Tarot of the White Cats; artwork by Severino Baraldi
Review by Arielle Smith

"Way down deep, we are all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them." ~ Jim Davis

A long, long time ago, King Osorkon of the 22nd dynasty placed a white cat in the center of the temple and declared it to have supreme power. Nothing has been the same since.

While black cats usually symbolize the connection with the underworld, white cats often represent the fight against darkness. In Egypt, they were adorned with jewels and gold, worshipped by all. The white tomcat known as Ra represented the power of life. As Osiris, he was the hero who fought death and darkness. Louis XV had a white cat come to his bedroom every morning when he awoke. In American folklore, to dream of a white cat meant good luck in creative matters. Today, it is no accident that Fancy Feast cat food uses the pampered white cat and the slogan "good taste is easy to recognize" to sell premium cat food.

Cats operate on the principle that it never hurts to ask for what you want and this "cat-i-tude" is apparent in the Tarot of the White Cats. Cards are framed with a gold border of tiny little cats all connected to each other. The backs of the cards show a golden chalice with a white cat giving the "high five". The cards themselves are created in brilliant, bright colors - elegantly lush and detailed. And artist Severino Baraldi has managed to capture the multitude of cat expressions perfectly.

The Seven of Swords cat has the same expression your cat has when you hear a loud crash and go to investigate, only to find your cat sitting there with a "Who, me?" expression on his face. The High Priestess cat gently holds the moon down with one foot and manages to look mysteriously wise. The Two of Pentacles cat easily conveys his indecision - to buy sardines or catnip???

But, in true cat spirit, many of the cats have their expressions hidden - which, of course, only adds to the mystery of the cat. This is beautifully expressed on the Death card as we barely see any cat at all - merely a piece of skeletal hand and a piece of skeletal tail, all covered by a black cape - looking out at the stormy water and the complete unknown.

While this is a very gentle, even kid-friendly deck, a few of the cats - the Magician, the Ace of Wands, the Ace of Cups - have their claws out just to remind us that, while cats are very affectionate, they are also capable of fighting for what they want when necessary. Not all of the cats in this deck are pure white either - perhaps a quiet reminder that the world is full of compromises?

Animal advocate Roger Caras said, "Cats are a tonic, they are a laugh, they are a cuddle, they are at least pretty just about all of the time and beautiful some of the time."

The same can be said of this fun, delightful deck.

Tarot of the White Cats
Publisher: Lo Scarabeo
ISBN# #073870463-6

Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with one husband and five cats. Both tree-hugger and animal lover, she is also part-time teacher and lifetime student of the Tarot.

Images 2005 Lo Scarabeo
Review 2005 Arielle Smith
Page 2005 Diane Wilkes