THE GODDESS TAROT
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kris Waldherr is an illustrator, writer and designer. Her works were exhibited in the National Museum of Women in the Arts, she is an author of popular decks such as Goddess Inspiration Oracle, The Lover’s Path Tarot, The Anubis Oracle and books Doomed Queens, The Book of Goddesses and The Lily Maid. She lives in New York with her husband, anthropologist Thomas Ross Miller and their little daughter Thea.
Find out more about her on her website: http://kriswaldherr.net/main/
It is not strictly the goddess oracle deck, it is Tarot deck inspired by goddesses. I find the paintings of Kris Waldherr to be the main advantage. As I have already mention in the review of Goddess Inspiration Cards her graphics appeal to me and the cards are alluring visually. In fact Goddess Inspiration Cards were created after success of The Goddess Tarot as a deck of oracle cards for the users who are not fluent in reading the Major and Minor Arcana.
Obviously when you interpret the readings of The Goddess Tarot, the question arises immediately what to mostly concentrate on: the primary meaning of the Tarot card or the myth about the goddess presented on this card? That is why it is essential to attribute goddess to the arcane adequately, basing on the myths, symbols or elements. It is a complex task and matching female deities to the quintessentially male figures seems to be the main limitation. I must admit that Kris Waldherr somehow managed to fulfil this task. The only things I don’t agree with are:
– incredibly feminine Freyja attributed to the arcane of The Emperor. I find a severe Athena more appropriate choice, however Athena represents the arcane of Justice in this deck (and I admit this assignment makes sense, too)
– I am not convinced by the assignment of the sea goddess to the arcane of The Devil (here called Temptation) associated with an earth sign of Capricorn
– I believe that if you take into consideration the nature of Gwenwhwyfar (‘the May Queen’), the card of Judgement which she represents should rather be named Revival.
I believe and strongly insist that the original meaning of Tarot arcane should be the primary interpretative level and the goddess myth should only be its completion (especially that the mythological background is presented in a very cursory manner in the booklet).
A huge advantage is the possibility to try this deck yourself here.
The deck is really interesting, however remembering the previously asked question (which came first? Tarot card meaning or the goddess myth?) I must say that its semantic chaos is really disturbing. The author somehow took shortcuts because goddesses are only present on the 22 Major Arcana while the Minor Arcana are the reproductions of the images from Rider – Waite – Smith deck while the order is taken from Tarot of Marseilles and the deck of Alistair Crowley. It is actually the deck of goddess half – Tarot .
I also think that the rejection of traditional names is a disadvantage and it may be confusing. If you look at the name of Freyja’s card, Power, you may confuse it with the actual card of The Strength.
Kris Waldherr has attributed divine patronesses to all the four suits of the Minor Arcana and the figures representing each suit have characteristic features of people living in the place where the goddess was worshipped. And so Chalices (beginning the cycle of Minor Arcana against the tradition) are attributed to Venus, Wands to Freyja, Swords to Isis and Coins to Lakshmi.
78 cards + 3 additional ones with the information about the deck
a booklet with an introduction written by the author, short description of the Major and Minor Arcana meanings and example spreads (3 Cards + the Celtic Cross) and some empty pages for notes
In a booklet each card is presented in the following way:
– name of a card
– a short description of goddess (Major Arcana) or the image on the card (Minor Arcana)
– meaning of the card when it is placed in a regular position
– meaning of the card when it is placed in a reversed position
The size of cards is 12 x 8,5 cm
Back side of the card is an ornamental motif of golden leaves placed between vertical and horizontal golden lines on a light blue background.
Athena as Justice
Isis as Mage
Lakshmi as Wheel of Fortune
Nine of Wands
Three of Chalices
Two of Swords
Six of Coins
Copyright©1997 U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
Publisher: U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
O BEGINNINGS – Tara
I MAGIC – Isis
II WISDOM – Saraswati
III FERTILITY – Estsanatlehi (Changing Woman)
IV POWER – Freyja
V TRADITION – Juno
VI LOVE – Venus
VII MOVEMENT – Rhiannon
VIII JUSTICE – Athena
IX CONTEMPLATION – Chang O
X FORTUNE – Lakshmi
XI STRENGTH – Oya
XII SACRIFICE – Kuan Yin
XIII TRANSFORMATION – Ukemochi
XIV BALANCE – Yemanya
XV TEMPTATION – Nyai Loro Kidul
XVI OPRESSION – The Wawalak
XVII THE STAR – Inanna
XVIII THE MOON – Diana
XIX THE SUN – The Zorya
XX JUDGEMENT – Gwenwhwyfar
XXI THE WORLD – Gaia