The Rock Art Tarot                                                                                    Review by Michele Jackson

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

This deck uses rock art as a basis for the scenes. The artist is an amateur anthropologist, artist and Tarot reader, who has traveled all over the world to see, sketch and photograph rock art sites. The images in this deck are based on rock art from cultures all over the world. While the deck has 78 cards, 22 Majors, 16 Court Cards and 40 Minors, the artist has renamed most of the majors, and all of the court cards. The majors are:

0 Innocence VIII Strength XVI Unexpected
I Illusion IX Meditation XVII Terrestrial
II Psychic X Ritual XVIII Evolution
III Intuition XI Justice XIX Illumination
IV Logic XII Transition XX Awakening
V Wisdom XIII Transformation XXI Eternal
VI Lovers XIV Harmony  
VII Journey XV Deception  

The suits are:

The court cards consist of Mankind (masculine understanding), Womankind (feminine wisdom), Peacemaker (spirit between childhood and adulthood) and Defender (young adult experiencing and exploring). Every Minor Arcana card and Court Card has a one word interpretation on the bottom of the card under the its name. The art in this deck is very primitive, as one would expect considering the source images. The scenes look like they were done as simple line drawings and colored in with art markers -- rather crude, but effective. The colors are bright and lush, and the overdraw that occurs when you color large areas with a marker adds a certain charm. There are lots of bright pinks, purples, blues, greens and yellows of various shades. The overall effect is cheerful and rather powerful. The artist combines symbols from various rock art locations in her images. She interprets the symbolism in terms of her own understanding, which is fair, considering that no one knows the purpose or meaning of the original works. Some will find the images too crude for their tastes, but I think they are rather charming.

The little booklet that comes with this deck provides the briefest of introductions to rock art and the Tarot. The interpretations provided are listed as "Divination" and "Obstacles." The booklet does not discuss reversals, but the "obstacle" interpretations could be used this way. Two spreads are provided: The Shining Star spread which uses 11 cards and the Calendar Spread, which uses 26. The little booklet is not bad as these things go, but I felt that I needed more information to review the deck. I acquired the $9.95 book.

The book provides some background information on rock art, discussing sites from around the world and the primary type of art found in them. Photographs of the artist in the field working are provided, as well as photographs of various types of rock art and the cards which were based on them. There is a chapter on getting to know the cards. The artist describes her rituals and preparations for readings, not as a formula for others, but to help the reader get ideas. She also discusses methods for making the cards your own by imbuing them with your personal energy. As one would expect, the interpretations in the book are much more robust. Each interpretation has a section describing the symbols in the card. A forewarning is provided, as well as divination and obstacle interpretations from the little booklet. Despite the different names for cards and suits, the fact that the interpretations were derived in part from the interpretations for the Waite-Smith is quite obvious. Three spreads are provided: the two in the little booklet and the Ten of Sensations Prosperity Spread - an elaborate affair using 30 cards. The sources/locations for the art in each card are listed, as well as a bibliography of books about rock art and a glossary of terms used in the book are provided. For the most part, the feel of the book is warm and positive. It put me in mind of the Medicine Woman Tarot Book, but not as deep, and not exclusively Native American. I have to take exception to some of the interpretations though, such as miscarriage for the Nine of Intellect. Perhaps this has been the artist's experience with this card, but I don't think it is appropriate to include it here.

I recommend this deck for those who are interested in rock art, and for those who are looking for something different. The similarities to Waite-Smith in interpretation will ease the transition for those familiar with that deck. I recommend that you buy the book as well as the deck.

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

See more images from the Rock Art Tarot

Rock Art Tarot Deck
ISBN: 0-88079-147-0
Rock Art Tarot Book
ISBN: 0-88079-194-2

Excerpt

As an artist and a mystic, I honor the spiritual being that left its mark on the surface of the earth to begin the evolution of art. Over the years of sketching and photographing panels of rock art images, my spirit was touched by the past. As my pencil re-drew the shapes, and the lines flowed across my sketch pad, tarot images appeared in my mind. These images of the tarot merged with the rock art and a union of spirits emerged. After this I began to have visions and dreams that were dominated by the rock art images. Psychic messages came to me when I was at a rock art site sketching, visiting friends on the reservation, or at home reviewing my sketches. The result of these experiences is the Rock Art Tarot.

Rock Art Tarot pg. vii


SEVEN OF INTUITION
obstacles
 
SYMBOLS:
A bell rings in the stomach of a figure (center) as a warning against the fear of failing and insecurity about obstacles ahead. The turtle's shell (bottom right) is a protective shield against insecurity and fear of success. A circular web (top left) is the window to the future.
 
FOREWARNING:
No matter how many obstacles you face, there will always be enough energy to overcome them. Fear of commitment creates unnecessary insecurity. Unfinished goals create regrets later in life when it is easier to see how manageable they were. Act now!
 
Divination:
Courage, determination, competition, victory with effort, success is forthcoming.
 
Obstacles:
Fear, hesitation, anxiety, self-doubt, embarrassed about success.

Rock Art Tarot pg. 115

 

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This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson