Vision Quest Tarot by Gayan S. Winter, Illustrated by Jo Dose
Review by Valerie Sim-Behi
If you would like to purchase this deck, click
This is part of a larger article on Tarot and the Shaman
"Visions and Dreams"
The author begins with this statement: "This Tarot does not purport to embody the teachings of the Red Way. Nevertheless, it helps us view the events and changes in our lives from a fresh and more profoundly insightful angle." This deck is successful, in that its approach is more an artistic chronicle of indigenous culture and its relationship to the land and elements than a clumsy social commentary on the benefits and detriments of said culture. I find it a respectful, gentle, positive, and useful tool for spiritual illumination.
The art in this deck is good. The colors are vivid, but convey a feeling of gentleness and dreaminess. This deck is a pleasant vehicle for obtaining elucidation about shamanic visions and dreams. It lends itself well to such examination and to general meditation as well.
Something I appreciate as a Tarot reader and collector is that this deck is not just another Rider-Waite clone. Many of the pip card meanings are identical to those in the Book of Thoth and card symbolism is similar to several of the Golden Dawn-based decks, as in the case of the Two of Fire.
Another nice feature of this deck is the way the artist has used multiple, yet compatible, symbols for the suits. The suit of Water, corresponding to Cups, is alternately pictured as cups, bowls, and jars. In the Nine of Water, we see a culturally unique depiction of bounty, wishes come true, and joy as depicted by the nine large jars full of life-giving water. In Paleo-American society, those cultures who controlled the most copious water supplies were indeed "wealthy". Those who had trouble securing an on-going source of water frequently ceased to exist as such, either perishing due to drought and resultant famine, or being forced to migrate.
Another example of threatened survival is similarly depicted in the Five of Earth, subtitled "Insecurity". In this card, the parched land has ceased to yield much sustenance. Not only is the corn withered and the land barren, the bowl itself is even cracking with the utter lack of moisture.
Even the frequently grim Ten of Swords card receives a new interpretation with this deck’s Ten of Air. Here ten vultures are feeding on an animal carcass. One life has ended, but the literal ingestion of this ending leads to renewed life for the birds it feeds. This is a concept that is integral to shamanism and the inter-relatedness of all life in the spiral of existence.
You can read another review of the Vision Quest Tarot by Michele Jackson here.
If you would like to purchase this deck, click here.
Vision Quest Tarot
Author: Gayan S. Winter; Illustrator: Jo Dose
Publisher: AGMuller; Distributor: US Games, Inc.
Valerie Sim-Behi is the founder and moderator of Comparative Tarot, an email list devoted to studying cards of different decks in comparison to each other. She has worked with the tarot for over 30 years. Valerie created a spread that will appear in the book accompanying the Victoria-Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall, and has written various articles, including one on the Comparative Tarot method that will be published in Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar 2002. You can visit Valerie at the Comparative Tarot website. Valerie wants to offer special thanks to Leah Pugh, Scanner Goddess for this series.
Review © 2001 Valerie Sim-Behi
Page © 2001 Diane Wilkes
Images © 1998 AG Muller