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Shaman Tarot

Shaman Tarot
Designer: Sabrina Ariganello & Allesia Pastorello  Publishers: Lo Scarabeo 2010  Size: 600mmx 1200mm (2.50" x 4.75") Price includes shipping.
Price: ISK3,723.59
Points Price: 200
Reward Points: 20


This vibrant deck, created by Sabrina Ariganello and Allesia Pastorello,  draws together shamanic traditions  from across the globe and down the ages.   Since it strays a very long way away from what we would describe as “traditional” tarot, it’s not for the beginner.   And I’d guess a healthy understanding of shaman practise would also help in seeing the deeper spiritual implications in the artwork.

But that said, it is a remarkably energetic deck, using strong colours and tones, striking use of symbol, and includes some really interesting combinations of themes within the cards.

Everything here is different – all the Majors are renamed, and yet the actual one- and two-lines interpretations remain pretty much as we would expect.  Some could be intuited reasonably easily -  love for the Lovers, Mother Earth for the Empress, the Path of the Stars are all easy enough.   But how easy would you find it to connect the Drum of the Spirits with the Wheel of Fortune or the Seeker of Souls with the Hermit?

This suggests that to get the best out of these cards one would need a far greater grasp of shamanic practise than I have – though in fairness I can think of many other specialised decks which have encourage those who resonate with the tarot images t explore the subject matter much more thoroughly.  The Mystic Tarot is like that – one is either drawn to it because one already has a grasp of the Greek myth cycles, or – in being drawn to the images – one explores that tradition to broaden one’s understanding.

The Suits all change out too – Wands become Bones, Cups become Stones, Swords become bows and Drums replace Pentacles or Disks.   The Suits are represented elementally and these attributions remain the same.  Courts are completely different – the stations changing according to the suit and including – for example – shamanic animals.  One interesting diversion from the norm is that the equivalent to the Knave or Page in regular decks becomes the shaman of its specific  element  - the Shaman of Fire for example.  The Knight becomes the Ally - there’s a typo in the booklet referring to the Ally in the Wands suit (Fire) being described as Ally of the Clouds – I’d guess that should be Ally of Fire.   But interesting both Shaman and Ally interpretations are much more akin to general pip descriptions than referring for example to young people.

Just to add to the complications there are no titles on any of the cards….only the symbol of the Suit .  The Pips are numbered and the Courts are differentiated by small images bottom centre of the card.   This is a deck you would need to familiarise yourself with very thoroughly.  

That said though, there is an intensity in the imagery – much of which is very fresh and demanding of interpretation – that I would imagine learning the deck would be stimulating and fascinating.

One outstanding and repeating theme is the contrast of the world and vision of the shaman as contrasted against modern day living – nowhere is this more clearly depicted than on the 2 of Bones where a modern man gazes out at his counterpart, hand extended in invitation,  from the frame of a mirror. 

This is a challenging deck – of the magnitude of the demands the Osho makes upon a reader more used to traditional imagery – and it presumably extends your understanding in the same way if you are willing to put the work in.

Major IX
Major X
Major XIV
2 Bones
8 Bones
2 Stones
5 Stones
6 Bows
9 Bows
4 Drums
9 Drums

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