September 6, 2016:
I came home from a great Labor Day Weekend to find that my Dreams of Gaia Tarot has been delivered, all the way from Australia, where the talented artist and creator of this gorgeous deck, Ravynne Phelan, lives. This is the deck that I wanted to use throughout this time with the Great Work, but the deck was not available when I began. I don’t think Haftorang would have allowed me to wait. But now I’ve got the deck, so I will take a bit of a pause, just to get situated.
This deck is just a little bit different from the traditional Tarot, but it is similar enough that I am going to call it a Tarot rather than an Oracle. There is a “purpose” offered by the creator of the deck: To See, To Feel, To Grow, To Heal. That alone made this the perfect companion deck for the Great Work. It is split into Major Arcana and Minor Arcana (the Minors are further split to numbered cards and Court Cards). There are 24 Majors instead of the traditional 22, and while many of the archetypal meanings are similar, the focus is a bit different. The Majors are broken up into four categories: The Choice Card (the basic focus of the entire deck, actually), Stages of Life, Reasons for Being, and Influences. The Minor suits are elemental (Earth, Water, Air and Fire), with ten numbered cards, one balance or alignment card, and three Court cards. The traditional King and Queen are a part of the Court; there is also a Balance or Alignment card, and a “figure that stands beside the throne,” each corresponding to the suit.
The artwork is glorious! The colors are vibrant and alive, the human figures are believable, the symbolism is powerful, and the use of mythological creatures is perfectly done. The card backs are simple black, with a “frame” consisting of a thin gold line; the edges of the card are also gilded. The LWB is bound, and has 307 pages. There is way more text than image; just the way I like ‘em!
I decided to do something different with this deck: I began working with the deck by thoroughly shuffling just the Major Arcana, and then choosing my own Significator card, to be used by me when I am using this deck. Going forward, I will be throwing Minor Arcana cards, unless I feel the need to throw a Major.
The Major Arcana card I threw is Faith, the number XXIV, last of the Majors. The keywords offered for this card are faith, self-belief, confidence, Divine connection, trust, serenity, and surrender. Those are a potent combination! This card is not just about Faith, as in religious faith, it is also about personal faith, about having the self-confidence to endure, and to even overcome life’s challenges. This card is an Influence card, and indeed having faith in oneself can create miracles. Faith also tells me that I am not alone; I have the support of other loved ones, and of Deity; I am part of something larger, and those connections are valuable.
Isn’t this one of the important goals of life and living? Isn’t this what I hope to obtain through the processes and challenges of the Great Work? Nice start to working with this deck, eh?