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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

ARTEMIS (DIANA)

ARTEMIS (DIANA)

Goddess of the moon*, hunting, mountains, forests and wild nature, protectress of the Amazones, maidens and virgins.

ABOUT GODDESS

Artemis was a daughter of Zeusa and Leto and a twin sister of Apollo. Leto being Zeus’ lover drew the wrath of Hera his wife and the guardian of women in labour that was why the children could not come to the world for nine days and nights.  When Leto finally bore her first child it was Artemis who then helped her mother to deliver her twin brother.

Artemis never got married. She remained a virgin and she expected the same from her female companions (usually nymphs) who she was spending time hunting and hiking. She was an extremely vindicative goddess whose arrows cause diseases and pierce anyone who who had the misfortune to expose themselves to her. This is what happened to the children of Niobe, the mother of seven sons and seven daughters, who dared say openly that she had more offspring than Leto. Artemis killed Niobe’s daughters and Apollo her sons.That was also the case of Orion, a famous hunter, to whom she sent scorpion to bite him because he was competing with her in discus throw (according to another version of a myth she punished  him because he was pursuing her nymphs and yet another says that when Apollo noticed that his sister is falling in love with a handsome hunter he decided to protect her virginity and made her accidentally kill him). One way or another both Orion and the scorpio were shifted to the firmament and the same happened to Callisto (Kallisto), her companion who fell victim to Zeus’ desire. When she became pregnant, the goddess transformed her into a female bear and baited her dogs on her. Callisto would have certainly died if not Zeus lifted her up in the nick of time and placed in the sky as a constellation of Ursa Major. Another victim of her rage was Actaeon, a mortal man who saw her nude while bathing in a mountain brook. She sent her own pack of dogs against him to tear him to pieces. Also Agamemnon the chief of the Achaeans caused her anger while their ships were heading to Troy.  The goddess caused calm sea and she demanded Iphigenia, his daughter as a sin offering so Agamemnon made her and her mother Clytemnestra come under the pretext of her engagement with Achilles. The most common version of the myth says that when the victim was about to be fulfilled, Artemis took the girl and brought her to Tauris (Crimea) where she became her priestess. She also sent a boar to devastate the areas surrounding the city of Calydon because King Oeneus omitted her during sacrifices. During the hunt for the boar  Atalanta one of her companions became the reason for a huge row which resulted in the death of Meleager, the king’s son.

IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS

Artemis’ symbols are a bow and arrows. Animals commonly associated with her include a bear, hunting dogs, wild fauna and a hind. One of Hercules’ labours was catching alive the Ceryneian Hind who was her sacred animal; a hind was so agile that it took the whole year to finally capture her, hinds were also harnessed to Artemis’ chariot.

When represented in paintings and sculpture Artemis does not usually wear a long chiton and peplos like other goddesses but a knee – length tunic instead to feel comfortable while running and hunting. 

Artemis and Acteon

The goddess was particularly worshipped in the mountainous and wild countries of Hellas such as Arcadia, Sparta, Laconia, Elis and the Taygetus Mountain. However her most famous temple was situated in Ephesus in Asia Minor where Artemis was identified with an ancient Asian goddess of fertility (more about it here and here). In Tauris humans were sacrificed to her.

Artemis of Efes

DIVINATION MEANING

Person

This card signifies a young girl or even a teenager. In her positive aspects she is independent, fit, strong and protective towards the ones she loves.  This person is friendly yet remains distant. Just like Persephone she has a strong bond with her mother and she finds support among other women but she tends to avoid men, relationships and engagement. As an archer she suggests concentration and focusing on an aim and avoiding distraction until you achieve it. In her negative aspects she is vindicative, does not forgive mistakes and it is better not to mess with her. Similarly to Athena Artemis keeps her virginity which may signify the fear of carnality and intercourse.

Advice

This card suggests help and advice from a sister, a female friend etc. It also informs you that you need more movement and excersises and it encourages you to spend time in wild nature (the modern version of Artemis’ activity would be extreme sports).  It is a positive answer to any questions involving sport activities or requiring competition.

Because of its association with the Moon it shows the whole spectrum of what is connected with it in culture, psychology and esoterics: intuition, emotionality, foreseeing the future, romanticism, fantasy, unconsciousness, ignorance, illusion, darkness, ambiguity, confusion, mystery, lies, gossip, self-deception, sorrow, tears, despair, pessimism, nervousness, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, psychosomatic illness, threats, mistaken action or passiveness, hidden issues which need to be explained, mental illness, hallucinations, somnambulism, nightmares, closing oneself off from others, running away from problems into the inner world, disease or drugs, sexual complexes, toxic relationship with a mother and other women.

Love

If you’re in the relationship: a strong influence of a woman on your relationship (a female friend, a mother,  a mother-in-law etc). A lot of emotions but usually hidden and unexpressed. Fears about future. Illusions. Hidden relationship.

If you are single: being single by choice. A pleasant company of the people of the same age. Secret longing for a partner.

Finances

Double check the documents you are going to sign. Do not be deceived by the outward appearance. Promises may not be fulfilled, do not take them for granted.

Health

Problems with body liquids flow, embolism, swelling. Sleep disorders. Coma. Depression, hallucinations and mental disorders. Addictions. Suicidal thoughts. Psychosomatic illness. Infectious diseases. Excessive use of drugs. You need more workout and movement. If you are a pregnant woman, this card suggest either a non-complicated labour  or the help of a competent woman. Endangered body parts: blood and lymph vessels, lymph nodes.

CARDS

A beautiful representation of Artemis in Ancient Feminine Wisdom by Kay Stevenson&Brian Clark

Artemis in The Goddess Oracle deck by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky (she is portrayed here in an Amazone style)

Artemis in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Artemis in The Goddess Wisdom Cards by Jill Fairchild, Regina Schaare & Sandra M. Stanton

Artemis in The Oracle of the Goddess by Gayan Sylvie Winter&Jo Dosé (as Diana)

Artemis in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Artemis in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason

Artemis, a hind&a leaning tower in Goddess Card Pack by Juni Parkhurst

 A very ethereal and oniric image of Artemis in the Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews, volatile and delicate, it is lunar indeed rather than athletic; she is accompanied by a dog and some hares, symbols of fertility, but remember that despite being a midwife, she does not the goddess of fertility herself

Artemis in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews

There is a strange situation in the deck by Doreen Virtue. The Hellenic and Italic goddesses are usually merged semantically while here we have the division into Artemis (Guardian) and Diana (Focused Intention). Artemis’ message is You and your loved ones are safe and spiritually protected while Diana says, Keep your unwavering thougths, feelings, and actions on your target, and you will make your mark. To be honest I do not think it was a good idea.

Artemis in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

Artemis in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue

It is similar with Artemis&Diana in The Goddess Oracle Deck by Thalia Took



 

 And in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock (first card is Artemis, th second one is Diana)

 Artemis in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

 Artemis in Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock

Artemis in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

Artemis in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc

 A warlike Artemis straight from a computer game in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton

A military and modernised Artemis in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs

Artemis wearing ballerina’s skirt in Mythic Oracle by Carisa Mellado&Michele-lee Phelan (but how can you use a bow and an arrow while hopping on one foot in the clouds? laughing1)

Artemis in Universal Goddess Tarot deck by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano where she is Knave of Swords (as Diana)

Artemis in Goddess Inspiration Oracle and The Goddess Tarot by Kris Waldherr where she is naturally associated with Moon the eighteenth Major Arcane  (as Diana again).

Artemis in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr

*In the Hellenic and Italic mythology there are four deities connected with the sun and the moon:  Helios/Sol and Apollo (sun) and Selene/Luna and Artemis (moon). Helios and Selene had belonged to the Titans, the first generation of gods whose cult was later replaced with the Olympians Apollo and Artemis. Since then Apollo is sometimes identified with Helios and Artemis with Selene, however there is still a certain semantic division. Helios and Selene are the deities who are phisically related to the sun and the moon as they roll the stars over the firmament with their chariots while Apollo and Artemis are their patrons but they do not put them into motion themselves.