Witches Tarot (Anglais) Cartes – 10 septembre 2012
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Le livre. Il s'agit d'un véritable livre de 300 pages et non d'un fascicule comme on en trouve habituellement avec un jeu de tarots. IL est en anglais malheureusement mais reste accessible à ceux qui peuvent lire le "basic english". Toute les cartes y sont reproduites en N/B pleine pages au début de l'interprétation de chacune d'entre elles. De plus il y a un chapitre sur le symbolisme des éléments, des nombres, avec des indications astrologiques et la signification des thèmes graphiques ( fleurs, animaux, rivières, montagnes, etc). A tout cela s'ajoute des indication pour l'utilisation de ces tarots en magie Wicca avec plusieurs exemples.A lui seul le livre en vaudrait la peine.
Je recommande vivement ce jeu qui est le seul que je connaisse qui dépasse l'autre "witches tarot" également publié par Llewelyn.
pour débuter, il est vraiment très pratique et permet d'avancer relativement bien dans la connaissance des cartes du jeu.
bien qu'il soit en Anglais cela permet d'apprendre du nouveau vocabulaire et l'enrichir.
je le conseille vivement à ceux qui pratique la Wicca ou ceux qui aiment l'univers de la sorcellerie car le dos des cartes et le thème du jeu s'en inspire .on peur remarquer de belle nuances de couleurs très agréable à manier.
J'adore le détail des cartes et du symbolisme.
Le travail réalisé par l'illustrateur est fabuleux (j'adore l'hyperréalisme et l'esthétique fantasy).
Le fait que Ellen Dugan aie travaillé en si étroite collaboration avec son illustrateur pour détailler si bien la symbolique de chaque carte est vraiment formidable.
Les cartes sont un peu légères et fragiles donc j'ai trouvé des pochettes PVC transparentes qui correspondent parfaitement en terme de taille ! Je recommande vivement : http://www.amazon.fr/gp/product/B00BKNODVI?redirect=true&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_44
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The way the deck was advertised and marketed made me think it would deviate much more from the RWS tradition than it has. I thought it would be much more `witchy' and have many more modes of symbolism not usually found amongst RWS-based decks. The claim that it has "instantly recognizable Pagan symbols" is a bit much, however, as most of the symbols aren't particularly Pagan. As far as the Pagan symbolism goes, Dugan & Evans pay much more attention to the plants and sometimes animal `companions' throughout the deck. The flowers, plants, and trees are more diverse than the RWS standard of lilies and roses and generic non-specific forestry. Dugan has thoughtfully chosen which plants/herbs/flowers and stones to symbolize or emphasize each cards meanings. In some cards Dugan and Evans use animals/birds/mythical creatures that may deviate or be an addition to the RWS-norm. These, too, are added based on Pagan teachings.
The most obvious deviation from the RWS comes from her renaming of the Major Arcana: V - The Hierophant has been named The High Priest (which in some Marseille-style decks, it was previously called), X- The Wheel of Fortune becomes The Wheel of the Year, XV - The Devil is renamed The Shadow Side, and XX - Judgment is called Karma. The High Preist/Hierophant isn't really that much of a stretch and I tend to define the Hierophant as such, personally. The Wheel of Fortune/the Year is kind of a common stretch in meaning, as Fortune tends to indicate chance or luck, while the Year is cyclical and predictable. -I'm not quite so sure about this re-naming, however popular it is within Pagan themed decks. The Devil/Shadow Side I find to be a particularly effective re-naming, as the Devil is a purely Christian symbol, and certainly confusing and sometimes scary to Querants. I am also fond of Dugan's adjustment to Justice to Karma, as they are both very similar in meaning, and Justice has a bit of a patriarchal and Christian undertone to me. Dugan has mentioned an article on Llewellyn (`Every Card Tells a Story: The Story Behind the Cards for Witches Tarot' by Ellen Dugan) that XIX - The Sun portrays her son Kraig as a child.
The Cups suit has some featuring of mermaids. Though, not the Undines of the Element of Water. Any mermaid depicted is a beautiful woman, once top-naked but done tastefully. No "non-pretty" mermaids or mermen, however, make an appearance. Dugan includes seashells on her silver chalices, and they come up as decorations throughout the suit. Dolphins appear in the 8 of Cups and the King of Cups; Starfish appear in the 8 of Cups; in the Page a Fish appears out of her chalice. Pretty much every character in the suit is wearing blue, and most cards depict a scene with some kind of water; ponds, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and the ocean provide backdrops for the suit. In the article `Every Card Tells a Story...' Dugan mentions that her husband is the man appearing in the King of Cups, and that the Knight of Cups is her son Kraig. She also states that the 3 and 9 of Cups feature members of her coven, and that her children Kyle and Erin appear in the 6 of Cups in their youngster days.
The Swords suit shows faeries amongst the scenes in the 2, 3, 5 and Queen of Cups. The faeries aren't detailed or striking and are probably the most un-realistic aspects of the deck. Also, they are all done in monochrome, a single colour with various shades that are usually bright and glowing. These faeries aren't quite the Sylphs of the Element of Air. The birds appearing in this suit are what ties it together. The Ace, Page, Knight and King features hawks; the 4 and 7 of Cups utilizes peacock feathers; the 5 and 6 features dragonflies; the 10 of Cups shows a perched owl; and the Queen has songbirds built into her throne, and blue-jays surrounding her. The backgrounds in the suit of Swords usually have mountains or hills, and occasionally barren fields. Mountains tend to represent the Element of Air, just think of it's Alchemical symbol! The 5 of Swords is one of the biggest deviations from RWS Tradition found in The Witches Tarot; 5 Swords levitate, fanned out, pointing to a dragonfly, as faeries flit about. In the article `Every Card Tells a Story...' Dugan states that the Knight of Swords features her son Kyle, and that the Queen of Swords is her daughter Erin.
Dugan's Wands are all made the same "a blooming branch of hawthorn adorned with red ribbons" (p. 170 of Dugan's Witches Tarot Companion). She tells us that she chose the tree because it is associated with the Element of Fire, but then adds that it is also associated with faeries (of the Air/Swords suit). Perhaps she had to add the red ribbon in to remind herself and her customers that the suit of Wands is indeed representative of the Element of Fire; as the Wands = Fire/Swords = Air association in the RWS Tradition differs from most magickal traditions. As far as mythological creatures go, a few Dragons are featured (which some would associate with the Element of Spirit/Ether) but no Salamanders, the usual associated creature with the Element of Fire. The dragons appear most notably in the 5 of Wands where there is one dragon to represent each of the 5 Elements (Blue for Water, Green for Earth, Gold for Air, Red for Fire, and Purple for Spirit). The other dragons appear as designs on the 6, 9, 10, Knight, and King of Wands. In addition to the dragons, Dugan utilizes mostly golden/orange cats (see: 2, 4, Page, Queen, and King of Wands), which she associates with Fire. Everyone in the suit of Wands are dressed in red and gold. Note that the 6 of Wands could easily be mistaken for the Knight of Wands, as they are both males riding valiantly on horseback. For the suit of Fire, the backgrounds surprisingly have a lot of greenery in them. In Dugan's article `Every Card Tells a Story...', she references a nephew that could be the Page of Wands.
In the suit of Pentacles, all but one card (3 of Pentacles) are done in Gold. This particularly irks me, as per most Pagan and Wiccan traditions, the Pentacle is pretty much always Silver, as Silver is associated with the Goddess; who rules over Earth and the Moon, and the Elements of Water and Earth. Gold is symbolic of the God; who is represented by the Sun, and who rules over the Elements of Air and Fire. While this is usual as per Tarot tradition, I was surprised and disappointed that Dugan followed suit here. It should be noted that these golden Pentacles are traditionally meant to represent the monetary aspect of the suit. No gnomes or other mythological creatures make their presence known in this Suit, which is strange considering every other suit contains them. Instead, Dugan uses a variety of animal companions (perhaps this is commentary on the Earth being the home to a variety of creatures); a cat in the 3 of Pentacles, a raven in the 8 of Pentacles, a falcon in the 9 of Pentacles, a different dog is featured in both the 10 and Queen, the Page features a white hind (female deer), and the Knight features a stag. The scenes depicted in the suit of Pentacles is the most diverse in the Minors, where some scenes are depicted with lush greenery, others are indoors or feature architecture. The 5 of Pentacles varies again from RWS Tradition; a dead tree, dangling with golden Pentacles, stands amongst a barren winter scene. The winter scene is appropriate (and traditional), as the suit of Pentacles and the Element of Earth is associated with the season of Winter. Yet, in the suit of Cups, there is no representation of Autumn. Spring and Summer can be overlooked, due to their usual similarity (and Dugan's abundance of greenery and flowers throughout the deck). Why include ¾ Seasons and not the fourth? Finally, what must be noted is that Dugan includes herself in the 9 of Pentacles. For me, this was unheard of; now I've been enlightened by other Tarot enthusiasts to see that this is not such a rare happenstance. For readers of Dugan's books, this may be distracting (or not). The photo used for her face appears on the backs/"About the Author" sections of her books. The description for her personal card reads: "happy, confident and self-sufficient [...] Her powers are enhanced [...] a quiet nod to her success and prosperity" (p. 240 Dugan's Witches Tarot Companion).
A lot of the imagery is done via computer and with photo manipulation/CGI. I personally like and appreciate that style of art work. Mark Evans produced some gorgeous art here. There are some characters and cards that are portrayed wonderfully, the majority of the Major Arcana is to be noted! The thing that this deck really lacks is consistency; which might not bother some. Some elements of the cards are done very cartoon-like, while other aspects are non-edited photos. I might have liked the deck a lot more had Evans picked a style for portraying the characters and stuck with it throughout the entire deck. Evans could have even just stuck with one mode of characterization per card, and even that would have been better artistically (though it would probably still bother me).
For instance, most of the Major Arcana are done almost entirely in a cartoon-like style. Beautifully executed, and easily relatable. Then we get to VI - The Lovers and while the couple is cartoon-like the Angel is pure photo. Since the Angel is an apparition/transparent, it's not that big of a deal. The Major Arcana goes on, until we hit XXI - The World where the Man is a poorly manipulated photo, alongside the pure photos of the traditional animals representing the Elements/Suits. Then we have a CGI Green Man stuck in the center, surrounded by photos! The lack of consistency in the artwork unfortunately goes up much more in the Minor Arcana. The best example appears in the 10 of Pentacles where we see a completely collaged scene. The dog is purely edited and cartoonized, the grandfather and grandchild wear photographic faces onto CGI bodies, and the background of the couple and house is purely photographic. I find this to be yet another deck where the Majors outshine the Minors drastically. Again, my expectations were rather high due to knowing Evans' has worked with such companies as Marvel, Disney, Sony, Electronic Arts (EA), Star Wars, Star Trek, A Game of Thrones, World of Warcraft, among many others.
On a more positive note, my favourite thing about this deck are the backs! The center is the Pagan/Wiccan symbol for the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, and Crone); the Waxing, Full, and Waning Moons. The Moons are a true picture of our Moon, and are suspended in a starry sky. Its only downfall is that they are not made to be reversible; which, again, may not bother some. The top half of the card has a pink/purple/fuchsia glow (perhaps a nod to the Feminine?), and the bottoms are decorated with blue/cyan/mauve (perhaps a nod to the Masculine?). I find these to be truly wonderful backs. -Perhaps one of the best Tarot Card backs I've seen!
The packaging is the standard for a Llewellyn production. There is the decorative outer box, which contains the companion book, and a white poster-board box/divider. The 78 cards come wrapped in cellophane, and usually come underneath or sitting on-top of the white poster-board box. That awkward white box is what Llewellyn provides to store the cards in, though it is not snug (the cards will bounce around!), decorated, or durable.
The cardstock is not exceptionally durable and is prone to `chipping' at the edges; the usual Llewellyn quality. The cards are not glossy or matte, but a rather medium finish. They are not especially slippery, and I find them very easy to shuffle. They almost glide amongst one and other. The borders are minimal and black. Atop the base of the border sits the card titles in a rather nice and unique font, using all capitals for the titles in white.
Dugan's Witches Tarot Companion book is mostly standard companion book fare, though there are some exciting exceptions. Under the section titled `Introduction' includes Dugan's personal experience with Tarot, quick information on general Tarot practices, and includes some advice for reading for yourself and others.
In the section titled `The Major Arcana' Dugan provides a quick introduction to the Majors, before launching into descriptions of each individual card of the Majors. She writes out the imagery of the card, interprets its meaning, and then provides upright keywords, deity and astrological associations, and reversed keywords. Dugan's inclusion of the Deity Associations is the only stand-out aspect of this portion of the book.
In the section titled `The Minor Arcana', she provides another quicky intro, and some basic information on the meanings of each suit before launching into the descriptions. Like the Majors, she includes imagery of the card, interprets its meaning, and then provides upright keywords and reversed keywords. There are no Deity and Astrological Associations provided for the Minors. For the Courts, however, Dugan does include some brief information on the Elements. With the exception of the Pages, she includes Zodiac Associations. What I found most unique about this section was Dugan's inclusion of a message from the Pages, a challenge from the Knights, another message from Queens, and a lesson from the Kings.
In the `Tarot Spreads' section, she gives some basic introductory information, and some info on one and three card spreads. Dugan provides some information on Significators, which some companion books are lacking. She gives the reader 3 Pagan/Wiccan friendly spreads: The Triple Goddess Spread, The Four Elements Spread, and The Wheel of the Year Spread.
The section titled `Magick with the Witches Tarot Deck' is the most outstanding amongst other companion books. Here, Dugan speaks on Tarot Meditation and provides some Mantras. She then gives several cards pertaining to spells that can be used to "Enhance Tarot or Magickal Studies", "Create a Strong, United Coven or Circle", and some for more basic needs; Abundance, Protection, Romance, Broken Hearts and Hearth & Home.
The Appendixes include useful information: `Minor Arcana Number and Court Card Meanings' and `Symbols in Tarot Cards'. The latter is a notable exception to most companion books, that I feel EVERY companion book should include! Here, Dugan gives information on some common symbols and most found in The Witches Tarot.
Originally, I was rather disappointed with the Witches Tarot Companion as she is a rather well known author of witchcraft, and I thought she would have much more to offer to the world of Tarot. What I noticed was that my expectations were much too high, and upon fully reading the Companion book I can now appreciate what Dugan has done here is done quite well. Both the deck and book alike place a special emphasis on herbal, stone and animal/creature correspondences. As "The Garden Witch", her emphasis is much more on the Natural Craft of Witchery; for whatever reason my expectations lead me to believe/desire a more esoteric approach like that which can be found in The Wizards Tarot Wizards Tarot By Corrine Kenner and John J. Blumen. Together, these two decks make a more complete view of Witchcraft and Paganism (from my perspective).
Overall, while it wasn't what I had expected or desired, I can appreciate this deck very much for what it is and what it does have to offer. For those looking for something a little witchy or Pagan, this may be an option for you. I don't find that it is particularly well-resembling of either group as a whole, but rather leans towards the Natural aspects of the Craft. For the most part, the cards are attractive, and contain the standard RWS-symbolism. I personally think that the deck is much more suited to a novice Tarot reader, as it offers nothing new or spectacular for an advanced student of Tarot. For those who are Witches, Wiccans, or Pagans; I think that regardless of your Tarot experience it would be a lovely addition to your tarot collection.
Now, in response to some of the other reviews about the artwork - yes, there may be one or two cards where some of the images are "too perfect." Actually, the only card where I really notice this is the Queen of Wands. The cat and the woman's face look like photos but the rest of the piece looks like a drawing. But this is a very minor detail. I have dozens of decks and there are always a couple cards that I don't love. This deck is, overall, spectacular.
The artist's use of models/photos for this deck makes the images more realistic while still preserving a look of fantasy and mysticism. I know other artists who also use models and photos for their work and yet I see some other reviewers object to this; I think the realistic images give this deck personality - you can feel the story that each card portrays.
And the book is, as all of Dugan's other work, excellent. I love the inclusion of the black and white images in the text so you don't have to shuffle through the cards to see the one being described and I particularly like the Triple Goddess Spread she introduces. Her experience is evident and her insight is helpful to new tarot readers.
Featured on the box is The Moon card from this deck, and a lovely Moon I find her. The set includes a large outer box and a full sized companion book written by Ellen Dugan, as well as an oversized and flimsy white cardboard box which is meant to hold the cards, I suppose. Here I really must chastise Llewellyn for the spectacularly terrible packaging their decks receive, and as someone who buys nearly every new release, I can vouch for the fact that their packaging is only getting worse. In the first place, the boxes of the last several decks I have received from them have fallen apart almost immediately, and in the second place, the inner box meant to hold the cards offers absolutely no protection for the cards. They slip and slide in there, and the box would not hold up to a moth alighting upon it, so it is nearly worthless. They do tend to print a satin tarot bag for each deck they publish lately, so I wonder if they intentionally make the packaging so terrible you feel you have to spend more money on the matching bag. As a collector as well as a reader, this really saddens me. Very few of my decks ever leave my collection, but I would love to have boxes for my precious decks that stand the test of time, not to mention if I do decide to resell a deck at some point it is far less valuable with a box that is destroyed. As the US distributor for Lo Scarabeo, a company that issues their decks in sturdy boxes and their sets in nearly perfect packaging with heavy cardboard, magnetic closures, and secure places for the card to be kept safe, Llewellyn really should take a clue from their partners and improve this.
The packaging of the publisher, though, has little to do with the deck, which I have found to be a wonderful reading deck. I must give full disclosure and mention that I am not a witch, nor Wiccan, nor even really that passionate a pagan. My own spirituality is more of an earthy kind of Christianity, one in which I believe the Trinity holds God and Goddess both, where this is the world they made together and it deserves to be honored, and one where I believe there is no more personal relationship than each person shares with the Divine, and it is not my place to pass judgment on anyone. That being said, I really enjoyed the The Witches Tarot Companion book, written by Ellen Dugan. I doubt there is a lot of new information in there for older practitioners of Wicca or similar earth based religions, but it was a great starter course for me, someone with little experience in the subject. Many of her interpretations give examples for coven dynamics. Each card meaning gives a large grey scale picture of the card, a description, elemental and astrological associations, as well as reversed and upright meanings. As with all books with meanings, I suggest you take what you can use and discard the rest. Artwork that speaks to you should always do most of the work of a reading.
Physically, the card are near 2.75 inches by 4.5 inches, and fit nicely in the hand.The card stock is thin, though seems durable, and lightly varnished with no shininess or stickiness to them. The black border do show wear rather more quickly than I would prefer but that seems to be an issue with all dark bordered card. The backs feature a triple goddess symbol made from the actual phases of the moon set against a galactic backdrop, which is not fully reversible, with red being the top of the card and blue being the bottom. You will have to decide for yourself if this bothers you. There are 22 Major Arcana, with Strength at Trump VIII and Justice at Trump XI. Some of the Major Arcana have been renamed, such as the Hierophant becoming The High Priest, The Wheel of Fortune becoming The Wheel of the Year, The Devil becoming The Shadow Side, and Judgment becoming Karma. The pip cards are fully illustrated and the suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, totaling 56 Minor Arcana. Some neo-pagan decks assign the element of Fire to Swords and Air to Wands, but this deck follows Waite Smith tradition and uses Wands as Fire and Swords as Air. The court cards are Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings.
Computer generated art is a very subjective thing, and some people love it while others loathe it. As for myself, there are many cards I do not care for aesthetically when they are by themselves, but in a reading they all look beautiful. There are many symbols in the cards and most of them will be familiar to students of Waite Smith tradition, as well as many pagan symbols to read for people who enjoy that tradition.
This is probably a good deck for a beginner who enjoys CGI and wants to learn more about paganism or becoming a witch, since the book is so full of information and the symbolism so closely follows Waite Smith tradition. The author is quite knowledgeable about both and writes in a clear, concise manner that is also fun to read. The only nudity is the backside of The Star, and there is no gore or blood, with minimal violence in the images. All readers have different experiences, but it read very intuitively and gracefully for me, and never once did I puzzle over what the cards may be trying to express to me.
I have found this deck very good at client readings, as well as my own questions, which range from the mundane to the deeply spiritual and personal. For me, it really has been well rounded reading deck which rises to any question put to it.
That said, I do have some comments on several of the cards that seem out of place and are jarring to the flow of the reading, namely the cards with photographs superimposed on the artwork. These are usually heads that don't seem to quite fit and appear stuck on. It seems this was done out of vanity rather than an attempt to keep the integrity of the deck, and adds nothing; instead, it detracts from the beauty of the cards and the ability to work well with the deck.
The worst is the nine of pentacles, where the head shot of the creator, Ellen Dugan, is stuck onto the artwork for no good reason that I can see. Others are: Ten of pentacles, The sun, the world (I have other issues with this as well), the seven of swords, the six of cups, the page of swords, the six of pentacles, and the four of pentacles. These are the most obvious use of photos on the artwork and they are really annoying, and detract from my enjoyment of the cards. There are others, but these don't seem to detract as much and are not as obvious.
Another thing I found was the use of the fluffy white dog that is not warning the fool of the danger of the cliff and instead is looking in the other direction, involved in its own retreat from the edge. Actually, it isn't all that clear if the dog is lying down or running away, but my guess is the latter. Still, it works for me and is gorgeous.
There are some cards that I really love and are particularly stunning. These are: The 8 of pentacles, the ace of pentacles, the eight of swords, the two of swords, the king, queen and knight of cups, 8 of cups, card XX which is re-named Karma (which works for me), the star, the shadow side (for the devil, but yet clearly depicts bondage), the hermit (amazing), the magician, high priestess and the hanged man. The back of the cards - the triple moon on the universe, is delightful and apt.
I would love to see a re-issue of this deck without the distraction of the superimposed photographs. It would then, for me, be perfect for my purposes. I am giving it four stars because of the superimposed photos, otherwise, it would be five. A beautiful deck for witches and cowans alike, and I recommend it highly.
I am editing this because I forgot to mention that the cards are loose without a packet to keep them in. This is most likely due to the fact that a separate tarot bag depicting one of the cards (the moon) can be purchased seperately, for about ten dollars plus tax and shipping. The bag looks lovely, so I did purchase it, but see now that others point out that the quality is cheap. I will comment on this when the bag arrives. The set does come with plain white carboard inside packaging that can be adapted into a box that will hold the deck and a silk cloth(or whatever cloth you choose) for the cards, but it is flimsy and won't last long.
The bag arrived and it's quite nice,a double thickness of poly-acetate meant to resemble satin. The image is beautiful on the open bag, but when closed, the top third, including her face disappears. I wonder what the point is of having a beautiful image that can't be seen on the closed bag.