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Celtic Wisdom Tarot - tarot decks

Playing Cards
Playing Cards -> Tarot decks

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About this item
  • The Celtic Wisdom Tarot is based on the legends and teachings of the Druids and the traditional tarot format has been
  • changed to fit the symbolism and traditions of Celtic Britain. The card illustrations are richly coloured.

Name Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Creators Caitlin Matthews
Publisher Destiny Books
Deck Type Tarot Deck
Cards 78

s of our earth journey.

The first layer of understanding for this deck comes through the use of Ogham trees - following the tradition that each species of tree has wisdom of a specific nature to impart to us. Each of the Wisdom Cards carries the name and energy of a specific tree.

The second layer of understanding comes through the presentation of the "Seven Candles Of Life". Matthews describes these as the qualities that form the foundation of the "Celtic Wisdom Tarot", based on the bardic triads (threefold sayings). The Soul (traditionally called the Fool) is separated out, and cards I-XXII are laid out in three rows of seven cards each. The specific qualities of the cards are given as Will, Truth, Growth, Harmony, Lore, Devotion and Energy.

This brings us to the third layer of understanding - the Triple Spiral, which represents the soul's journey through life. Each of the three rows of cards from the "Seven Candles Of Life" represents one of the spirals. Cards I- VII are the First Spiral of Revelation (our awakening to ancient wisdom), cards VIII-XIV represent the Second Spiral of Revelation (here we learn to impliment the wisdom of the Seven Candles - which Matthews indicates is largely done in dreamtime), and cards XV-XXII, the Third Spiral of Revelation (here we mature our wisdom until the soul is freed from the physical body). Matthews states "After all three spirals have been experienced, the Soul (card 0) continues its "tuirigini" or "circuit of lives".

The deck itself is a fantastic example of primitive, or perhaps "fantasy" style art. The cards are open - no borders - and the colors are vibrant. They are on high quality, glossy card stock, 3 1/2" by 5 1/2" (a little large for my hands, but well worth the effort!). The backs are an orange-yellow, with an imprint of the triple spiral theme. The Wisdom Cards (major arcana) are labeled at the bottom with the card number and the card title - which is basically a description of its archetypal function. The minor arcana cards are labeled at the bottom with their respective number, title and suit.

The titles for the major arcana are as follows:

0 The Soul - The Fool 1 The Decider - The Magician 2 The Guardian - The High Priestess 3 The Shaper - The Empress 4 The Keeper - The Emperor 5 The Rememberer - The Hierophant 6 The Lover - The Lovers 7 The Mover - The Chariot 8 The Empowerer - Strength 9 The Counselor - The Hermit 10 The Spinner - The Wheel Of Fortune 11 The Balancer - Justice 12 The Dedicator - The Hanged Man 13 The Liberator - Death 14 The Mingler - Temperance 15 The Challanger - The Devil 16 The Changer - The Tower 17 The Dreamer - The Star 18 The Imaginer - The Moon 19 The Protector - The Sun 20 The Renewer - Judgment 21 The Perfector - The World

The suits for the minor arcana - Skill/Wands, Art/Cups, Battle/Swords and Knowledge/Pentacles - were taken from an old Celtic text ("The Settling Of The Manor Of Tara"), which discusses the division of Irel and. The number cards depict Celtic stories, and this is where this deck has a bit of a problem. The definitions for the cards are rather along the traditional (Waite) line, but that is sometimes not evident from the cards themselves.

Each of the numbers is based on a storytelling genre of the "seanachies" (Celtic storytellers), and are illustrated by Celtic myths and stories. The genres are as follows:

(1) Auguries - Prophetic encapsulations of the total of someone/something. (2) Dialogues - These affirm and balance the augury cards, revealing relationships and communications. (3) Courtships - These are an attempt to explore and manifest the auguries. They indicate growth, expansion and implementation. (4) Judgments - These teach the essence of the augury, and indicate stabilization. (5) Combats - Here we see the lessons that cause us insecurities and necessitate attitude adjustments They indicate change, friction and testing. (6) Foundations - This is the harmony of e ach suit, indicating balance, sharing and security. (7) Adventures - These are cards of exploration. They represent the promotion of ambition and ideals. (8) Elopements - Matthews terms this the realization of what is lacking. They represent the struggle for assimilation and success. (9) Revelations - This is the integration of the principle of each suit. It represents attainment and achievement. (10) Quests - This is the culmination of all things. It represents endings and conclusions.

Each card in the deck has a page devoted to it, with a full color photo, upright and reversed meanings, the background of the story associated with each card, and a paragraph called "Soul Wisdom", which gives a short synopsis of the energy of t he card, and a question to ask yourself in relation to how it works in your life (or the life of the Seeker, if you are reading for someone else). This last bit impressed me - very a la Mary Greer in "Tarot For Yourself". Forming the right question is the first step to seeing the right answers.

Matthews gives a short discussion of how to treat the cards, how to get ready for and perform a reading, and what to expect from the cards. She has also included several very in depth spreads at the end of the book.

The Three Illuminations Spread - used when issues appear to be clouded. The Soul-Protectors Spread - Used as a daily reading when learning the cards. The Five Streams Of The Senses Spread - Used for perception into or clarification of issues. The Co-Walkers Spread - This is basically a relationship spread. The Weaver's Celtic Cross Spread - This is a basic Celtic Cross Spread, but laid out in such a manner that when the cards are flipped over, the pattern forms a Celtic Cross (cards overlapped one on top of another). The Seven Candles Of Life Spread - This is a majors only spread, revealing hidden patterns and opportunities in life situations.

For those who wish to truly understand this deck, and the Tarot in general, Matthews presents guidelin es for a year long study of the cards, in specific combinations following the seasons.

The charts and graphics in this book make it an excellent tool for personal or group study. The interaction between the cards becomes a very visual thing - making it very easy to place the wisdom into ones life.

I recommend this deck highly for those following Celtic or shamanic paths, or for those following earth/nature centered spiritual paths. I would not recommend this as a beginners deck, as the symbols are specific to the Celtic culture, and not reflective of traditional (i.e. Rider-Waite) tradition. This deck has a myriad of gifts for those that choose to place it on their path of study.

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