About a year ago, I had the opportunity to purchase a limited edition Gaian Tarot Major Arcana deck, created by artist Joanna Powell Colbert. Last week, she announced the completion of the Minors, this the culmination of an ambitious nine-year project.
As Colbert herself says, “The Gaian Tarot is an expression of my own eclectic, earth-centred Goddess spirituality. It celebrates the living Earth and those who seek to live in harmony with Her. I asked these questions as I created each card: What about the earth? What does the voice of the earth have to say? Where is nature in the meaning of this card?
The Gaian Tarot grew out of my relationship with the natural world where I live and the people of my community. Many of the scenes in the deck are based on sketches from my nature journals and photos I’ve taken of local landscapes. Some scenes are quite recognizable to people who know the Pacific Northwest.”
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What I Like About the Gaian Tarot
First, I like that the traditional Tarot suits (Cups, Pentacles, Wands, Swords) now carry the name of the elements (Water, Earth, Fire, Air). In addition, the courts are now more representative of “real” people, with ranks of Children, Explorers, Guardians, and Elders.
Of these changes, my favourite is the Knights morphing into Explorers. Over time, I’ve realized that Knights are my favourite of the Courts – probably because I tend to jump into things – sometimes without looking. That they are now “explorers” makes me feel less like I’m tilting at windmills and more like I’m on a voyage of discovery!
In addition, I find the images to be stunning, and as a non-artist, enjoyed reading Colbert’s article on her own Tarot deck creative process. The article details the creation of the High Priestess card, from conception to photography to Photoshop, line drawing, and colored pencil painting. After reading about her process, I can understand why completing the 78 cards took so many years.
How You Can Get Your Gaian Tarot Deck
If you want to order Gaian Tarot, you can pre-order today, receiving the deck scheduled for the Spring Equinox 2010. This special pre-order includes several goodies, including a hand-designed bag, amulet, expanded book, blessing herbs, and (for orders paid in full by November 3, 2009, your choice of a limited edition print. When you are pre-order, you pick a 4 x 6 or 3.5 x 5.25 deck size. I opted for 4 x 6, as I’ve never had problems shuffling a large deck. Plus, that size is great to display in a class.
If the limited edition $197 is too much for the budget all at once, you can spread payments out over four months. But hurry, as the cost rises to $247 after November 3. Another alternative is waiting til 2011, when Llewellyn will mass-produce it. *Note, the Llewellyn deck will be smaller than either of the limited editions.