“This entirely new tarot deck is illustrated with scenes from the life of a modern pagan or Wiccan. Neopaganism and Wicca/Witchcraft are growing spiritual influences in America as well as the rest of the world…” – From the L(ittle) W(hite) B(ook) of the Pagan Tarot The Pagan Tarot, designed by Gina Pace and illustrated by Luca Raimondo and Cristiano Spadoni, intends to mirror the religious journey of Wicca. This modern deck takes a page from both everyday living as well as religious ritual, depicting the life of a Witch whose spirituality and daily life flow in harmony. Computers, shopping carts, telephones, armoires and cars meld with robes, ritual tools, and elementals for a most unusual deck.
The Major Arcana follows Tarot tradition, as does the suits of Wands, Chalices, Pentacles, and Swords. However, Gina changes the Court Cards to reflect the energy inherent in the Pagan and Wiccan spiritual system: Pages become Elementals (Fire=Salamander, Earth=Gnome, Air=Sylph, Water=Undine), Novice replaces Knight, Queens convert to Initiate, and Elder replaces King.
Brief and basic, the contents of the LWB are in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German as is customary with Lo Scarabeo companion booklets. A brief overview of Major and Minor Arcana functions are given, as well as a paragraph on each of the Majors. Gina describes the symbolism of the four Minor suits and the numbers one through ten. As such, there isn’t a breakdown of each card meaning or reversed positions.
Being non-Wiccan, I was not optimistic regarding meaningful readings with the Pagan Tarot—especially with the Court cards or those featuring robed figures. Yet, I performed two readings for myself and found them quite insightful. Most of the images are a snapshot of individuals in action, so they’re very inviting in terms of extrapolating meaning and applying personal symbolism. (Note: the last card of my 3-card reading was the Novice of Pentacles and I said to myself “I’m going to be getting some unexpected money”. Turns out that my husband *just* came home from work having stopped at the Post Office before he arrived. Guess what was in the mail? A very unexpected and surprising check from our bank for $66.10!)
While the card imagery is quite animated, some of them prove problematic. For example, The Tower depicts two nude couples groping at one another in the moonlight while a fully clothed young woman has her back to them. Because the traditional meanings of the cards are given in the LWB as opposed to Gina’s take on the design choices, I’m left in the dark as to what this depiction could possibly mean. It’s my understanding, though, that she’s working on a companion book to the deck, so it will be interesting to see what she had in mind for several of the images.
Unfortunately, the card backing is non-reversible, portraying The World and a framed design in an unattractive green. In addition, some of the illustrations appear dated: cars, telephones, and office furniture seem snatched out of the 1980’s.
As soon as I opened the Pagan Tarot, the images intrigued me. I especially liked The Hermit, shown as a woman surrounded by books, burning the proverbial midnight oil. Because I’m not Wiccan, I can’t predict how adherents to this religion will receive this deck. However, as a non-Wiccan, I found most images easy to relate to; more importantly, they provided accurate insights when reading for myself (no small feat!).
Below are 9 images from the deck:
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