The beautiful box caught my eye on a shelf at The Stone Moon in downtown Bellingham, Washington. I've been looking for a true-to-RWS deck for a while. With no sample available in the shop, this was an intuitive purchase that I do not regret making. This is a very sturdy box for a Lo Scarabeo published deck. The LWB (Little White Book) is sturdy and stitch bound. There are 74 English pages with a message from each card, along with a description of its symbolism. There are no symbols or markings on the pages for the minors, so I colour coded the pages according to suit. Included in the LWB is a 6-card "Thelema Spread to help you get in touch with, and understand how to achieve your goals". The cards are laid out in a 6-pointed star placed counter-clockwise from the top (see the reading at the end of this entry).
The Major Arcana follows RWS and the small guidebook gives an ample description even for beginning readers. Each of the cards contains a character except for X - The Wheel and XVI - The Tower. The "Wheel" is not a wheel of fortune but rather a karmic wheel of life acknowledging life's natural cycles and how we navigate through those changes. The message in the LWB for The Tower is an interpretation for the 4 of Pentacles in many decks. "They cannot see the beauty of the world while inside," (so let's blow this tower up!). If we cling tightly to material possessions or spend too much time guarding our treasures, we lose perspective on the true value of those treasures. Most of the major arcana are stunning; a few of the characters have odd expressions or look overly posed (The Magician, Justice, The Hanged Man). The charioteer is staring straight ahead (or perhaps gazing internally) with no regard for driving the horses. The horses seem to be gazing at each other as if to say "should we just take charge?". I am also trying to reconcile one pair of wings for both horses or do the wings belong to the chariot itself? The wings seem far too celestial to be attached to the wooden-wheeled cart. Overall, the fairy-tale "renaissance-ish" theme works.
The suit of Wands is full of golden light and fiery energy. Five cards contain no people. The Ace (see top image) seems to be emanating from the centre of the earth or from deep inside a volcano. Considering this is the suit of fire, there's not a lot of action here. When I first glanced at the Five of Wands, I thought the wand at the top of the pentagram was floating, ready to take off, which had me thinking in a new direction about this card. The LWB description however, says that all five wands are planted in the savannah. In a spread, the 10 of Wands may reveal what the man has noticed in the earth. Even with that heavy burden, he has taken the time and effort to stop and kneel down.
The suit of Pentacles is green and earthy. The Ace, Six (hands only) and Ten contain no characters. I really wanted to love this deck, but the closer I look the more I am questioning the artist's choices. In the 3 of Pentacles the painter looks dreary rather than inspired. I do like that she is working with her left hand. Why is there so much "concrete" in the Nine? She is separated from her abundance. In this version of the Four of Pentacles, a young girl is a quite a distance from home. She has stopped to rest and gaze at her treasure box. Did she find this? Did she carry it with her? Pair it with the Seven of Swords (below) and this becomes a dramatic tale!
The misty white light that surrounds the swords in many of the cards of this suit is celestial and energizing. It makes them more metaphorical, which I really like. The yogi in the Four and Orlando Bloom as "Legolas" in the Five get two thumbs up from me. This is not usually one of my favourite suits, but in this deck, I like the variations. This is the only suit that has people on all the cards (except for the Ace). Best suit in the deck in my opinion. The suit of Cups is repetitive and it has no colour theme. It looks like it was the final suit created and finished in a rush to complete the deck. Big disappointment!
The court cards follow the traditional page, knight, queen, king sequence. All but the knights are standing on the same balcony that has been modified to suit the suit. The King of Cups looks younger than the Knight of Cups. These may be challenging court cards to read. Again, I'm partial to the swords and I like the butterflies on the four court cards of this suit. The queens and pages aren't as well done as the men of the court. The Page of Cups is a girl. The Page of Pentacles and Wands are boys. The Page of Swords is a young man.
Thanks to Kelly at The Truth in Story for her suggestion for the quick "three card spread flip through the whole deck" as a way of seeing how a new deck reads. I did this as a live demo with a group of people at The Oracle in Sechelt, British Columbia (where I do readings twice a week) and it was an amazing experience to see how easy it was to create stories with this deck. For all of my criticisms in this post, the deck did read very well!
One of the 3 card spreads that came up included the two cards below the VI The Lovers in the past position and the XIX The Sun in the future position. What struck me was that this was the same couple on both cards - two souls deeply connected not in a linear timeline sense but energetically lifetime after lifetime. It was such a beautiful realization.
So let's look at the Thelema Spread described in the LWB. Here is a quick and brief analysis if I take a personal look at the cards. How can I expand my client base as a reader? Where should my focus lie? (See image below.)
Card 1 top of the star spread: What goal should I work on right now? 4 of Swords: It's funny, I've been neglecting my personal meditation practice recently, so this confirms what I already know.
Moving counter-clockwise - Card 2: What helps me on this journey? 7 of Wands: Here I see defending the fortress more as staying true to my beliefs - not compromising my spiritual practices for a more "normal" career. This is the suit of fire - can you feel the "burn the witch" energy from the onlookers?
Card 3: What emotion can help me achieve my goal? I The Magician: Again, stay true to my beliefs, use all the tools in my box. Get even more familiar with how each of the "tools" work with and support the other. Incorporate teachings of yoga and reiki into your card interpretations confidently and - always keep a humble heart. There is still much to be learned.
Card 4: What should I leave behind? 8 of Wands: Leave behind the need to rush. Take my time and have fun with this.
Card 5: What is the first step I need to take? King of Swords: Recognize that you are a master of communication; you have worked on your skills as a teacher, mentor and spiritual intuitive for years. You can easily communicate with the animal realm. Your sword is down. You recognize that the battles are behind you. Your strength lies in spirit communication. Your work will be in helping others to transform their lives (Did I not say I loved the suit of swords in this deck!)
Card 6: What is the outcome if I put this spread into practice? 6 of Cups: An odd interpretation perhaps, but there seems to be an invitation to youthful energy, to innocence. Each client, each workshop is to be looked upon with a fresh set of eyes. You will not grow weary in this work. The energy moving through you will invigorate you. Remember that e-motion (suit of cups) is energy in motion and the waters must keep flowing; never allow them to stagnate.
Jumper Card: 10 of Pentacles: A lovely reassurance that all is and will be well.
The cards talk well to each other easily painting a complete story. This was the same experience I had a few days ago when I did the quick series of 3-card spreads going through the whole deck to see how it read. Perhaps the odd details that bothered me under close scrutiny are irrelevant when the cards speak as clearly as they do.
The Thelema Tarot is not based on the Thelemic religion, nor is it based on the teachings of Aleister Crowley or "The Book of the Law". Thelema refers to the Greek word for "will" or "intention".
Integrative Healing with Sadhana offers instruction and guidance as a full healing package or you can choose individual practices such as Yoga, Meditation, Reiki, Space Clearing or Intuitive Readings in Gibsons BC. Either way, you will be met exactly where you are at and together, we will adapt practices to fit your individual needs improving your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.