Friday, January 20, 2017

Tarot Thursday Three: I Love the Celtic Cross

Here I am with another round of Tarot Thursday Three, hosted by Julia from Spiral Sea Tarot! Well, okay, I'm a day late. But late is better than never!

Question One

If you could design your own Tarot deck and have it mass-produced, what theme would it have and what would it look like overall? 

Oh, this is an interesting question. First, I don't think I would want my deck to be mass-produced. My own favorite decks tend to be either self-published or produced by small, independent publishing companies or art collectives. If I created my own, I'd prefer to take that route. That said, I have thought quite a lot about what sort of deck I would create, and I can say that I have yet to decide on the "perfect" theme or design. Perhaps this is why I don't have anything in the works!

I've thought about creating an oracle deck based on Santería/Ifá. I've thought about making a full, traditional-style deck and associating stanzas of the Hávamál with each card (I even have a partial list of card-stanza pairings). I've thought about doing a deck based on my artistic reinterpretations of my husband's photography. But to be honest, nothing feels quite right.

As far as thematic decks go, I'm actually not a huge fan. I do own a few that are particularly well-done and very dear to me: New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, Dark Goddess Tarot, Mythic Tarot, even the Giants Tarot, I suppose. But in most cases I feel that it is too challenging to jam a theme neatly into the Tarot structure, and most thematic decks have weak spots where it seems that the creator had to stretch a bit too much to make a correlation. Examples of this are: the Hobbit Tarot, the Ring Cycle Tarot, and to an extent the Vikings Tarot. So for my own deck I'd probably steer toward a more traditional style, with earthy and simple-yet-clear symbolism. And in terms of media, I'm a fan of painting.
New Orleans Voodoo Tarot
Question Two

How do you feel about the Celtic Cross spread?

Is this a trick question? I have heard many readers gripe about the Celtic Cross, but to be honest, I'm not really sure why. I don't generally like to do large spreads because there is so much meaning to be found in even a single Tarot card that anything more than five seems like overkill. But the Celtic Cross is wonderful when I want to understand the breadth and depth of energies surrounding a person or situation. I am so intimately familiar with the layout that I usually have a clear and immediate impression of what's going on over and under the surface, and for that reason I find it indispensable. There are so many versions out there, but the one I use is laid out thus (minus the significator, which I don't use):

The positions I use are:

1) Heart of the matter
2) Crossing card (elements blocking or strongly influencing the matter)
3) Above (what is on the querent's mind, what is known)
4) Below (energies flowing under the surface of the matter)
5) Past (previous issues impacting the present)
6) Immediate future (where things are heading)
7) Querent (what energies the querent brings to the situation)
8) Environment (people or circumstances influencing the matter)
9) Hopes/Fears (may or may not not be based in reality)
10) Outcome (what to be aware of 3-6 months down the line)

Question Three

If you could have any deck in the whole world (that you do not have already), which one would you pick and why?

If I had been asked this question a year ago, I would have said hands-down, "The Greenwood!!" The artwork is primal and beautiful, and of course it's out of print and nearly impossible to find... such that when you can find it, it's always set at exorbitant prices. It's actually stupid. I think that if I did own it, I probably wouldn't read with it very often, and I'd end up feeling like an idiot for spending the money. I don't long for the Greenwood anymore. Probably (aside from my distaste related to the price gouging) it is because I have grown into a better understanding of how I interact with decks, and what I really like to read with. Nowadays what deck would I love to have? I think Le Tarot Noir, perhaps. I don't own any true Marseilles decks, and the art style is intriguing - reminds me a bit of illustrations in a haunting and captivating fantasy book that doesn't actually exist.
Le Tarot Noir


  1. Yes you mentioned an element of creating a deck that I meant to include in my post - I wouldn't want my deck to be "mass" produced either!

    I like your Celtic cross layout. I'm going to have to try this spread now....but why I haven't tried it is the same as your reasoning of why you don't use it too often: I do just fine with single to four card spreads. Larger spreads are reserved for new and full moons typically. I guess I should have included that in my answer haha!

    For some stupid reason I purchased the greenwood a while back and - duh - of course, never used it. And the meanings were a bit off from traditional ones so it was just eh. I sold it again easily for the same price I purchased it so, all good. But dang that was dumb to even purchase haha.

    1. Wow! You splurged!!!! I am glad to know that you ended up reselling. It confirms my own suspicions ;) (Also nice that you didn't lose any $!).

  2. I don't own any Marseilles style decks either - the Greenwood would be an awesome find but I agree...The price that some of these OOP decks go for is ridiculous!

    1. I have seen people stumble across the Greenwood at places like Half Price Books for $5. What??? That would be great. But anything over $50 requires serious love and dedication ;)

  3. A Santeria deck sounds really interesting! I hope you continue to explore that. The Tarot Noir looks awesome! I am very into Marseille decks right now. Although I'm having a little trouble deciding on one I want to buy, even though they are all mostly the same haha, but they do have tiny differences that set them apart.

    1. Thanks, Dianna! Well, I may hang on to the Santería deck idea... I considered doing a Tarot with that theme but I think it is better to have the freedom of doing an oracle instead. Yeah, there are some pretty nice Marseille decks out there, which makes it pretty hard to choose!! : )

  4. My favourite 'traditional' Marseille is the Isis Marseille - pretty but still with very traditional images. In terms of Marseille-style, I love the Oriental Tarot - a bit different and very lovely :)
    I feel pretty much the same way about the Celtic Cross, though my positional meanings are slightly different :D Isn't it funny how we all read even this "traditional" spread a little differently?!

    1. I will check those out! Yes, I sometimes wonder if the aversion that some people have to the CC comes from the fact that there are just many different approaches to it!