Servants of the Light Tarot

This deck was conceived by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki. The Major Arcana were drawn by Josephine Gill (The Gill Tarot), while the Court Cards and Minor Arcana were drawn some years later by Anthony Clark (The Magickal Tarot). The cards are a little larger than average at 4 5/8" X 3 1/8". The Major Arcana art is excellent with intense colors and good detail. My only caveat is that all of the people have extremely large eyes. Each card has the number in the top border and the name and Hebrew letter in the bottom border. The letter assignments are the same as the Golden Dawn. The majority of the Major Arcana scenes will be familiar to those familiar with the Rider-Waite (Waite-Smith) or other Golden Dawn-based decks; however, some cards such as the Magician and the Priest (Hierophant) show an Egyptian influence. The suits are:

Note that the elements for Weapons and Staves have been changed from the Golden Dawn assignments. The Court Cards have also been changed:

The Court Cards are assigned to Major Arcana cards whose power they are said to manifest. For example "...the Maker of each suit manifests the power of the archetypal Fool, that is, he represents the supernal power of Chockmah residing in the Son/Fool." The Giver manifests the power of the High Priestess, the User, the power of the Emperor and the Keeper, the power of the Empress. The Aces (called Primes) play a key role in this schema as they "...are given in dreams to the Maker, and in the number cards we see these primes as they affect the manifested world and those who live within its boundaries." Information about the Primes is included in the section on the Court Cards. As previously stated, the Court Cards and Minor Arcana were drawn by Anthony Clark and the difference in style is quite obvious.

The Minor Arcana, numbered two through ten, are a combination of scenes and pips. Some cards have little more than the number of the suit item arranged in a pattern, though the pattern is meaningful. Others have scenes, some with backgrounds only and others with backgrounds and people. Clark is also a talented artist and his work is both colorful and detailed, particularly in the court cards.

This deck is sold as a deck/book set and is packaged in one of those horrid plastic cases. The book begins by giving the history of the deck and how it came to be drawn by two different artists. The differences from traditional Tarot discussed above are described, though not explained in any detail. Servants of the Light is a mystery school and the reasoning behind many of the changes may be only known to initiates. There is a black and white reproduction of each card. The imagery of each card is described in some detail, and both an upright and reversed interpretation are given. The reader is sometimes referred to other authors, such as Emily Peach. Overall, the interpretations are quite traditional (Golden Dawn-based). There is a short section on reading the cards which, again, basically refers you to the Tarot books written by Emily Peach and Eileen Connolly. Three spreads are provided: The Stairway Spread, The Pythoness Spread, which is basically a 12 month spread, and the Twenty Questions Spread, which is designed for two people. Ashcroft-Nowicki has written a second book for this deck titled Inner Landscapes.

I recommend this deck for those interested in the Western Mystery Tradition as taught by the Servants of the Light, or for those looking for a deck that is esoteric, but not entirely Golden Dawn-based. While the creator of this deck does not use the Tarot for divination, her husband does, and she acknowledges that both divination and "...exploration of unknown levels of experience" are valid uses of this deck. I do not know if this deck is still in print. I have not seen it in any of my local stores, but it may be available through the Servants of the Light or by special order.

See more cards from the Servants of the Light Tarot Deck

The Servants of the Light Tarot
ISBN: 1-85538-001-3
Publisher: Harper Collins

Excerpt:

Ten of Weapons

The card shows the dropped curtain of a stage, the scenery behind is still in place, showing a blue sky and orange sun. Below is the reality, in true Shakespearean fashion there is a body stabbed behind the arras, with ten swords. A pool of blood oozes down towards the footlights, and the dead hand points in a futile gesture to a lightning bolt.

This is not a card to joke about, it has nothing even remotely cheering in it. It can mean a violent accident or even death, and certainly misfortune on a grand scale. It may act as a warning to the questioner to take precautions.

It may also mean not death,, but ruination, pain and affliction, and the bringing of all this not only onto yourself but onto others. Referring again to Emily Peach's Tarot Prediction: 'It must be remembered that the suit of Swords is one that represents mental action...it is therefore to these aspects of life that one must look...' Reversed it could mean the making of profit, but not for long, one that will soon disappear.

The Servants of the Light Tarot, pg. 81



This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson