New deck: Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA

Standard

The random number generator has spoken again and gives me a choice between these decks for this week:

The Rider-Waite was out fairly quickly, even though it was nice to briefly handle my rather unevenly trimmed version again (unevenly due to cutting along the inner borders which apparently framed differently-sized pictures). I remember using it exclusively for a couple of months, and it now has a nice, used feel to it. Nevertheless, it wasn’t the deck I wanted to use this week. I was torn between the other two for a while, but eventually settled on the Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA.

Initial impressions:

This is yet another deck I never used before (I feel as if I say that nearly every week, but then I tend to pick the unknown ones from my suggestions). I don’t have the companion book, but the little white book (LWB) informs me that the majors have had their order reversed, which — they say — is “the Way of the Future.” Likewise, the minors start with the tens as the lowest cards and end with the Aces as the highest ones. Only the court cards keep their traditional order, which here represent “four gradually rising levels of initiation.” According to the LWB, the deck is “based on the traditional Golden Dawn foundation of the Hermetic Cabala.” I’m not sure why I even have so many decks with strong kabbalistic leanings since I don’t have much interest in studying the kabbalah (at least right now). That way, I’m probably missing out on a lot of layers of meaning with these decks, but I’m just not into the rather cerebral approach to spirituality and all the hierarchies that I seen much of what I read about the kabbalah and related things (which may also just show how little I do in fact know!). Since the majors aren’t numbered and no Hebrew letters appear on the cards, it seems easy to ignore all this, though.

All cards have a keyword, which I usually really dislike. So I’m curious to see how I get along with the keywords of the Navigators deck. If I decide to keep the deck, I might be tempted to trim off the keywords and the U.S. Games logo at the bottom…

I know Le Fanu loves this deck due to the androgyny of most of its characters (he has also written a great review of the deck that explains several things I had been wondering about — including the capitalization of “SEA”). I read most of the characters as male, but its a rather feminine maleness that reminds me of “gay interest” vintage photos of male gymnasts, Wilhelm von Gloeden-style “ephebe” portrayals, or posed male nudes in general. Not that this is a bad thing, mind you.

I really enjoy the colors of the deck, in fact that was one thing that initially drew me to it. I also like the animal companions in a lot of the cards and am curious to see how they figure in readings.

The cardstock is fine, not quite as nice as that of the Balbi, but at least they’ve skipped the shiny lamination of the Deviant Moon here.

I think I need to read with the deck now to say more.

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