Wheel of Change Tarot
by Alexandra Genetti
Destiny Books; Rochester, Vermont: 1997
ISBN 0-89281-609-0

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


Amazing how the hype over a new Tarot deck can color one's expectations. I'm not sure why I'm surprised how much I like Wheel of Change given all the opinions I've seen have been upbeat.

Here one can see the usual connections in the symbolism to Rider Waite and other decks. The RW influence is certainly evident in the stories told in the suit cards. But here there's no QBL, Masonic implications (that I can tell; then again, I'm not a mason), little numerology, a smattering of astrology, and none of the pseudo alchemical Christian mysticism we find in Waite's system. Also entirely absent is any reference to a particular system of magic(k). Is WOC's independence from the Golden Dawn a strength? I would hazard to say some will immediately hail it as a weakness, an indication of "pop psychology", or some other catch phrase/pigeonhole.

And yet as one studies Genetti's deck, individual fragments from many pagan
traditions leap out, especially in the varied Court cards. The Celtic
letter mysticism of oghma and nature/Goddess symbolism of Genetti's Five of
Swords is most original and compelling. I suppose Genetti's intended
meanings aren't entirely necessary for the reader, but I wonder, as I do
with decks I consider serious, if the user of WOC is not better off
absorbing the lessons she teaches (or perhaps she alludes to).

Some may find the art somewhat crude. Personally I can live with that
considering the deck's merits. And besides, some of the best decks (Tarot
of Ceremonial Magick) cannot hold a candle to true masterpieces such as
Thoth and a handful of others.

Let's examine a few cards. Some of the more effective images are simple,
such as the four of cups, earthen clay bowls on various pedastals with
sunlight draining through the window. The six of cups aptly visualizes the
intended meaning: six shattered pueblo pots in a thunderstorm. Not
everything works for me, like the five of wands: five candles ritually laid
out in the four directions and center. I like the idea of electric guitars
in a tarot deck, but the three of wands/electric guitars symbolising the
connection between electricity and adolescent rebellion--I don't know. Many
of the explanations for individual cards seem a bit jargony for me. I
realize these things are largely a matter of personal taste, but here's an
example. The six of wands, "the maze of a refinery against a dramatic sky",
opines
When this card is part of a reading, it is time to actively examine
your own psychological journey. It is a warning that some darkness
of the inner psyche threatens you on the path ahead.

Take this as you will, much of this sounds a bit like Deepak Chopra.

The trumps are much more complex in design. Genetti's Justice bears no
sword: it is about the balance of nature and elements. Birds, fish and land
animal swarm around the woman holding the scales. Her Temperance is more or
less the trump of the magic of the Goddess, which balances nicely with her
masculine Magician. Many magic historians have suggested these are the two
types of magic after all--nature based, cthonic; and linear, intellectual
and ritualized. Genetti's Star and World are so beautifully rendered it
would be an injustice to describe them here. Her Devil seems equal parts
Pan, Priapus and the Celtic Horned God, a male Demeter if you will, and
certainly not the image of slavery, transgression and sin presented in
"traditional" decks. Is it my imagination, or does Genetti's Tower imply a
connection to the exploding tower of Sauron at the climax of J.R.R.
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings?

Finally, some intriguing spreads are presented in Genetti's book that comes
with the deck. A magical triangle, pentagram, and hexagram spread.


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

review by George Leake

 



This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson