Sunday, November 10, 2013

Deck Review- The Healing Tarot

The Healing Tarot: 78 Ways to Wellness comes to us from the artistic rendering of Monica Knighton and the deep tarot knowledge of Juno Lucina, and is published by Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.

This is a a deck rendered in black and white line drawings with a modern twist on Waite Smith imagery.  It can be used as you would use any other tarot deck, but it has a particular emphasis on doing the ever controversial tarot reading about health.  This is accomplished through the use of Medical Astrology translated into tarot specific imagery.

The deck comes in a magnetic closure box which measures a very manageable 6 inches by 9 inches.  I mention this because some older Schiffer box sets are housed in unweildly boxes which have to be stacked on most bookshelves rather than shelved upright.  Included is a comprehensive companion book of 192 pages written by Juno Lucina, who is the author of The Kingdom Within Tarot and The Alchemy of Tarot: Practical Enlightenment Through the Astrology, Qabalah, & Archetypes of Tarot.  She describes herself as "an empress by design and a star by nature. Ever fluid and changing, Juno is more a verb than a noun, more an introduction than a conclusion. She wishes that All awaken from Vishnu's dream, to see the truth and embrace All That Is. Juno is just a Story pointing the Way."  She includes a quote and a short essay about the meaning of each Major Arcana, astrological correspondences, traditional meaning (which of course must be read through the lens of the authors' experience, but I largely agree with her) and meanings specific to a health reading.  The Minors lack the essay and detailed astrological correspondence, but include the rest of the information, which is an excellent starting point for reading any deck of tarot cards.  A small image of each card is included next to or above its' text and the book is well done.

The Healing Tarot- backs
The cards come on glossy 3 inch by 5 inch stock, which my average size hands had no trouble shuffling, although decks on this stock do tend to be a bit stiff and sticky right out of the box.  The most recent deck I received published by Schiffer, Bleu Cat Tarot by Beth Seilonen, is on a much silkier and matte card stock, so they appear to have changed what they usually use.  The backs are reversible, and reversed meanings for health readings are included in the book.

The suits contain 22 traditionally named Major Arcana, which are titled but not numbered, so you can place the cheeseburger eating Strength card and Justice wherever makes sense to you in the ordering.  Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles round out the the Minor Arcana suits.  The Court Cards consist of Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings.

The artwork is black and white, with imagery that mixes modern imagery with more traditional Waite Smith imagery and alchemical and astrological symbols, as well, of course, various body parts and possibilities of ailments.  Whether this is successful or not depends in large part on the reader, to the degree these images stimulate the intuition and the readers' understanding of the symbols used.  My fear with this deck is that it will not get used as often as it may otherwise because it required me to sit with the book in hand, which was okay for me, here at home, but I would never offer anyone a reading with a deck I needed to look each card up for.  I do not have time to commit the cards to memory, and that will inhibit its' use to private only.

To my eye, which is of course subjective, some of the images point immediately to the specific health related issue, while others were more oblique.  It is an ambitious undertaking to try to portray both meanings to use in a regular reading (I hesitate to use the words "traditional meanings" or "usual meanings" as there will be as many answers as there are readings) as well as to point to specific health problems, and for me, this deck is not always successful in doing both, or even either, but I always encourage people to see and judge the images for themselves because everyone responds to images in a different way.  Even so, it has been an enjoyable deck to work with, and the times I understood, and even found a card brilliant, far outweighed my "Huh?" moments and I will happily use the deck again.  An activity I particularly enjoyed was making a large copy of a card and coloring it in, although I only managed it with one.  It was soothing and made me take the card in a new way.

The Court Cards are quite unique, without a throne or a mounted horse to be found.  According to the medical astrology used, the King of Wands speaks to issues of the head.  Well aspected it points to taking risks with new medical technology, the book counsels, while ill aspected it has to do with any issues around the head, like aches, stroke, even toothaches.  The Queen of Cups, according to the book, is concerned with the breasts.  The Page of Swords concerns herself with legs, and the very non-traditional Knight of Pentacles deals with the intestinal tract and optimal (or not) nutrient absorption.  I leave you with the images to decide if they speak of these things to you.
The Healing Tarot- King of Wands, Queen of Cups, Page of Swords, Knight of Pentacles

Using this deck will of course bring up the question of using intuitive or psychic abilities to discern physical ailments, which is hotly debated in tarot communities.  The answer for me is that I will read on medical issues for myself, my family, my pets, but not for clients or friends, because I will promptly follow my readings with a visit to the doctor or vet regardless of the cards information because if it was important enough to ask my cards it is certainly important enough to ask my doctor, and I cannot in good conscience give anyone else medical advice based on the cards without being sure they will follow up on it.  Of course, I say that as a person blessed with very good health insurance, and I have no judgement for people who feel they have no option but to look at cards for answers.

For me this is a niche deck with appealing artwork that I am glad to have in my collection, and certainly will use, but it is not a deck I am likely to become intimate with.  For the person who likes to study and memorize meanings, they may enjoy the system in this deck a great deal and become quite good at using it for health readings.  Of course any deck with artwork that appeals will work well for the purely intuitive reader, and I end this review with some cards for you to judge for yourself.
The Healing Tarot- High Priestess, Strength, Death
The Healing Tarot- Devil, Star, World
Healing Tarot- Four of Wands, Queen of Wands, Ace of Cups
The Healing Tarot- Six of Cups, Two of Swords, Seven of Pentacles

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