This deck was conceived by Eileen Connolly, author of “Tarot: A New Handbook for the Apprentice” which is probably one of the classic texts on tarot. The first edition featured the Rider Waite, whereas the revised editions uses the images from this deck. She followed this classic up with Handbooks for Journeyman and Master, all three of which probably ‘should’ be in any serious tarot student’s library.
Connelly’s extensive understanding of arcane symbolism directed the artistic endeavours of son, Peter Paul Connelly – whose penchant for stained glass is clear across the deck. Colours are luminous and strong throughout, and follow a pattern generally similar to the Rider Waite, though with a quite distinctive feel.
Connolly said that she wanted to create a tarot deck which had no negative images in it, and in accordance with this ideal, Death is replaced with Transition, and the Devil with Materialism. Traditionally gory card like the 10 of Swords are transformed, while still carrying the familiar symbolism.
One effect of this approach is to make the images on the deck sufficiently inoffensive that you could read this deck pretty much anywhere in any company and quite possibly not risk shocking anybody. A N
While at first glance one can be forgiven for imagining this deck is a RW clone, in fact, despite the respect it pays that deck, there are some subtle, yet quite profound changes to imagery.
The Fool in this deck, for example, stands not on a precipice, but at a crossroads. Connolly’s interpretation of the card emphasises the innocence of the Fool, making choices at the start of his journey, and completely ignores the “leap into the wild blue yonder” that more often as associated with the card.
With the Tower we see the familiar bolt of lightning, and the falling bodies…but within to structure we can clearly see doves – used here as symbols of the Holy Spirit, so Connolly tells us in her commentary.
This is an accessible and pretty deck, whose lightness of nature does not compromise its ability to evoke an instinctual understanding of the meanings of each card.