Goddess Divination Set Overview - Part Two Reviews by Diane Wilkes
The next two decks don't suffer from the airbrush syndrome. Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom, in particular, is the most no-frills Goddess deck I've found thus far. It comes with a very small gift book, the kind you see in bookstores near the front desk, The Goddess Within. It is charming enough, but has absolutely nothing to do with the Goddess without (ie., the cards). The little book is filled with quotations from well-known women of history and the art, like Madonna and Maya Angelou. Calling this a "companion" book would be inaccurate--the only reason they are companions is that both are published by Running Press.
The cards don't need no stinking book, man. They're self-explanatory. The name of the goddess appears at the top of the card. Underneath, there is a keyword and then a naive-style drawing of the goddess. On the back of the card is the name of the goddess (again), the place(s) where the goddess myth originated, and a quotation about women that the Goddess expresses. Underneath that is a message/interpretation.
While these cards are not particularly attractive, there is something about the format that appeals to me. The cards are about half the size of a standard tarot card, so they are extremely portable. They are reasonably priced, and the 50 cards are extremely multi-ethnic (with the exception of the Goddesses of the New Light, all the Goddess decks reviewed are delightfully diverse in terms of ethnicity) and user-friendly. The fact that the card has a simple keyword and very little text is a plus to me--more room for the intuitive side in which to play.
While I am not ordinarily attracted to the primitive art style, there's something very genuine about this set. I don't get a sense of calculation or artifice when I work with them. On the other hand, I don't get a sense of the Divine, either, which kind of defeats the purpose. This is a good hands-on deck for everyday, but I would use something a little more ornate for sacred ritual. If you are considering buying a Goddess deck for someone with little to no experience with the Goddess, this is neither threatening nor fuzzy-bunny--in other words, I recommend it.
If you would like to order Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom, click here.
In the same politically-correct vein as the Running Press Goddess deck, we have The Goddess Wisdom Cards, a deck that is also not that easy to find. I discovered it on the Internet--it was for sale on an auction site. I tried to track it down on Amazon, and once I discovered they didn't have it, it immediately became a must-have (The Goddess is always greener on the other side).
I was particularly taken with Sekhmet (to the left), half-tigress, half-woman. And unlike some of the other decks, these Goddesses look like women, not Hollywood starlets. There's no age-ism in this deck. Hestia has greying hair and if she does not now, she has done windows...and whatever else it took to get that house/temple looking ship-shape. Hecate doesn't own a blow-dryer. She stands upright, surrounded by her spectral hounds, and she could let out a howl that would scare the Hell out of the New Light Goddess chiclets (I was going to write heck, but Hecate would have none of it.).
These goddesses have real strength, real power. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a sameness to these 39 cards...Artemis, Ishtar, and Spider-Woman look like triplets to me. Some of the goddesses look a bit too Germanic/ Northern Shadows for my taste...they remind me of stern authority figures who run the accounting department with steely eyes and never want to frolic (except for Sekhmet, who you can tell likes to have a good time).
A little white booklet (LWB) comes with the Goddess Wisdom cards. It is 27 pages long (short?) and four of those pages are devoted to references, which a biblioholic like myself appreciates. The front of the cards are blessedly free of all writing, even of the name of the goddess represented. On the back of each card is the name of the goddess, the culture/origin of the goddess, a short version of the goddess' associated myth, attributes, symbols, feast and festival days, color, and the Goddess's wisdom (message).
The booklet offers a spread and way to meditate on the cards, but the majority of the information pertains to the Appendix, which lists the artifacts that each card contains. An example: "Athena is wearing a helmet with two horses, symbolizing the belief that it was she who first tamed the horse and invented the bridle and chariot. Sculpture after Phidias is from the Parthenon, c.447 BCE, Greece."
This set is excellent, and I recommend it highly--unless you, like me, would prefer a little more joy with your goddess cards.
To read about my two favorite non-tarot Goddess card oracles, click here.
To see a card comparison of several of the goddesses, click here.
Art for The Goddess Pack © 2000 Patricia Languedoc
Art for The Goddess Wisdom Deck © 2000 Sandra M. Stanton
Reviews and page © 2000 Diane Wilkes