The Master Tarotmaster.jpg (14721 bytes)                                                                                Review by Michele Jackson

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This deck is based on the life of  Jesus. It is similar to a Tarot deck, but also has many differences. The deck is divided into Major Arcana, Minor Arcana and People Cards. The Major Arcana have all been changed:

0 - The Comet VII - Magdalen XIV - Love One Another
I - The Son of Man VIII - Temptation XV - The Kiss
II - The Angel IX - The Disciples XVI - The Scream
III - The Mother X - The Miracle XVII - Here and Now
IV - The Father XI - Forgiving XVIII - Celebration
V - The Temple XII - The Whip XIX - The Spirit
VI - The Prophet XIII - The Supper XX - Apolcalypse
XXI - The Galaxy

While a few of the cards are reminiscent of their traditional Tarot counterparts like card III - the Mother, card IV - The Father and, card  XVI - The Scream, most are entirely different from the traditional.

The Minor Arcana are not divided into suits. They are simply numbered one through forty. Each Minor card is based on a saying of Jesus. For example card 6 - The Pearl is from Thomas, 76: "The father's kingdom is like a merchant who had a supply of merchandise and then found a pearl. That merchant was prudent; he sold the merchandise and bought the single pearl for himself. So also with you, seek the treasure that is unfailing, that is enduring, where no moth comes to devour and no worm destroys."

The People Cards are characters from the story of Jesus like the lady of the well, and Barabbas. The deck creator states that each expresses: "...a psychological, physiognomic, cultural and spiritual type." They are different from court cards in that they are not based on a royal court. They are just 16 different people from the New Testament.

The cards measure 2 3/4" X 5 3/4". The art is very good. The artist, Amerigo Folchi, has done several other tarot decks. There are many different styles of art mixed together.  It is detailed and beautifully colored. However,  the different styles are not always comfortable together. For example a drawing very similar to American Gothic is on Minor Card 11 - Father and Mother; Major Card XVI The Scream, is based on Munch's painting by the same name; and Minor Card 4 - Absent Promise, depicts cartoon characters. Most of the art is not based on other paintings and is original to this deck. There are also differences in the styles of art and the periods depicted. We see clothing suitable for the New Testament period, the Renaissance and modern times (Barabbas wears jeans). The backs show a starry sky in a blue border.

The little booklet that comes with the deck is more robust than most, but it needs to be since this deck is so different. It begins with an explanation of what the deck creator and artist were trying to achieve. It states that they are not Christians, are not Buddhists and in fact do not belong to any religion. The deck is "...a work of love for the Master Jesus."  They view Jesus as a spiritual master, vice the founder of a religion. The descriptions for the Major Arcana explain who or what is depicted on the card followed by a discussion of what the scene means. The Minor Arcana descriptions begin with the applicable quote from the Bible, followed by a short explanation of how the quote applies to the reader/querent. The People Cards "symbolize the people with whom we interact at various levels as well as the different parts we show of ourselves - the roles we play, the images we project, the masks we wear." They can be matched in eight pairs. For example Barabbas can be paired with The Lady of Sin. Following the card descriptions, a short section discusses reading the cards. The creator recommends an intuitive approach to reading. Three spreads are provided: Here and Now - a five card spread; Head, Heart and Belly - a three card spread and Harvest - an eight card spread.

I recommend this deck for anyone who wants an oracular deck based on the the life and teachings of Jesus. I hesitate to call it a tarot deck due to the many differences in format and interpretation. Previous experience with a more traditional deck will not be of much assistance in interpreting this deck. A familiarity with the New Testament will probably be helpful.

Excerpt

27 Total Faith

And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14, 29-31)

Faith will let us walk on water; doubt will sink us into the abyss. Faith is pure creative power, it is the very yeast of manifestation, it makes life evolve, plant flowers, and work bring results. Yet doubt comes easily to us; it is an old defensive habit that keeps us chained to our miseries. It offers us a kind of cheap security against the risk of transformation; we are confirmed in our small false identities. Doubt doubts nothing but our very potential; faith is always faith in the new.

Trust lives in the heart, it is there and there only that we must look for it. Once it is found, it lifts us to love, and keeps us there. Doubt brings us into the head, it is the child of fear, of mind trembling before the Unknown.

This is the time to trust and walk on water. But remember, for that your total faith will be needed.

See more cards from the Master Tarot Deck

If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.

Master Tarot
Copyright 1996 AGMuller
Available from: US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax (203)353-8431


This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson