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Tarot of Witches

Tarot of Witches
Designers: Fergus Hall   Publishers:  US Games 1976   Size:  700mm x 1100mm (3.75" x 4.25")  Price included in shipping.
Price: £19.95
Points Price: 200
Reward Points: 20


This deck is an immensely popular one and has been around for over thirty years now.  Many of us will have seen it used in the James Bond movie, Live and Let Die.
It generally follows standard Rider-Waite symbolism though it introduces a modern slant on artwork and in my opinion an almost comical approach to the people in the cards, so far as the Majors and Court cards are concerned.

There’s a certain grim humour about some of the Majors – and some fascinating repeating themes which run through the Majors – watch, for example, the changing state of the planet which first appears cupped, like an orb, in one of the Empress’ hands, and then appears stage by stage to a point of weeping desolation with the World.

I have to say though that the suits themselves are not suitable for use by a beginner since they are very plain, bearing none of the traditional symbolism which helps to unlock the learner's potential.   Each pip card shows only the symbol of the Suit, and a central image which repeats from the Ace to the 10.
Swords are represented by a winged foot flying across a pink sky above a hilly landscape; batons by a loosely clenched fist suspended above a broken twig;  Cups by a pierced candy-pink heart; and Coins by an open eye again suspended above a hilly landscape.

Fergus Hall’s artistic style is modern and somewhat surrealistic, exhibiting some really lovely, amusing touched here and there – check out the Fool blithely walking off the edge of a cliff, coins tumbling from his hand, whilst a spotted cat tugs so hard at his britches that they are beginning to come down!  Or the bird’s nest in the Hierophant’s beard – he incidentally perches atop a cratered planet.  The Hermit sits upon a rock surrounded by water, quill in hand, and steaming plateful of food resting beside him.   And I love the Hanged Man – he clutches a book on butterflies in one hand and a net in the other.

You do have to already be very familiar with the meanings of individual cards in order to work with a deck like this one. Courts follow traditional King, Knight, Queen, Valet pattern. Wands become Batons; Disks become Coins. The booklet, written by Stuart Kaplan, is reasonably comprehensive though again, definitions on the Minors are somewhat lacking. There is a rather complicated set of instructions about spreading the deck which surprisingly suggest reading purely from the Majors. The only spread given is that of the Celtic Cross, but oddly enough it is renamed the Magic Circle of Solomon.   The book, written by the same author, much more fully discusses the complexities of this deck.

Hanged Man
8 Batons
Queen Batons
8 Cups
Knight Cups
2 Swords
Knight Swords
Ace Coins
9 Coins

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