Tag Archives: anatomy

Songs of the Journey Home: impressions so far


Here are some impressions (and a few more images) after spending considerable time with the Songs for the Journey Home Tarot this weekend.

The roundness of the cards is something I like in theory but not so much in practice. It makes for awkward shuffling, disorientation while quickly going through the cards, and – at least in this deck – makes it so much harder to even see what’s on a card if you don’t take the time to put it the right way up and then focus clearly. Which is a pity because these images are really interesting for the most part.

The companion book is by far not as preachy as the one for the Wheel of Change Tarot but it still has a noticeable agenda. (Although, to be fair, even the notes by Chesca Potter to one of my favorite decks, the Greenwood, come with something like an agenda.) I’m also not so sure how I feel about the fact that both creators of the Songs for the Journey Home have once been disciples of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (later known as Osho) back in the 1980s as they say in the book. Maybe it’s because I don’t really understand what Osho is/was all about. Or maybe I just distrust any kind of organized spiritual practice.

But for the most part I like the actual cards, and that’s what counts most for me. Many of the images are collage-like drawings and some have pretty interesting spatial perspectives. The art is often amateurish in terms of proportions/anatomy (that means, I believe most deviations from realism aren’t entirely on purpose) but it’s effective nevertheless. And the colors are very nice indeed.

My favorite major so far is the Hermit who regards her reflection in a quiet pool under two palm trees. I also enjoy many of the Earth Songs (7th, 8th, 10th, Innocence/Page and Creating/Queen) as well as the 9th Flame Song, the 3rd Wave Song, and the 2nd Wind Song. The new names of the minors seem a bit unwieldy to me, but that’s probably just lack of habit (Three of Cups isn’t necessarily “easier” than Third Wave Song, after all). But I like the renamed courts (Innocence, Awakening, Creating, Resolving) as a welcome deviation from the Page/Knight/Queen/King model.

Right now I’m thoroughly unsure if this will end up being a keeper, especially since so many people seem to want this deck so much (or is that just because it has become unavailable through the creators?). I don’t think I’ll give the deck away immediately, but I also don’t see it becoming one of my main go-to decks due to the roundness and resulting shuffling difficulties and space requirements for readings.


New deck: Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot


I’ve decided to change to my next deck a bit early since I don’t think I’ll get anything else out of the Deviant Moon today after that huge analysis.

The random number generator gives me a choice between:

Wow, that’s a tough choice! I’ve read with all of these decks before, but not often. All of them seem like good candidates for further use. I think I’ll go with the one that I found most difficult to read so far: Waking the Wild Spirit Tarot.

As before, here are some initial impressions:

This deck originally comes with borders in garish colors that distract hugely from the card images, and two sets of titles (above and below the image, respectively). I immediately wanted to trim the deck when I got it. Since the cards don’t follow any tarot tradition in their imagery, however, I hesitated about cutting off both titles at once. When I learned that Poppy Palin didn’t mean to create a tarot deck but was persuaded by her publisher to turn her deck into one, I decided to trim away the upper titles because they also had the tarot numbering. That pretty much made the cards unidentifiable for me, since the three sheets of mini-descriptions that came with the deck give only the upper titles. I suppose this is one reason why I never got into using the deck. I may still eventually trim off the lower title and border as well, since those don’t add much to the cards anyway. At any rate, I will use the deck as an oracle (with a few tarot influences) in the coming week. I mostly read individual card imagery over assigned meanings across decks, so I should be fine with that.

What bugs me most about the deck are the frequent 1980s hairstyles (hair in general isn’t what Palin draws best). While many of the cards are drawn in a beautifully realistic style, there are some with human anatomy that makes me cringe because it’s so unintentionally off. The right arm of the Spirit Guide/Interpreter/Hierophant is just one example, the left hand of the red-haired person in the Blood Bond/Four of Water is another. I’m also pretty sure that no actual horse has muscles even remotely like the one in the Wild Power/Natural Force/Strength does.

What I like best about Waking the Wild Spirit, is the range and intensity of colors. I love that there are a lot of animals in the deck, and that all of them (except unicorns) can be found in Europe (wolves and bears don’t exactly live round the corner from me, but they do exist). I like the magic-realist style of the images where humans, animals, and various kinds of fairies/sprites co-exist. I also like that most scenes take place outside in nature.

I don’t have the companion book for the deck, but I’ve just re-read two reviews of it that make it sound rather awful. Judging from Poppy Palin’s website, she does seem to be on a mission indeed, and I don’t react well to her style. I’ll include the quasi-LWB (little white book) she has sent with the cards when I bought them from her (there are scans of the three pages at the very bottom of her webpage) in my readings to see if it works for me.

Okay, I think we’re ready for the first reading!

ETA: I think I will choose the least stinky deck next week – this is another one with a rather chemical smell…)