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The first thing that catches your attention with the Pagan Tarot is its depiction of witches in real and modern situations. There are images of card readings, computers, even a laptop - a kind of Tarot of the everyday. Nonetheless, the symbols used are not random, but specific and focused - and familiar to the regular Tarot reader. As its name suggests, the symbolism and imagery is pagan in nature, with scenes ranging from a Wiccan ritual to shopping in a metaphysical boutique. There is some nudity, and some readers may find some scenes disturbing.

Because there are no keywords, I suggest that newcomers to the Tarot use a different deck until they become accustomed to the deeper levels of meaning found within the cards. I've been reading for decades, and a couple of cards had me completely stumped until I worked with them for a few weeks. The court cards are now representative of three stages of learning and life: Novice, Initiate, and Elder, plus the presence of the appropriate Elemental for that suit.

This is not a vibrantly colored deck, which can be a little off-putting; I found that in working with the deck the images became far more important than color symbolism.One of my favorite cards is the Hermit, writing furiously while surrounded by books another is the Five of Swords in which a man and woman stand back-to-back, swords at the ready in one hand, and clasped together in the other. A wonderfully creative change is The Empress: the traditional regal woman is now depicted as Maiden, Mother, and Crone working together in the garden. The Tower card is disturbing. It lacks any building or structure for one thing, showing only two naked couples in amorous embrace while a robed and dejected-looking woman walks toward the reader.

I have decks that I have used for years, this one promises to join that collection.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry

Author:  Gina M. Pace

Lo Scarabeo, 2004

$19.95

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