not contain illustrations (as does the Rider-Waite Tarot). A number of cards in this deck have been renamed to reflect Crowley’s understanding of them.

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The third deck that we are going to look at is the Tarot of Marseilles (also known as the Tarot of Marseille or the Tarot de Marseille). This is a deck style that is popular largely in Europe, although it is gaining in popularity in the United States. The Marseilles style Tarot originated in France, and features non-illustrated pips. The illustrations on the earlier Marseilles style decks is a very interesting wood block method. Among my favorite Marseilles style Tarot’s are the Tarot of Jean Noblet and the Tarot of Jean Dodal, recreated by French Cartier-enlumineur Jean-Claude Flornoy.

For the final deck in this discussion I chose a representative deck from the goddess theme decks – artist Kris Waldherr’s aptly named Goddess Tarot. Goddess’s have been chosen from the myths of diverse backgrounds, elegantly illustrated with borders that reflect the specific goddess on each card. Waldherr is known for attention to detail and wonderful use of color – her decks are masterpieces in and of themselves! Many people will be attracted to the softer imagery in these cards (as opposed to the traditional Rider-Waite style decks).

The important thing when looking for a deck is that you connect with the theme and imagery, as they are the gateway into multiple levels of understanding and wisdom. I would advise that you purchase a Rider-Waite deck for reference purposes, if nothing else. From there you can decide which deck speak to you, and which decks you will be able to read with. If at all possible, try to go to a bookstore (or metaphysical store) and see the cards in person before you make your choice.

There are several Internet sites that card scans can be viewed at. Some of the most in-depth sites are Aeclectic Tarot, Tarot Passages and Wicce.  

Each week, we are going to hear from the voice of one of our oracle allies. This week we are visiting the Sacred Path Cards (Jamie Sams and Linda Childers). The voice that wishes to speak is that of Coral. Coral carries the energy or nurturing. We are being advised to quiet our minds and allow room for peace. We are to ask ourselves what we can do to nurture ourselves, and what we can do to nurture those around us, and our community in general. Coral offers us healing and protective energy, asking only that we put forth the effort to become clear on what we need, and what we have to offer.  By quieting our minds, and allowing peace to surround us, we gain access to our intuitive, creative selves.

A short aside – I have become enamored of the show The Mentalist (Tuesdays on CBS), starring Simon Baker as an independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigations. He has such a wonderful air about him – rather like a (slightly) calmer version of James Bond, but with intense psychic abilities that Bond did not have. Myself, I like to see things done in an orderly fashion, but I do love that Jane (the character that Baker plays) doesn’t often acknowledge, much less play by, the rules. I also love that he is an acknowledged psychic medium (Jane is). This is who we are in the real world! I hope that you join me in watching this series.

Next week we will be looking at how to read for ourselves. Yes – you can do this! Stay tuned!

May your week be filled with joy and peace.

Best Wishes,
Lilith  

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