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REVIEW: UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT BY MARIA CARATTI &ANTONELLA PLATANO

UNIVERSAL GODDESS TAROT

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

MARIA CARATTI uses Tarot, runes, I Ching and a crystal ball for divination, she also deals with magic and focuses on the cult of the Great Goddess, paganism and spells. She is the author of Wheel of the Year Tarot and Wicca Divination Kit and has also collaborated in the development of Secret Forest Tarot and Harmonious Tarot decks. She lives with cats.

Find out more about her on her website:  http://www.mariacaratti.com/

ANTONELLA PLATANO (called by Maria Caratti ‘MagicaAntodalleManidOro“‘ meaning Magical Antonella of the Golden Hands) is an Italian cartoonist. She was born February 12 1973 in Cuneo and graduated from an art college in 1991. She has always been fascinated by comic books and collaborated with Sergio Bonelli Editore, the comics oriented publishing house (she is the co – author of such titles as Legs Weaver and Nathan Never), she has also collaborated with such publishing houses as San Paolo and Rainbow. Antonella has illustrated some popular Tarot decks released by Lo Scarabeo: Witchy Tarot, Gay Tarot, Tarot of the 78 Doors and Wheel of the Year Tarot.  Her favourite techniques are pencil and ink. I have not come across her personal webpage but you can find her profile in a Wikia about comics here.

You can also check the deck’s profile on Lo Scarabeo page and all the cards on Maria Caratti’s Youtube channel. She has also posted some initial sketches of the deck by Antonella Platano on her Facebook profile.

ADVANTAGES

Most important advantage of this deck is the fact that it indeed presents 78 goddesses and nymphs from all over the world. Authors have matched them quite adequately to the Minor and Major Arcana and included not only the most important goddesses but also those less known making the user search and google them. Maria Caratti explains on her page that she initially intended to publish a deck called The Ladies of Magic consisting of around forty cards and presenting the Wiccan themes, however Piero Alligo, an artistic director of Lo Scarabeo, suggested she could instead create the Tarot deck where a goddess would be assigned to each Arcane. It was a real challenge and required deep research in the mythologies, legends and folklore of the world. I have already mentioned in my review of the Goddess Tarot that it is not an easy task to connect the goddesses’ myths, elements and symbols with the original meanings of the Tarot cards.

Most of the choices the author has made seem to  merge successfully goddesses myths with the basic meanings of each Arcane. The best associations seem to be Athena as The Emperor, Aphrodite as The Lovers, Hekate as The Hermit, Arianrhod as The Wheel of Fortune, Ishtar as Strength, Kali as Death, Lilith as The Devil, Morrigan as The Tower and Gaia as The World. As far as the Minor Arcana are concerned , the best assignments seem to be Psyche (Two of Chalices), Leto (Five of Chalices), Maya (Seven of Chalices), Calypso (Eight of Chalices), Hestia (Ten of Chalices), Yemanya (Queen of Chalices), Saraswati (King of Chalices), Sif (Five of Swords), Nehalennia (Six of Swords), Blodeuwedd (Seven of Swords), Fortuna (Ace of Coins), Juno (Queen of Coins) and Lakshmi (King of Coins).

In most cases goddesses are presented in accordance with the cultures they were venerated in and are depicted in archetypical situations and places with typical attributes (with some exceptions which I will present below).

The order and names are taken from a traditional Tarot de Marseilles (Justice as the eighth card and Strength as the eleventh one), authors kept the original names of cards with the exception of The Wheel of Fortune which is renamed simply as The Wheel and The Star (the Pleiades are presented on the card so the name takes plural The Stars).

DISADVANTAGES

I mentioned the cards which seem to be well assigned to the original Tarot meaning but there are also some to which I have some serious objections. Starting with the Major Arcana, I do not think that Demeter, the goddess of earth and vegetation, should represent the card of The Mage who is linked to the element of fire. I believe that much better choice for this arcane would be Brigid who appears in this deck as King of Wands. I do not understand at all the assignment of Kuan Yin to the card of Queen of Wands, firstly because she does not fit the original meaning of Tarot card and secondly because I associate her with the element of water rather than with fire typical for Wands. Studying the legends about her, you will indeed find the description of fire as it is seen on the picture but it is just a piece of plot and it does not characterise the heroine. I absolutely do not perceive Kuan Yin as Queen of Wands, in reality she seems to be her complete opposite smirk2. I would rather match Freyja to this card, especially that she is not present in this deck at all. I do not really understand the reasons why Flora was assigned to a swift like an arrow whizzing in the air Eight of Wands (particularly that she encourages: Lie down with me on this soft grassy carpet and close your eyes in the deck’s booklet), I’d rather see Iris here, however she is Knight of Wands in this deck. I would connect Oya not with the card of Knave of Wands but with Knight of Swords as she is traditionally linked to the element of air, storms and expressing oneself i.e the domain of Swords. I do not really understand what is Inanna, Queen of Heaven, doing on quintessentially earthly Four of Coins.

You also have to face the basic problem whether a goddess really is a goddess zeby. What to do with the figures who are not clearly defined in stories as women? Is it really worth to risk including them in the deck? I can understand attributing Lan Tsai Ho (Lan Caihe), one of Eight Immortals, whose gender is not determined, to the arcane of The Fool, this choice can be explained by the original meaning of this card (ambiguity, lack of focus, numerous different possibilities, something which may lead to many options). However, in the case of Akycha (Seven of Wands) it is doubtful because according to the sources I accessed, Akycha is male. Ten of Wands shows a very interesting motif of Caeneus/Caenis whose myth seems consistent with the original meaning of this arcane, however if we followed this way of thinking, Tiresias could equally be included in this deck.

Unfortunately, unlike Maria Caratti I am not amazed by the illustrations made by Antonella Platano. I do not like this cartoon and comic like style. As far as I know, opinions about Lo Scarabeo’s artwork vary, there are certainly a lot of fans but there is also a large number of opponents. I always repeat after Romans, de gustibus non disputandum, however I have got the right to disagree with the way of depicting goddesses. They are mostly presented in a manner adequate to their eras and civilisations, but in some cases their clothing differs radically, the most obvious examples are Pandora (Four of Chalices), Nehalennia (Six of Swords), Rhiannon (Knight of Swords) and Aine (Knight of Coins).

pandora

nehalennia1

Rhiannon in Universal Goddess Tarot deck by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

aine

Honestly speaking, I do not know whether it is a deliberate action or just a mistake (however after doing so much research, it seems to be rather unlikely). Perhaps I am a traditionalist in this particular area but I simply do not accept such attitude. When I watch the cards of goddesses or historical series, I do want to see the clothing from that particular era and civilisation, not a fashion show à la goddesses or catwalk clothes “inspired by” a certain dynasty. I only accept a deliberate modernisation of archetypes as it happened in case of Cordelia Brabbs’ deck.

ISSUE

78 cards + 2 additional ones, a title card and the one with other Lo Scarabeo decks enlisted

a booklet in English, Italian, Spanish, French and German, it contains introduction by both authors, short messages from goddesses on each card and a spread called The Temple

a box

universal goddess tarot

A booklet added to the cards contains a short presentation of each goddess and her first person message consistent with the original meaning of the Tarot arcana.

The size of cards is  12 x 6,5 cm

Back sides of cards show double female profile joint by a hexagram inscribed in a Wiccan symbol.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena as The Emperor

Athena in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Brigid as King of Wands

Brigid as King of Staves in the Universal Goddess Tarot deck

Demeter as Mage

Demeter in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano

Isis as The High Priestess

Izyda – Hathor w Universal Goddess Tarot Marii Caratti&Antonelli Platano

Lakshmi as King of Coins

Lakszmi w Universal Goddess Tarot Marii Caratti&Antonelli Platano

Seven of Wands

seven of wands

Nine of Chalices

nine of chalices

Five of Swords

sif1

Seven of Coins

seven of pentacles

Back side

2

©2006 Copyright Lo Scarabeo

Publisher:  Lo Scarabeo

ISBN: 888395523-4

MAJOR ARCANA

 0. THE FOOL – Lan Tsai Ho
1. THE MAGICIAN – Demeter
2. THE HIGH PRIESTESS – Isis
3. THE EMPRESS – Astarte
4. THE EMPEROR – Athena
5. THE HIEROPHANT – Aditi
6. THE LOVERS – Venus
7. THE CHARIOT – Eos
8. JUSTICE – Maat
9. THE HERMIT – Hekate
10. THE WHEEL – Arianrhod
11. STRENGTH – Ishtar
12. THE HANGED MAN – Frigg
13. DEATH – Kali
14. TEMPERANCE – Anahita
15. THE DEVIL – Lilith
16. THE TOWER – Morrigan
17. THE STARS – the Pleiades
18. THE MOON – Selene
19. THE SUN – Amaterasu
20. JUDGEMENT – Cerridwen
21. THE WORLD – Gaia

MINOR ARCANA

WANDS

Ace – Bast
2 – Ataentsic
3 – the Horae
4 – White She Buffalo
5 – Pele
6 – Andraste
7 – Akycha
8 – Flora
9 – Angerona
10 – Caeneus/Caenis
Knave – Oya 
Knight – Iris
Queen – Kuan Yin
King – Brigid

CHALICES

Ace  –  Habondia
2 – Psyche
3 – the Graces
4 – Pandora
5 – Leto
6 – Hina
7 – Maya
8 – Calypso
9 – Nike
10 – Hestia
Knave – Hebe
Knight – Epona
Queen – Yemaya
King– Saraswati

SWORDS

Ace – Bellona
2 – Fides
3 – the Norns
4 – Ch’ang O
5 – Sif
6 – Nehalennia
7 – Blodeuwedd
8 – Persephona
9 – Ate
10 – Sakuntala
Knave –  Diana
Knight– Rhiannon
Queen – Tara
King– Coatlicue

COINS

Ace  –  Fortuna
2 – Hemera and Nyx
3 – the Esperides
4 – Inanna
5 – Hel
6 – Acca Larentia
7 – Estsanatlehi (Changing Woman)
8 – Nu Kua
9 – Rosmerta
10 – Ben Saiten
  Knave – Fulla
  Knight – Aine
  Queen – Juno
King – Lakshmi

REVIEW: GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE BY KRIS WALDHERR

GODDESS INSPIRATION ORACLE

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 The Goddess Tarot, 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/

ADVANTAGES

Personally I think that the first advantage of this deck is simply being really pleasant for the eye. If you have already seen The Goddess Tarot created by the same author then you more or less realise what style you can expect. I like those slightly careless, a bit blurry and not fully polished graphics, however I can understand that they may not appeal to everybody.

I recommend this deck to users who appreciate originality, there is quite a lot of more ‘exotic’ goddesses that you will not find in typical decks. It’s a particularly multi – cultural deck, indeed containing deities from all over the world.

Another huge advantage is that in includes ONLY REAL GODDESSES without any cards of Mary or other Christian pseudogoddesses. An author presents the goddesses in an universal way, she pays attention to mythical and cultural rather than detonative layer. You will not find any rituals, invocations or any other forms of goddess cult. I admit that I like this broad perspective, you do not have to be a Wiccan or to believe in goddesses at all to be able to use their cards.

An author suggests that this deck is particularly suitable for people working creatively. She advises to use it in the moment of crisis caused by lack of ideas, simply by asking which direction to head in and then picking a card.

A huge advantage is the possibility to try this deck yourself here.

DISADVANTAGES

It is a very interesting deck but in my opinion it is too large, that makes meanings repetitive and does not allow to present goddess more accurately. In fact just half of the page in the booklet is left for the legends, myths and symbols associated with a particular goddess. It is much too little, especially that many of them is almost unknown.

kris waldherr booklet

I think it would be wiser to pick just 40 – 50 cards but to elaborate the mythical and divination layer. Seriously it makes no sense to create a goddess oracle deck that is larger than Tarot! zeby On the other hand, I can certainly understand an author as the person who is creating her own deck herself. When you come across the goddess whose myths comprise a lot of meanings, archetypes and symbols, it is hard to reject her wink3 .

In general, it is a very good addition to the more regular goddess oracle deck that you are already using. A beginner may get lost in it.

I think that the container is a disadvantage as well because the cards box is made rather unintelligently (however a card bag is added to the issue).

And one more thing, Fricka is much better known as goddess Frigg.

ISSUE

80 cards

a booklet containing information on how to use cards and descriptions of goddesses

a card bag

a box

In a book each card is presented in the following way:

– name of a goddess 

– area of her influence

– key words describing a goddess

– short mythological background

– affirmation

box kris waldherr

The size of cards is  11 x 7 cm

Back sides of cards show a double female figure with wide wings on a yellow background adorned with spirals.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Athena in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Brigid

Brigid in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Demeter

Demeter in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Isis

Isis – Hathor in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Lakshmi

Lakshmi in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

Back side

kris waldherr

Goddesses Inspiration Oracle Guide© 2007 by Kris Waldherr

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

ISBN: 978-0-7387-1167-6

Abeona
Aditi
Aine
Ajysit
Amaterasu
Annapurna
Anuket
Astarte
Athena
Baba Yaga
Bastet
Benzai-ten
Berchta
Brigit
Changing Woman
Chang O
Cimidye
Cybele
Danu
Demeter
Diana
Erda
Erzulie
Fortuna
Freyja
Fricka
Gaia
Glispa
Gwenhywfar
Haltia
Hathor
Haumea
Hekate
Heqet
Hera
Hsi Wang Mu
Huchi-Fuchi
Hygeia
Iduna
Inanna
Isamba
Isis
Juno
Kali Ma
Kishijoten
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Lalita
Maia
Maman Brigitte
Mama Quilla
The Moirae
The Muses
Mut
Nügua
Nut
Nyai Loro Kidul
Ogboinba
Oshun
Oya
Pajau Yan
Pele
Persephone
Psyche
Rati
Rhiannon
Saci
Sarasvati
Sehkmet
Shakti
Sophia
Spider Woman
Tara
Yemanja
Zhinu
The Zorya

REVIEW: GODDESS GUIDANCE ORACLE CARDS BY DOREEN VIRTUE

GODDESS GUIDANCE ORACLE CARDS

by Doreen Virtue

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Doreen Virtue, Ph. D., has completed her doctorate in the field of psychology. She says she originates from the family of people with strong psychic abilities and is a clairvoyant herself. She is particulairly interested in the subject of angels and has already published several books and decks of cards about them which turned out to be very popular.  Studying her biography you will find a lot of TV and radio shows where she appeared (very American style of presentation indeed). She resides in Hawaii. More on her page.

ADVANTAGES

Some of the messages are excellent and well-prepared from the point of view of psychology, such as e.g. Sekhmet (See yourself as strong and victorious. Don’t complain about anything. Don’t blame anyone or any condition. You’re the embodiment of strength, not victimhood), Guinevere (You needn’t be in a partnership to evoke romance; from my own experience I can say you have to grow up to accept this message) or Mary Magdalene (The lower levels of human bickering, judgement, and chaos are just that: lower levels. I choose to do my work from the level of the higher consciousness).

For me personally this deck will always have a sentimental value because these were the first cards of goddesses that I have come across in my life. One of the clairvoyants has been spreading them in a live fortune – telling programme on TV and as the person who has been interested in the topic of goddesses since childhood I was amazed and started to search for them.  Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards was the second deck that I bought (and I have to admit that the choice of decks in my native country is very limited, I bought most of mine in the UK online shops).

DISADVANTAGES

I was communicating easily with these cards for a long time, however when I started to analyse the myths of particular goddesses, it turned out that I can see slightly different messages than the author. And when I started to DIG DEEPER, the reasons to be amazed by this deck suddenly disappeared.

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards is the deck which features not only real goddesses but also literary and religious heroines. Isolde IS NOT a goddess! I do understand that sometimes it is not easy to find a goddess in a myth because after christianisation she was reduced to a common mortal woman (this is probably what happened to Rhiannon, Gwenhwyfar and Morgaine) but despite her Celtic origins Isolde herself has nothing to do with goddesses!

The same objection applies to religious heroines such as Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus. The latter is presented in an arch-Catholic and Baroque style and the author claims that in the West, Mother Mary in undoubtedly the most famous goddess. Well no, Doreen, not at all! Mary has no divine features in any factions of Christianity.

The selection of goddesses to this deck is regular but still somehow controversial. I do not like the overrepresentation of the goddesses from the British Isles. Doreen chose Sulis and Coventina to represent the message suggesting purification and the contact with water. Why? They are both rather unknown and they were in fact venerated only in one place, in Bath on the British Isles. I believe that Anahita the great Zoroastrian goddess of water would be much better choice. She has been highly worshipped all over Persia for centuries and one of the most important ceremony  aimed at purification and consecration of water is dedicated to her. Zoroastrianism is one of few big ancient religions which survived to this day and placing Anahita in this deck would support its worshippers (does anyone know that the parents of Freddie Mercury practised Zoroastrianism?). But I have to honestly admit that the authors of all the decks I have come across for the unknown reasons honour a little known Sulis as the deity associated with water and purification. Anahita does not appear in any of godesses oracle decks, she is only included in Universal Goddess Tarot where she represents the Major Arcane of Temperance.

An inconsistency of style is a huge disadvantage. Doreen does not have one ‘court’ artist and she used the images of twelve different painters in this deck. All you get is a huge mish mash. Apart from really intriguing images of Brigid, Eireen or Kali you come across some really nasty scribbles of Coventina or Dana. I know, I know de gustibus non est disputandum et cetera but the problem is that most of the pictures reflect Doreen’s style anyway. They are  ‘princess-like’ or saying aloud: trashy. Cards are full of goddesses with the faces of little girls, flowers, birds, pastel colours etc. Even Ixchel who was always perceived as a crone here is not older than thirty. Even powerful Underword goddess  Rhiannon, a wife and a mother running like the wind on a palfrey, here is a little girl going slowly on a unicorn. C’mon! In myths and legends only pure and innocent virgins could touch a unicorn! Doreen must be really into unicorns because she made a whole seprate deck for them but Rhiannon has nothing to do with them. Why is a woman infantilising womanhood so much? Why does she treat me as if I were a little girl and squealed with delight thinking about dolls, playing Mummies&Daddies and Prince Charming riding a white horse to take me to the Land of Permanent Happiness?! Avoiding nudity is also a part of this problem. Even Aphrodite, the most beautiful and seductive Hellenic goddess here looks a fainting nymph tightly entangled in seaweeds so that no part of body can be seen. I dare say that through a huge popularity of her product Doreen somehow ‘brought up’ her followers in the same manner. Why? While browsing goddesses cards in Amazon I have recently come across a review of a realistic deck by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky. A lady was complaining about nudity in the images and the fact that ‘there is no card of Mother Mary there’.

It is the same with messages. Generally speaking just like with angel oracle cards the main theme is ‘surrender all your worries to Heaven, everything will be all right’. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to neglect the inner need of praying. Personally I talk to The One&Sophia on regular basis but leaving all the problems to Heavens do not help in self-development. It’s as if you stopped on the level of childhood, after all ‘child is not able to understand the sophisticated world of adults’. In fact, I don’t think it’s good that all the cards are positive by default. The world around us is not always positive and it is our duty to learn how to deal with negativity and to be able to do it even if we run out of faith. Have a look at the card of Sedna who was first brutally treated by her beloved and then her own father pulled her out of the boat to the sea and cut her hands off so that she couldn’t get in again. And all of the sudden she receives from Doreen a cheerful message Infinite Supply. You are supplied for today and all of your tomorrows because the Inuit believed that fish came into existence from her amputee hands. And guess what is best? When you look at the image, you will not find a cruelly treated disabled woman but a sleepy girl with her head resting on hands (!). This is the deck for consolation, not for an inner work and deeper insight into yourself. Unless you start to dig deeper and analyse actual myths  . But then you will suddenly find out that Athena would not suggest following an intuitive wisdom at all but the rules of logics instead. Or that the mother of Diana (or more correctly Artemis who has a separate card in this deck which even augments the confusion and the chaos of meanings) did not have a painless labour at all! Even though she gave birth to Artemis painlessly according to the Roman writers, she was struggling to deliver Apollo, Artemis’ twin, for many days and nights.

I have to say honestly that I do not like this whole esoteric hotchpotch which Doreen presents in her decks. ‘Call upon goddess to…’, ‘Ask angels for…’, Christian figures, Pagan figures, Ascended Masters, etc all mixed together. If we throw everything we have in our fridge to a cauldron, we will not get a tasty soup at all. You have to remember that people using these cards were more or less brought up in the Christian faith where you believe in One God. Therefore if angels, unicorns or goddesses say to you ‘Surrender all your problems to us’ then why do you need God at all? I think that anyone who creates the deck of goddesses cards should take it into consideration because really there is no need to become a Pagan to use such decks. You don’t have to actually believe in goddesses to grow and develop your mental strength by using their cards.

This is why with my whole respect to Doreen I believe she should stick to the angel cards and leave the topic of goddesses to people with more professional attitude. Besides it seems that she treats her goddess oracle deck somehow with disregard as one of her many decks. It is not recommended nor featured on her page and it is not so easy to find it among others. I guess it’s similar to mothers with multiple children: you take care of all of them but you can’t concentrate on all of them.

ISSUE

44 cards

a booklet where each card is presented in a following way:

– name of a goddess, name of a card, short, one or two sentence introductory message from a goddess

– message from goddess

– different meanings of a card

– a short presentation about a goddess

and advice how to use cards

a box

doreen virtue

The size of cards is slightly bigger than the standard one (12,5 x 9 cm) and they have ‘gold plated’ edges. The issue is very good and comfortable: a box is small and handy and both booklet and cards are well-fitting.

Back side suggests these are the cards of queens rather than goddesses.

EXAMPLE CARDS

Athena

Brigid

Brigid in the deck of Doreen Virtue

Demeter

is not featured in this deck

Isis

Lakshmi

Back side

Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards copyright @2004 by Doreen Virtue

Publisher: Hay House

ISBN 978 – 1 – 4019-0301 – 5

ISBN 1 – 4019 – 0301 – 0

Abundantia
Aeracura
Aine
Aphrodite
Artemis
Athena
Bast
Brigid
Butterfly Maiden
Cordelia
Coventina
Damara
Dana
Diana
Eireen
Freyja
Green Tara
Guinevere
Hathor
Ishtar
Isis
Isolt
Ixchel
Kali
Kuan Yin
Lakshmi
Maat
Maeve
Mary Magdalene
Mawu
Mother Mary
Nemetona
Oonagh
Ostara
Pele
Rhiannon
Saraswati
Sedna
Sekhmet
Sige
Sulis
Vesta
White Tara
Yemanya