Gendron Tarot                                        Review by Michele Jackson

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This deck, named for its artist, Melanie Gendron, is one of the more intriguing decks in my collection. The art is magnificent and appears to be a combination of painting/drawing, photography and collage. Per the biographic information in the little booklet, Gendron has been called a "visionary surrealist." That description works well because her work does have a surrealistic feel. The backgrounds give one a feeling of fantasy, while the use of photography adds a sense of realism. The effect is wonderful to behold. The deck is multi-cultural and Goddess-oriented, though it manages to be so by neither eliminating or demonizing males. Traditionally, male cards such as the the Emperor remain so, as do the Kings and Princes. Male figures can also be found in the Minor Arcana scenes. The scenes show the Earth in her myriad forms of beauty - mountains, waterfalls, the ocean, and sylvan woods. Her creatures are also in abundance. The works of man are also in evidence - beautiful castles, temples and cathedrals, as well as architectural details such as arches and doorways which are used as backdrops or main ingredients for the scenes.

Gendron maintains a delicate balance between the traditional and the new. Her Major Arcana has maintained the traditional titles in most cases; the exceptions areTransition in place of Death, and The Deceiver in place of The Devil. Strength is VIII and Justice is XI. The Court consists of King, Queen, Prince and Princess. The suits are Swords, Cups, Wands and Pentacles. The Major Arcana have the card number, name, Hebrew letter and Astrological glyph in the bottom border. These are the traditional Golden Dawn correspondences, which makes sense since it is my understanding that Gendron is a student of Amber Jayanti, and thus, B.O.T.A. Although Gendron based her deck on this traditional foundation, don't expect a rehash of the B.O.T.A. deck or some Waite-Smith clone. Gendron's Major Arcana scenes are among the most original I have seen. Her Minors are also original for the most part, though one does see a Waite-Smith influence here and there such as the pierced heart in the Three of Swords and the lady with birds in the Nine of Pentacles. The art is evocative and there is plenty of symbolism.

The little booklet that comes with the deck contains more information than most. It is a necessity really, when you consider the amount of symbolism the artist has included in this deck. The descriptions of the Major Arcana include energy from the directions of the Medicine Wheel. The energies are represented by Gods and Goddesses from different cultures. I have included a sample from the booklet as an excerpt below. The Hebrew letter and its meaning per the Golden Dawn is provided as well as the astrological planet or sign. Animal meanings are explained, as is any other symbolism the artist felt was pertinent. The suits are also given a fairly robust treatment with the keywords, energies, astrological correspondences, element, direction and totem animals. The Minor Arcana interpretations are basically key words. Both upright and reversed interpretations are given, but they are quite brief. The interpretations are fairly traditional, though they seem to be drawn from several sources and appear to include the artist's own insights as well. There is a very brief set of instructions on reading and two spreads: The Four Directions Spread, which consists of nine cards, and the Celtic Cross. A bibliography is also provided for further reading on Animals. Goddesses, Symbolism and Tarot.

I recommend this deck for those who are interested in a Goddess-oriented, multi-cultural deck that does not eliminate males. I think that this deck deserves some study, though one could probably rely upon Golden Dawn interpretations and get along fairly well.

See more cards from the Gendron Tarot Deck

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Excerpt from the little booklet

XVI THE TOWER

You've gone too far.

Energy: (S): Chalchiuhtlicue: Aztec. (W): Erinyes: pre-Hellenic. (N): Carman, Deirdre: Irish (E): Kali: Vedic

Hebrew Letter: P/Ph/F/Peh: mouth

Planet: Mars

Animal: vulture: Purification, new vision.

Symbolism: dark star: retribution; fallen God/dess: punishment, false ideals; lightening: tough love; spheres: divine word

Meaning: Cosmic direction. Castles built on sand crumble; reassess your life and belief systems. be prepared for rapid change.

Reversed: Stagnation, entrapment. Feeling imprisoned by current circumstance. Have faith; all things pass.

The Gendron Tarot
ISBN: 1-57281-065-3

This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson