Onward to the next deck! The random number generator has give me these three to choose from:
- Kamasutra Tarot – by an unknown artist (Lo Scarabeo)
- Tarot of Northern Shadows – by Sylvia Gainford and Howard Rodway
- Wheel of Change Tarot – by Alexandra Genetti
The Kamasutra Tarot is already on my list for decks to sell/trade, and a quick look confirms that choice. The Wheel of Change is a deck I used exclusively for a short time a few months ago, so I’m once again going for the one I haven’t worked with at all: The Tarot of Northern Shadows.
I got the deck from an AT friend in a trade for a tarot bag. It is focused on Norse and Celtic myths, deities, heroes, and folklore. I also have a scan of the companion book that contains a very brief introduction, a small handful of spreads, and a good amount of information about the cards (about 1 to 1.5 pages per card).
My favorite card is the World which shows the World Tree according to Norse tradition, with the lower world of Ancestors guarded by a dragon, the middle world surrounded by a snake that eats its own tail, and – connected to it by a rainbow – the upper world of Walhalla (don’t quote me on the correct terms here – as of right now, I don’t have much of a clue about Norse or Celtic mythology, so I may get things wrong at times). On top of that sits the world tree, whose roots reach down into all worlds. The dragon/snake sit at its roots, and an eagle and hawk sit in its topmost branches. The eagle is the ruler of the birds, only outwitted by the hawk who hid on the eagle’s back to be carried up high and then fly over the eagle to be crowned the highest-flying bird of them all.* The middle world shows a bunch of deer, the significance of which I can’t explain right now. A red squirrel runs down the roots towards the lower world, carrying messages (mostly gossip and insults) back and forth between eagle and snake/dragon.
I like that the drawings don’t have clear boundaries but often blend into the white background of the cards. That leaves the scenes open to be completed in our imagination. I’m looking forward to learning a bit more about Norse and Celtic mythology this week, and I’m curious to see how this deck will work for me.
* Added 21 January 2011:
I have to correct myself here. Apparently I got two mythologies mixed up, because the story I told about the hawk and eagle is actually one about wren and eagle, and it’s not Norse but goes back to a fable by Aesop. Apologies for any confusion caused by that, and for any wrong ideas I may have spread! For the record, it doesn’t seem clear why there is a hawk sitting between the eagle’s eyes in Norse mythology.