“Just as the Tarot can help us to understand so many different spiritual approaches, it also offers an ideal medium for exploring the central ideas of Wicca and Druidry. In addition, it is intimately linked to both paths historically and philosophically. And, once we explore these links, we find ourselves arriving at the common ground that is shared by both paths, and that we have called DruidCraft.” –from the DruidCraft Tarot companion book
Pagan practitioners and experts Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm have teamed up once again with artist Will Worthington to create a masterful Tarot deck with Wiccan and Druidic themes. The colorful, sensual images of the DruidCraft Tarot—as well as the lucid prose of 192-page companion book—promotes the integration of masculine and feminine energies, the strengthening of our connection with the natural world, and the deepening of knowledge of the Self and the Universe we inhabit.
While the DruidCraft Tarot is geared towards pagans, non-pagans will also glean profound wisdom and intuitive information from this deck. For example, I don’t consider myself a pagan or Wiccan (yet!), but as soon as I began to look at these cards, they began to “speak” to me. In fact, I’ve yet to come across a set of Tarot images where I could imagine myself entering the scene and having a conversation with the people portrayed on the cards.
This deck follows the Ride-Waite tradition of 78 cards, with a few changes to the Major Arcana. The Emperor becomes The Lord in the DruidCraft Tarot, and The Empress becomes The Lady. The Devil is replaced by Cernunnos, the horned god of fertility. The Christian tradition usually relegates the instinctual, animal, sexual and material worlds as evil or a part of the “beastly nature” in need of salvation. Druids and Wiccans, however, respect and revere this life-force known as Nwyfre, seeking to integrate and channel it in appropriate and responsible ways. Temperance is re-named The Fferyllt—“a Druid alchemist who combines the powers of fire and water to create harmony, balance, and transformation. “ Judgment is re-named Rebirth, and features a child emerging from the Temple-Tomb of New Grange on the morning of the Winter Solstice. Standing outside the entrance, the Priest-Initiator blows into a ritual horn, summoning the re-born initiate soul to awaken.
The four illustrated suits of the Minor Arcana are Swords, Cups, Wands, and Pentacles, and the Court cards are divided into King, Queen, Prince, and Princess—accounting for the different levels of maturity, as well as the balance of masculine and feminine energies among human personality and developmental stages. The 16 character types of the Court cards as reflected by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are explained, as well as the four elements in light of alchemy and Jungian psychology.
The DruidCraft Tarot companion book is rich with myth and spiritual tradition, as well as psychological and mystical truths. We are shown how the story of Ceridwen and Taliesin is woven throughout the cards, as well as the portrayal of The Alchemical Wedding/Great Rite which reflects the cosmic dance of the God and Goddess and the interplay between masculine and feminine forces. A detailed graphic of the Meeting of the Inner and Outer Worlds provides a great visual with how the 78 cards laid out in three rings reflect the journey of the soul (the Majors), the journey of the earth around the sun (the Minors), and the 16 ways through which the inner and outer worlds meet within the individual (the Court cards)—all within the context of the Solstices, Equinoxes, Imbolc, Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain.
The text of the detailed card interpretations begins with the Court cards, including the general meaning and keywords of the Princesses, Princes, Queens, and Kings. Next come the Minor Arcana, with the numbers grouped together. In other words, all of the Aces are discussed together, and then the Twos--all the way up to the Tens. General keywords and descriptions are provided for the pips (for example, the Sixes represent Balance, Integration, Union, and Harmony), in addition to the comprehensive individual card interpretations. Lastly, the Majors are described at length. A graphic of each card accompanies the description of all cards, which includes interpretations and keywords for both upright and reversed position.
The back of the cards is mostly chocolate brown with gold matte accents, and are completely reversible.
The last part of the DruidCraft Tarot companion book includes a blessing and dedication ceremony for your cards, a brief divination how-to, and six spreads:
The Awen Spread For finding the seeds of inspiration that can guide your life, and for observing the relationship between past, present and future in your mental, emotional and physical worlds.
The Lunar Spread For help in nurturing or giving birth to ideas or projects, or for exploring your creativity
The Pentagram Spread For help in your search for wholeness, healing, integration, and spiritual development
The Hexagram Spread For gaining insight into relationships and the inner quest for union
The Spirits of the Circle Spread For help in determining the influences that are affecting your life, and to explore your sense of identity, in search of the answer to the perennial question, ‘Who am I?’
The Chalice-And-Wand Spread For exploring specific situations or problems, or for general readings where a sense of orientation or direction is needed
Two sample readings for The Hexagram Spread and Spirits of the Circle Spread are also given.
I am surprised at how hard I’ve fallen for this deck! Ever since I laid my eyes and hands on the DruidCraft Tarot, I’ve been using it exclusively for personal meditation and readings, as well as reading for others. The Death card in this deck is my absolute all-time favorite; I’m often discouraged at the traditional renderings of Death—the spectral, skeletal harbinger of decimation and decay. As a Scorpio, Death is (thematically) one of my favorite cards—so to behold Ceridwen (a lunar goddess and ‘Dark Woman of Knowledge’) as a crone surrounded by symbols of transformation and rebirth is a wonderful experience. The book says of this card: “…Look at the tenderness with which the Cailleach holds the skull before she places it in the cauldron of rebirth. Letting go with compassion is an act of love, not anger. At the heart of death is pure compassion. We die to our old selves, jobs, relationships, homes, battles, so that we can be reborn to new ways of working, living and relating in the world...”
The earthy, animated images by Will Worthington provide much in the way of symbolism, color, and movement—making this a wonderful reading deck for Tarot newbies and veterans alike. For example, one look at the proud, silver-haired Queen of Swords enrobed in indigo and purple can remind you that this royal Airy-one often represents older or mature women, those who love “just the facts”, and perhaps even widows.
The companion book by the Carr-Gomm’s has added so much depth and insight to certain cards, as well as my overall Tarot experience. I highly recommend the DruidCraft Tarot for those wanting a deck that affirms the sacredness of nature, masculine and feminine energies, and All-That-Is--without the traditional Christian imagery and good/evil proclivities.
Card art copyright Will Worthington 2004. Used by permission
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