Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon
Review by Patty Leinweber
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The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon is a darkly colored deck with many details that can jump out at the reader in one reading and stay neatly tucked into the background in the next, making for interesting and varied readings. The Major Arcana cards include the element, Hebrew letter, an image of the Tree of Life, and astrological sign. These symbols flow into the painting, and donít detract or stand out, but are still easily found and read. The cardstock and size of the cards is similar to a deck of playing cards, making for easy handling.
I must admit that I am absolutely not objective or dispassionate about this deck. I started my Tarot journey with
the Universal Waite, but when I found the Spiral Tarot I fell in love with it, and use it nearly exclusively. Iíve wandered into a few other decks that struck me, but always go back to the Spiral.
Although many of the images will be very familiar to those who use any of the Rider-Waite-Smith decks, the ones that I particularly love are those that are depicted differently from those decks. There is a wonderful image of a woman sprouting horns, turning away in horror from a mirror being held by the Devil. This reminds me that hiding behind illusion is as destructive as wallowing in the traditional overindulgence depicted in the Rider-Waite-Smith.
I also enjoy the girl on the Two of Swords walking on a tightrope over a rocky sea with her blindfold and tightly held swords. This child is not just waiting at an impasse or crossroads, but walks with courage into the unknown. What a message! The Court Cards are pictured as truly in their element, with the Swords in the clouds, wind blowing their hair, and the Cups in the water, the King and Queen at the bottom of the ocean.
The Aces also have a look of their own, with the Ace of Pentacles especially detailed in its earthiness. Some people are likely to be put off by the Victorian dress on the figures in the pips, but I find it interesting that both men and women pictured in those restrictive clothes and assumed to be in a restrictive society are depicted as strong willed, and independent. This reminds me that assumptions are worthless while reading. The only visual that has a sort of jarring effect is the large yin-yang symbol on the Two of Cups. It certainly brings forward the message of equality in partnership that is clearly depicted in the faces and stances of the figures on the card, but it is loud and preachy, going against the flow of the color and line in the card.
The mythological stories depicted on the Major Arcana cards are explained in detail in the accompanying book, as are many of the symbols. She spends a little ink on the explanation of Hebrew letters, Tree of Life, and Astrological Signs, and also just a little on the divinations, leaving reversal definitions to the reader to determine. The Minors are given just a paragraph each, and I wish that Ms. Steventon would have explained some of the symbolism here a little more. She did explain the dress on the pips in the introduction to the book: her grandmother was a major influence on her Tarot journey, so she gave her characters the kind of dress style that her grandmother would have worn or seen in the late 1800ís.
Patty Leinweber is a member of ATA, and has studied Tarot under Teresa Michelsen, author of Designing Your Own Tarot Spreads. Her experience in life is as Empress, being a homemaker and mother for a quarter of a century. She uses Tarot as a tool to expand her own spiritual awareness and to read for the Free Tarot and Free Reading Networks.
Images © US Games
Review © 2003 Patty Leinweber
Page © 2003 Diane Wilkes