Cracking the shell you have donned
Your true self retrieved
Okay – I want to start off with full disclosure, I received a copy of the Minoan Tarot from Ellen Lorenzi-Prince for the purposes of writing a review. I consider Ellen a friend but don’t think that will impact my review, I just want readers of this blog to be fully informed.
So, I first got a glimpse at this deck when Ellen brought its prototype to a past Readers Studio. I remember looking at the deck and feeling that it wasn’t one I might feel compelled to add to my collection. The art was lovely but I’ve never felt a real attraction to Minoan culture. In fact what I know about Minoan culture can probably be counted on one hand:
I hope that working with this deck will give me a greater appreciation for and knowledge of Minoan culture.
The deck is packaged in a sturdy cardboard box with an accompanying companion booklet. The booklet offers a brief introduction to Minoan art, civilization and culture as well as information about the origins of the artwork incorporated into each card. There is a lightheartedness and joyfulness to many of the images, giving me the sense that Minoan culture didn’t take themselves too seriously. I don’t get the sense of pompousness and elitism that I often feel from Greek & Roman art – as though they’re above human frailties and emotions.
According to the companion booklet, “The suits of the Minor Arcana, Earth, Sea, Sky, and Art, illustrate the great powers present in the lives of the Minoans. Earth shows children of the Mountain Mother, Sea for companions of the Ocean Father, Sky for the Lady of Heaven and Art for their own expressions of humanity. Sea and Sky are used rather than the more abstract Water and Air because these represent realms of the divine rather than elemental concepts.
The number cards for Earth, Sea, and Sky portray living creatures of those realms, as one of the hallmarks of Minoan art and religion is their exuberant embrace of the natural world around them. The number cards for the Art suit show Minoan people engaged in everyday activities.
The Minoans had no known numerology. The images are assigned to the cards by the correspondence of their energies alone. Also, they do not represent a progression of quantity , but rather stand for the selected qualities, no one of which is greater than another. The key concepts for the Ace through Ten are:
Ace – Individuality
Two – Sensitivity
Three – Creativity
Four – Practicality
Five – Adaptability
Six – Harmony
Seven – Spirituality
Eight – Power
Nine – Consciousness
Ten – Transformation
The Court Cards in the Minoan Tarot are Worker, Priestess, Master, and Mistress. The Workers relates with the energy of the suit in a physical and practical way. The Priestess expresses spiritual direction and action. The Master and Mistress are aspects of the God and Goddess as represented in the realm of Earth, Sea, Sky and Art.”
As an introduction to the deck, I asked “What will this deck teach me?” I drew Art Five, Visionary (Hermit) reversed and Earth Seven reversed. Before looking at the book, my interpretation is that working with this deck will be a struggle but it will be a fun, playful one. It will help me explore areas within myself and connect with my inner spirit but it will be an uphill climb inward. If I want to get the most from this deck I will need to be persistent and stubborn to receive the maximum benefit.
For each card, Ellen offers a background on the symbolism and what it is believed to have represented to the Minoans. She also explains the origins of the artwork as well as three messages from each card. Here are the messages for the three cards I drew:
I think each of these messages fits with my take on the card, which means that while these card meaning might not be standard RWS, they are somewhat intuitive.
A few other favorite cards I pulled from the deck include:
Art Eight, Earth Worker, Sea Ace, Sky Ten – these cards give you a taste of how Minoans viewed the world around them and their connection to it. They seem to play with the bulls rather than trying to dominate and control them. There is a lightness and playfulness to the art that vibrates off the cards. I want to dance and play with these charming people and the creatures that inhabit their world.
I especially love the images on the Oracle and Earth Priestess because they show two different aspects of the Snake Goddess, one of my favorite goddess images. She touches my heart with her serenity and simple strength. She has no fear of the snakes and wears them as ornamentation to show her connection with them. I don’t get a sense of domination but of collaboration and cooperation. I can almost hear them whispering secret knowledge in her ears as she nods her head in understanding.
Ecstasy also makes me smile. The dancing priestess is lost in her groove. I feel a sense of ecstasy and pure joy shine through this card. It reminds me of a line from a 70s song Magnet and Steel, “You’re a woman who’s lost in your song.” She has surrendered to the rhythms coursing through her body and celebrates them. She is not truly lost forever but is in a moment of trance, of divine connection. She reminds me of a Sufi dervish, using her dance to create an ecstatic trance state that connects her with the sacred; with the Universe.
There are many lovely cards in this deck all offering glimpses into Minoan art and culture but does that make it a good Tarot deck? I’m sure we’ve all had experiences of purchasing a deck that looks lovely but doesn’t speak to us (I’m something refer to this as a dumb ditz deck). If a deck is lovely to look at but has no depth or character then I often find them useless. I don’t feel this way about this deck. In fact I’d describe it as just the opposite – I think this deck will prove to have quite a learning curve because there is so much meaning and symbolism to be unearth and teased out from each card. This deck strikes me as one that will lead its users down the path to learning more about Minoan culture so that you can acquire greater depth of understanding the symbolism and meanings of these cards. Of course I also think it’s entirely possible to work with this deck and use the imagery to develop your own intuitive meanings without any further knowledge of Minoan culture. It’s a matter of preference.
My biggest complaint about this deck is it’s size. They are the same size as the Dark Goddess Tarot which means the deck will be difficult to shuffle for someone with small hands. I consider myself to have medium-size hands and I find them a challenge. So I will give the deck a borderectomy (I have grown to dislike borders on my Tarot cards) and that should make shuffling the cards easier. Oh and I would love it if Ellen created a longer, more detailed companion book but I digress.
So, to wrap it all up – do I recommend this deck? It depends. If you find yourself drawn to ancient cultures I think you will find much in this deck to feed your interests. If you are interested in learning a bit about an ancient culture that was less aggressive and misogynistic but no less cultured and civilized than Mycenaean Greece, this deck will intrigue you. If you seek decks that challenge you to expand your horizons and explore new perspectives and meanings for the cards, this deck will enthrall you. If you want to support privately printed, small batch published decks then this will fit your bill.
I will admit that prior to actually seeing this deck I was on the fence about acquiring it. The likelihood is that I would have purchased it to support Ellen if for no other reason. Now that I’ve played with it a bit and explored it energies I am eager to give it a longer test run and see where it takes me. The artwork is lovely and calls to something within me I wasn’t even aware existed. It tantalizes me like sunlight sparkling across a still lake. It shimmers and dazzles but in a quiet, understated manner like a classic beauty who is at first overshadowed her her more showy, extroverted sisters but whose true value is soon acknowledge and honored.
So if you haven’t already done so, get your copy of the delightfully delicious Minoan Tarot here
And if you’re still up in the air about purchasing a copy, you can read additional reviews here
Created by by Arnell Ando
Published by US Games ISBN:1572815396
The LWB says: A free-spirited woman initiated into the mysteries by her openness and dedication to self-study. This may lead her in many directions: magic, spirituality, philosophy, psychology – but the eventual outcome is the same. Intuitive and wise, she is a natural healer, though secretive and guarded. She is surrounded by her familiars: the raven, black cat, and snake.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: She peers into the crystal ball, scrying the future and peering into the past. The crescent moon gracing her brow connects her to the psychic world – our inner landscape of hopes, dreams and nightmares. The cards falling from the table are simple playing cards but their message is clear to her. She is The Sorceress and her sanctuary is not a place for the faint of heart. Are you willing to risk what will be revealed to her and by her? Are you ready to face the truths hidden in those deep places in your soul you prefer to avoid?
The Sorceress is self-contained and secretive. She guards the keys to awe-filled mysteries and can unlock the powers of the hidden world. Before giving you even one hidden key she must test you. She will look into your soul and see if you are ready to handle the power and responsibility of such knowledge. If you are not, then she will help you and teach you to become ready. She is not unforgiving but she is unpersuadable. You cannot charm her into giving you the answer you seek.
The Sorceress aka The High Priestess not only guards these mysteries, she also guides us through them. She helps us find our way through seemingly dark and frightening landscapes that make no sense. She can offer us a small light of hope, help us find the familiar in the darkness and not fear. She leads us into the core of the labyrinth to find the heart of who we truly are and then she helps us heal from whatever lingering pain holds us back. She is guide and mentor, healer and teacher. If we are willing to face her in her sanctuary there is much to gain but the learning may prove to be a painful, transformative and ultimately healing process.
Blue Rose Tarot
Created by Paula Gibby
Published by Soul Guidance
The Book says: “What does she tell [The Fool} with such eloquence? That not everything he needs to learn can be perceived with the naked eye or sensed with the physical body that delights him so. She gives him a sense of the awe and mystery of the great No-thingness. She gives him a sense of its great cosmic cycle and its universal rhythms. She gives him a glimpse of the eternal. More importantly, she gives him an awareness of the eternal, for one cannot seek it out if there is not realization that such a state of being even exists.
This glimpse, this awareness, along with a hint of what it takes to find this state of being again … these are the great gifts of the High Priestess, the Spiritual Mother.”
TarotBroad’s Buzz: The High Priestess almost seems to be coming out of the wall at us. It’s as though she’s ripping through the veils of time and space and entering our awareness to bring us a message or offer guidance. A chalice sits on a table in the center of the room. What does it offer – healing, insight, knowledge? The butterflies reinforce the sense that this woman is otherworldly and connected to our spirit freed from all boundaries and limitations. It’s as though I walked in expected a gypsy woman to tell my future and instead met a Goddess.
She seems ageless, timeless; both a being of the otherworld and yet real and grounded in this one. Her aura glows with power that she has learned to use wisely. I have a feeling she has made mistakes along the way but only once and then she learns from it and grows stronger and wiser. She is almost terrifying. As I look at her I feel the need to kneel and pay obeisance. I feel unworthy to enter her presence because I am so flawed and arrogant.
However that is her mission, her calling in life. She is there to gently lift us up and offer guidance and wisdom. She reminds us that our mistakes are lessons and the only way to true wisdom is to embrace those lessons. She knows human nature and while it may sadden her she is realistic too. She knows there is potential for abuse of her powers and knowledge. She knows that there are those who seek it only for their own glory and fame. However she is a true spiritual leader. She offers the wisdom and insight to all. What we choose to do with it is our decision.
Wheel of Change Tarot
created by Alexandra Gennetti
Published by Destiny Books, 1997
The Book Says: The High Priestess is a woman whose life is full of wisdom. To attain this wisdom she has always been observant, and she has, in her many years, attained the respect and ancient knowledge of her people. She is the repository of healing wisdom, of mythology and of the pattern that shows itself through nature. She is the one who teaches women’s mysteries to all the young and changing girls and encourages the menfolk to honor and to respect the women. Because she has lived through four of the five stages of woman’s life, she has learned her wisdom through practical experience, which is the surest way to learn. Through her years of experiences and through a life truly lived, she is respected by her community for the knowledge she holds and uses to help her people.
When this card is part of a reading, think about feminine intuition and knowledge. This is a time in which these attributes will influence your decisions. Intuition is partially a function of prior experience. We can sometimes predict the outcome of a particular situation through intimate knowledge of the participants or through understanding a similar incident in the past. The wisdom of the High Priestess is a kind of knowledge we use to move forward every day when we anticipate the outcome of our actions.
The High Priestess is the symbol of esoteric wisdom and the power of the ancient wise woman of the temple, who could see the future in signs around her. This card also symbolizes the need to study the ancient past in an effort to understand our historic motivations and present needs.
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card represents the search for knowledge and understanding of human nature, but from a sympathetic and supportive standpoint. This is not the clinical, objective approach used by science. It is the knowledge and wisdom gained by watching and observing and still being able to care and want to help despite human frailties.
The High Priestess is the type of person who is dedicated to helping her people. Her energies are not limited to her immediate family – they are meant to serve the tribe, her people. I’ve often thought one of the reasons the High Priestess is often shown as an older woman or a “virgin” is because her energies cannot bloom as long as she needs to focus on the day to day concerns of family life.
The High Priestess is not a mother (at least not anymore) or a wife. She is independent and solitary. She needs to be able to focus on her quest for knowledge and wisdom. At the same time she interacts with her people and cares for them – she is their spiritual mother tending their spiritual wounds and needs. I get a feeling of peace and acceptance from this High Priestess. She is a woman who does what she does because it is her calling. She doesn’t feel the need to follow the strictures and instructions of others. If “the rules” say to do it this way but she feels that way is more effective, she trusts her intuition. Her own instincts and inner wisdom mean more to her than any external dogma. She has learned enough from her experience and studies to trust in herself.
Mansions of the Moon
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card connects with many of the aspects of the High Priestess. It is the less visible side of feminine nature. She is not as obvious and noticeable as the more fertile Empress. But her presence and power is necessary and just as fruitful.
This High Priestess is our guide through our inner landscape. She connects us with our inner spirit, our lunar nature, our night selves, our dreamy side. Her influence in your life may be not as obvious at first glance but has just as much impact. She holds the keys to both hidden and revealed knowledge. She helps us leap through the different phases and aspects of our own spiritual lives. Whether you are male or female the High Priestess leaves her mark upon you. She is that secret side of ourselves that just “knows” things. She can speak the language of the birds and the beasts and she is the Moon which follows us home. She is the older aunt or female cousin who initiates us into secrets with which mother is uncomfortable. Her arms are wide open to welcome us into her world but she cannot hold and comfort us – that is not her function. She has other tasks that are more important that kissing a skinned knee or soothing an aching head.
She is Vivienne in Mists of Avalon, the Fairy Godmother in fairy tales, and such mystics as Hildegard of Bingen or Theresa of Avila. She is the archetypal lunar female – complete unto herself, distant and sometimes cold. But also strong, independent, and fascinating. She will guide you to places you never dreamed existed and which may demand that you stretch and expand your horizons beyond what you previously thought possible.
Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999 ISBN 0-89281-720-8
The Book says: This is the goddess Brigantia, the Mistress of Truth, the “High One”, who guards the land by truth, health, and creativity. The seer-priestess is from one of the pre-Christian sisterhoods whose insight guarded the ways between. What is the source of your truth?
Keywords: Wisdom, mystical vision, study and learning, spiritual protection, the inner life, fostering potential, dreams, intuitive insights, ethical values.
Reversed: Ignorance, surface knowledge, passivity, in thrall to illusions, values compromised, superstition.
Soul-Wisdom: The Guardian of Truth perpares the Soul to seek for truth hidden in all places. The seer unfolds the patterns of destiny to the Soul. What is the source of your truth?
TarotBroad’s Buzz: This card represents the quest for inner knowledge and guidance. It is not the solitary quest of the Hermit, but it is seek out the wisdom of the ancients that is available if one is willing to look. Brighid is triple Goddess of Healing, Inspiration and Creativity. But she does not offer these gifts to just anyone. You have to prove yourself worthy of her gifts. She helps those who help themselves. She will offer you comfort and protection, but you must also show her that you are willing to do the necessary work to be the recipient of her gifts. One of the things I’ve always loved about Brighid is that many of her stories show that she has a sense of humor, in fact sometimes a bawdy one. There is nothing quite so cool as a Goddess that enjoys a good time.
Just as the seer-priestess must make her way through the woods alone, so must we search for our inner truths and mystical visions on our own. The Guardian will protect you along the way, but she will not coddle you. After all this is that really cool aunt you loved visiting, not your Mom.
Fascinating! I think maybe things are starting to turn around a bit for me. Maybe this is what the cards were trying to tell me. I need to share my story, tell my truth to others. It’s time to explore the inner me, the hidden me and my unique and different perspective on the world.
There is something very powerful and empowering about these two cards in response to this question. They are both Major Arcana which to me suggests this is has the potential to be a major, life-altering event for me. If nothing else it can help shift my perceptions in a way so that I start to consider the value I can bring to whatever endeavors I pursue.
The High Priestess shows me that I have the ability to tap into my deepest self, my true nature. I can re-connect with my instinctual side and learn how to channel that in a way to benefit me and others. I love the image of the High Priestess walking in a woodland surrounded by wild creatures. She is part of this natural landscape. She is the guide, the interpreter between human’s wild nature and our civilized side. She can help us reconnect with our wilder, more instinctual selves but only if we are truly ready for it. I have often had a resistance to the High Priestess and now I think that might be due to the fact that I wasn’t ready to work with her energy. Perhaps now I am ready.
The Lone Man with his closed eyes and emptying purse reinforces that sense of being in tune with one’s deepest self, one’s wild essence. He too is framed by a natural landscape with various wildlife visible. His eyes are closed so he cannot see the butterfly, bird or hart but I’m sure he senses them. His eyes may be closed but his other senses are more open and aware.
The combination of these two cards tells me that I need to open myself up to exploring my other senses, getting more in-tune with my intuitive side. I am very left-brained and that served me well up to this point. Now it’s time to let the right-brain come out to play. I have to be willing to let go of the need for perfection or being able to objectively verify my experience or knowledge. It’s time to learn to trust my instincts and listen to that inner voice. Perhaps once I am able to feel more confidence in this area I can help other similarly challenge left-brained thinkers explore this path too. That’s the story I need to share.