Seems like only yesterday that the Mary-el Tarot invaded my consciousness on social media. At first I was totally intimidated, in much the same way that I was by the original Thoth tarot (the Mary-el is based more in the Thoth tradition than the RWS). The imagery was so visceral, even shocking in some cards, that I wasn’t sure I could read from it.
I did eventually pull my courage together to purchase the deck. It still looked like a mess of conglomerated archetypal imagery, although some of the colors and the willingness to make the paintings so textured they seemed touchable, was rather appealing, in a challenging way.
It’s the Book!
The key, it seems, to understanding the Mary-el, is to read the wonderful book that goes with it. Without Marie White’s tapestry of words to weave together mysticism and mythology, her deck seems quite opaque to interpretation. But with this key, a deep and wondrous inner world opens up, a world created by our ancestors to inform our own soul work. Just amazing.
This deck is one of very few where I continue to consult the book as I make my own interpretation of a multiple-card draw. And it’s not because I need a crutch at this point in my Tarot reading; it’s just that Marie’s insights are so comprehensive and detailed that I keep finding new symbolic and semantic ways to weave my own interpretations.
Take this past Sunday’s draw (I’ve made the Mary-el my deck of choice for a Sunday draw and meditation on the symbolism of Tarot). There is a super-cool imagery connection between the Six of Cups and the Moon card. See the crab hands above the water (that’s Archangel Uriel rising)? Just like the crab in the RWS Moon card! Of course, Marie’s Moon card is a bit different, taking us into the depths of the death and rebirth (check out the vulture) as well as other cycles, in accordance with the Moon’s cyclical changes in the night sky and her fondness for what looks like Aztec astronomical symbolism.
And then I got two sixes in this draw, and two archangels: Uriel in the Cups, and Raphael in the Swords. And now that I can read Marie’s stories about her Tarot paintings and their connection to archetypal symbols, pulling them together into a message just flows:
With the protection and guidance of Raphael and the strength of Uriel (manifested in loving people around your and in your self-exploration), face your fears of the unknown dark within your own soul and the cyclical challenges of your own Moon phases to rise out of those fears into the light of new revelation.