Nope, not a review, this one. I think the only thing you can do with the Mary-el Tarot from Schiffer Publishing is encounter it and then walk away with your mind blown (also your heart, your senses, your sensuality).
I saw the launch of this deck several years ago…and was afraid. At first, the art work struck me as wounded, chaotic, downright weird in the good old-fashioned occult sense of the word. I was so visually and viscerally overwhelmed that I couldn’t digest the symbolism, the patterns that followed the Tarot archetypes. Besides, it was described as a Thoth-based deck, which meant all that business of complex layers of Kabbalah, Hebrew letters, Egyptian deities (I did already know about those), deep psychology, probably astrology. Just too much stuff!
So, I put the deck on my Amazon wish list and procrastinated. Bought other, simpler decks instead. Very nice ones, but simpler.
Then I won the TABI (Tarot Assoc. of the British Isles) Free Reader raffle again this past month. Yay! It comes with a lovely coupon code to indulge one’s Tarot love at Amazon.com. So, this time I ordered it (along with the Celtic Lenormand—more on that in another post).
OK. Deep breath. Holding my nose…here I go!
So, I got sensible and actually went through the cards one by one while reading the book. Wait, first I read the introduction, and then I realized what a beautiful work of philosophy and art this deck is. Some decks are stronger in story than imagery, whereas others are stronger in art than story. Marie White has covered both at depths I have never encountered in a tarot deck (although Aleister Crowley waxes more complex in the Thoth deck, Marie is easier to understand).
I consider myself pretty knowledgeable in both deep psychology and mythology, but I learned so much more just reading the intro to this deck. The breadth of knowledge and connections made among cultural traditions is breathtaking (check out Morta the Crone at left—great agent for the Death event).
“Landscapes of the Abyss” indeed. And in Kabbalah, the Abyss is above the Earthly plane. After reading Marie’s take, I think I’m even beginning to follow the intricate patterns of the Hebrew alphabet and the Tree of Life. O miracle of miracles!
I’ll do a full take on the Major Arcana for this deck next week after May Day (when I get to do a blog hop post on “icky” tarot cards). Suffice to say for now that the symbolism works wonderfully with the archetypal symbols in The Fool’s journey, with lots of fascinating tidbits from Marie’s text to support them.