June 10, 2010

Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.  -Oscar Wilde 

US Games Systems has just released a color deck of The Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot Cards. These cards are simply rich - from the mythology, symbols, astrology, Hebrew characters, numerology and the teachings of the Kabbalah - each one is a feast to feed one's mind and soul. A companion deck to The Sacred Tarot by C.C. Zain, the original 1936 black and white images were first designed by Gloria Beresford, then redesigned in 2009 by Vicki Brewer as full-color Egyptian tarot cards. 

I recently received the deck with it's little instruction booklet, and just the key on the front makes me giddy. The circle of the key is divided into the four suits with the numbers 1 through 9 corresponding to planetary positions within constellations. For example, 3 of Swords (or Trey of swords, I love the old-fashioned aspects of this deck) shows Mercury, Capricorn and Virgo. The post of the key contain the major arcana, while the teeth contain the court cards. Interesting, as in all my Santa Cruz tarot classes, students tend to get stuck when studying the court cards, which in some way once understood, allow for the tumble and click in unlocking the wisdom of the tarot.

Rather than going through the suits, the section on the minor arcana goes through the numbers, associating each with a particular planet, giving the divinatory significance of each card as well as its' inner interpretation. Following the Hermetic tradition, the cards an integral part of an internally consistent exposition of occult sciences. Astrology, alchemy and magic are continuously expressed through color, symbol and glyph. Each card is actually a cartouche, containing a message for the seeker. While I am well versed in Greek and Roman mythology, these cards had me seeking way back in my mind, as I remember adoring Egyptian culture as a kid. I'm lucky to have had the opportunity to travel in Tunisia and Northern Africa, but Egypt is still on my list of places to visit this lifetime.

"What the tarot can be made to reveal is limited only by the capacity for understanding of the person using it " (from the booklet). I have been really enjoying playing with this new deck as it synthesized my own interests in both tarot and astrology. Having the planets and signs expressed on each card gives me instant access to more information that I can share with my client. 

It's been 23 years now that I have been courting the cards. Receiving The Brotherhood of Light Egyptian Tarot Cards cards reminds me that the Tarot itself is a lifetime romance...