The Parrott Tarot
Two things hit you right away when you look though the Parrott Tarot deck:
The art is good. Faces are a weak point. Some look like cartoon characters or caricatures. They are often misshapen or exaggerated in shape or expression. However, the wonderful colors and many details more than compensate for this deficiency. In the Major Arcana each scene has a central figure surrounded by symbols. Those familiar with the Thoth deck will pick up the similarities immediately - the camel and crystals on the High Priestess card, the red background, bee, ram, and lamb on the Emperor, and the Elephant and hand sign on the Hierophant to name but a few. The Minor Arcana bear the same key word meanings as Thoth. Despite the many Thoth-like details, this deck has an entirely different feel from Thoth. It is lighter and more joyful. There are also some key differences from the Thoth deck. Some of these differences hearken to the Golden Dawn and some are unique to this deck. Strength is VIII and Justice is XI. Justice, Strength, Temperance, Judgment and the World replace Adjustment, Lust, Art, the Aeon and the Universe. The Parrott King replaces the Thoth Knight and there is an additional court card called "the Mentor." Each Major Arcana card has the card number in the upper left corner of the scene and in the bottom left border. The bottom border also has the Astrological correspondence, the Hebrew letter, the card name, the path on the Tree of Life, and a musical scale with the corresponding note and a Parrot. The Court Cards have the associated playing card symbol in the upper left corner of the scene. The bottom border has the astrological correspondence, the elemental correspondence, the name of the card and a Parrot. The Minor Arcana have the same information plus the keyword. Many modern touches have been added and there is some original symbolism here as well. The cards measure 4 1/4" X 2 3/4".You can see the backs here.
The Court cards deserve some explanation. The new court card "The Mentor," is placed between the Prince and the Queen. The fold out sheet that comes with the deck states that "The Mentor is not necessarily a person. He or she is a 'teacher,' or 'lesson' which could come from a book, an experience, a process or a human being." They are also associated with the non-Sephirah Daath, the asteroid Chiron and the Hebrew letter Shin. A detailed explanation of this court card can be read here. The Princesses are assigned to a quadrant of the zodiac with the Princes of Wands corresponding to Cancer, Leo and Virgo. No explanation is given for this. The additional court card brings the card count up to 82, vice 78.
The Minor Arcana are also like Thoth in that they do not have scenes, but are more elaborate than pips. The suit symbols are worked into a design that is made evocative through the use of color and layout. These Minors tend to have more symbols than Thoth, including an occasional human figure, but some are also very similar in layout to the corresponding card in Thoth. I'd look at the Parrots in the border as well. They correspond to the mood of the card and some of them made me laugh out loud.
There is no little booklet for this deck, rather a fold out sheet is provided with a brief description of how to do a reading, instructions for the Celtic Cross spread and short upright and reversed meanings for each card. Judging from the information provided about the Mentor cards, I would guess that a book for this deck is in progress.
This deck is a nice mixture of the traditional with the innovative and I recommend it for those who find such a combination interesting. One could remove the Mentor cards if desired with no harm to the deck, but I find them interesting and would be curious to see how they worked. I am also looking forward to reading the book for this deck. One could probably use The Book of Thoth, or the books written for one of the Golden Dawn decks with this deck as well.
- The Parrot Tarot
- Published by: S.S. Adams Co., Neptune New Jersey
- You can order this deck from the Parrott Web Site
See more cards from the Parrott Tarot Deck
Images Copyright (c) 1995 by Margaret Parrott