The Tapestry Tarot                                                                        Review by Michele Jackson

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This is a new offering designed by Yvonne G. Jensen and distributed by U.S. Games. It is on the cutting edge of being "not quite a Tarot" deck. The Major Arcana have been radically changed and two additional cards have been added. The new and changed Majors are as follows:
 
Path of Life = The Loverstap.jpg (20254 bytes)
The Cart of Heaven = The Chariot
The Pilgrim = The Hermit
The Resurrection = Judgment
The Earth (card 22) new
The Universe (card 23) new - this card is in addition to The World card
The Tramp = The Fool
Justice is 8 and Strength is 11
 
The suits are Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles and the Court Cards are Man, Woman, Knight and Page. Jensen does not follow the usual astrological assignments using the houses to start her attributions with the Magician being the first house: Aries, The Priestess the second house: Taurus, etc. She then assigns the planets with Saturn assigned to Death, Mercury to Temperance, etc. I think I have seen a similar correspondence system before in my reading, but can't put my finger on it right now. The Majors have been assigned body parts as well, with The Magician = the head, the High Priestess = the throat and the Empress = the lungs and hands. A listing of all of Jensen's correspondances would be too lengthy; suffice it to say many of her ideas are original.
 
The art is different as well. The cards are photographs of tapestry work done by the artist. The scenes on the Majors are similar to their traditional counterparts, despite the new names. The Path of Life, for instance, looks like the traditional The Lovers card and The Cart of Heaven looks like The Chariot. The Majors have the name written on the top, the body part, sign and house down the side and the number on the bottom. The tapestry work is not flat. The cards which depict people have more a "doll like" look than a flat tapestry look. The artist used a variety of fabrics and textures in her work, making the deck a visual treat. On the downside, her people cards look like caricatures, with large heads and eyes and smaller bodies." Puppetlike" would also describe them. There are no scenes on the minors, rather the number of items in the suit are arranged in such a way as to convey the artist's interpretation of the card. Each Minor card has a one word interpretation on top, the house of the zodiac on both sides and the name of the card on the bottom, which is helpful because the number of items in each card is not always readily apparent. The cards are rather large (4" X 5 1/2") and the back has a tapestry work done in orange, brown and gold. The entire deck is attractive in a primitive sort of way.
 
The artist has some interesting ideas concerning Tarot. She says she takes her inspiration from the Hathor Temple in Endera. She then goes on to transform the name Hathor into Rohtah and Rohtah into Tahroh. Hmmmm. Her interpretations of the minors are based somewhat on the traditional, though she has made subtle changes which change the interpretations in my opinion. If nothing else can be said for the artist, she has definitely given her assignments and correspondences some thought, and she was not afraid to stray far from the beaten path.
 
The booklet that comes with deck is a little better than most. The first section describes the artist's concepts and suggestions for "consulting the oracle" as she puts it. She gives no spreads, advocating an "ask a question and pull a card" approach. She also describes a method using the first 12 cards of the Major and their correspondences to the houses of the zodiac to verify your readings.
Overall this deck is a radical departure from the Waite-Smith/Golden Dawn based decks so prevelant. A book written specifically for the deck would be helpful, though the artist encourages one to use their own intuition when working with and interpreting the cards. Some knowledge of astrology would also be helpful in using this deck. An interesting deck.
 
See more cards from the Tapestry Tarot Deck

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This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson