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Babylonian Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

Price: US $15.52

ProductID: alt665

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About this item
  • The Babylonian Tarot is a unique deck based on the cosmology and legends of the Ancient Sumerians, Mesopotamians
  • and Babylonians, who lived more than 4000 years ago. There are 83 cards in this occult deck, including an extra major
  • arcana card titled Genesis and another court card in each suit.


Specifications
Name Babylonian Tarot
Creators Sandra Cicero
Publisher Llewellyn 2005
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 83
Major Arcana 23
Minor Arcana 60
Deck Tradition Crowley Thoth
Minor Arcana Style Pips with Small Scenes
Suits Cups, Arrows, Wands, Disks
Court Cards Princess, Prince, Queen, King, Kerub
Major Titles The Fool - Enkidu, The Magician - Ea, The High Priestess - Ishtar, The Empress - Aruru, The Emperor - Marduk, The Hierophant - Naba, The Lovers - Ishtar and Tammuz, The Chariot - Adad, Strength - Gilgamesh, The Hermit - Anu, The Wheel - Tablet of Destiny, Justice - Nanshe, The Hanged Man - Tammuz, Death - Ereshkigal, Temperance - Tree of Life, The Devil - Lamastu, The Tower - Marduk and Tiamat, The Star - Siduri, The Moon - Sin, The Sun - Shamash, Judgement - Etana and the Eagle, The World - Anki
The Fool is 0
Strength is 8
Justice is 11
Card Size 3.19 x 4.61 in. = 8.10cm x 11.70cm
Card Language English
Card Back Reversible
Back Design A black and white, winged, human headed bull stands facing left at both ends over a light blue background with a slightly darker blue border.


Reviews

The four suits are Wands, Cups, Arrows (Swords) and Disks (Pentacles). The four court cards are Kerub, King, Queen, Prince (Knight) and Princess (Page). The structure of the Major Arcana remains the same, with the addition of Genesis. Strength carries the number eight, and Justice the number eleven.

This is the only deck that is based on the cosmology and legends of ancient Mesopotamia. The name of the deck comes from its primary city - Babylon. Babylonian culture - their way of life, style of writing, and religious customs, evolved through the Sumerian influence in the Mesopotamian valley. In working with this deck, we need to remember that the Babylonians were basically an agricultural people, and that their view of the relationship between gods and humans was very much that of parent to child. There existed an hierarchy of gods: cosmic gods, underworld gods, city gods, nature gods, and personal gods.

The companion book to this deck, "A Guide To The Babylonian Tarot", is very to the point. Cicero presents the historical background for the deck, and then presents the cards themselves. Her presentation is text only, without the use of scans. The God represented in each card is discussed, followed by upright and reversed meanings. While no "attribution" is given to Genesis, Cicero has included upright and reversed meanings.

In the section on card spreads, Cicero has developed two new spreads that are specific to this deck: "The Babylonian Universe Spread", which is a six card spread; and "The Rosette of the Gods Spread", which is a ten card spread. There are no sample readings given. There is an excellent Appendix giving esoteric correspondences for the Trumps, Pips, and Court Cards.

The cards themselves are 3 1/4" by 4 5/8", of high quality, sturdy, glossy card stock. The backs show a 1/2" blue border, with a lighter blue center. A winged, four-legged figure with a human head is shown on each end of the card, placed so that it would be impossible to tell if the card had been drawn in the upright or the reversed position.

The card face shows a 1/4" white border, followed by a slender red border. The Major Arcana title, followed by the god represented, is printed across the bottom of the card in gold lettering. The number and suit of the Pips are printed across the bottom of the card, in gold lettering, along with keywords for the card. The Court Cards show the title and suit printed across the bottom of the card in gold lettering, followed by the God represented.

The artwork in this deck is rather primitive, with an intense use of color. There is some nudity, which, while not inappropriate, would not make this an acceptable deck for use with children, and would have to be used with discretion with adult clients.

There were several cards that I felt drawn to, amongst which was Genesis - quite a thought provoking card. Cicero describes this card as portraying the birth of the universe and the generation of the primeval gods. The head of an ancient deity appears in profile in white at the top of the card. behind him we see a storm filled black sky with vibrant red lightening bolts. In the tumultuous sea below this we see a fetus, representing the first of the gods to be born. A dark card, indeed!

The keywords on the Four of Cups (Mixed Blessings) fascinated me, as they give the card a more positive feeling than it usually carries. The theme of this card was taken from the Babylonian epic "Erra and Eshum". The background of this card is a light blue. In the middle of the card, we see a golden egg shape. At the top of the egg we see the elderly god Marduk facing away from the reader, essentially turning his back on his past glories, and his greatest accomplishments. Four vessels are shown in the foreground: two fluted libation cups and two ceramic pots, signifying mixed blessings. In the center we see the cuneiform numeral two.

The Ace of Wands is shown in vibrant reds, yellows, greens and blues. The wand in the center of this card is the double-headed lion scepter that represents the Goddess Ishtar. The Wand is surrounded by an aura of flames in green, yellow and red. You know that there is power here!

As a professional Tarot reader, I like to see the card of Temperance come up. In this deck, we see Temperance as represented by the Tree of Life. The Tree is located in the center of a garden, in this instance with a winged disc above its apex. The background here is lavender and blue diamond shapes, bringing in a feeling of Spirit.

The Hanged Man is associated with the god Tammuz, a god representing growth and new life. He is also called the "divine shepherd" and the "bridegroom". In this card, we se an upright figure, dressed in white with his hands thrown up in surrender, with galla demons on either side of him, ready to take him into the underworld.

From here we go to the Three of Disks - a card of very gentle energy. The keyword for this card is "Work". In the lower half of the card we see the Goddess Uttu, hard at work. The symbol for the name "Uttu" was also used to mean spider. In the lower right hand side of the card we see a friendly looking spider - her sacred animal. At the top of the card we see three circles. In the top circle we see the graphic of a lion-fish. In the two circles below it we see the "goat-fish" symbol of Capricorn. Done in yellows, greens and blues, this would make a wonderful card to take into meditation.

The card of the Emperor, associated with the god Marduk, struck me as very funny. He is a god of thunder and tempest, and this card certainly exemplifies that energy. Marduk was also a gifted healer and magician. The predominate colors here are reds and yellows. Marduk is shown as a mature male, energetically striding off to battle. (He is striding to the left hand side of the card, which is the past, which is something to think about.) His feet are clad in golden sandals, and he wears a red robe, with his sword across his waist. In one hand he carries a lightening bolt, in the other his symbol of the "marru", or triangle-headed hoe. In the background we see a double set of golden wings.

I found this deck easy to work with, even without knowing the "story behind the story" (the story of the god depicted in each card). I would not recommend this deck for someone who is not familiar with the basics of Tarot, but as an additional reading deck, or for collectors, this would be a good deck to keep in mind.


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