ancest7.jpg (14661 bytes)The Ancestral Path Tarot - Review by Michele Jackson

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

This deck is one of the more interesting in my collection. It combines the traditional Tarot with the myths and legends of  four races. Swords are based on an Ainu epic song and depict the Japanese during their feudal era. Staves (Wands) are based on the Osirian myth and are representative of the Egyptians during the reign of Ramses II. Cups are based on the Arthurian/Grail legends. Sacred Circles (Pentacles/Disks) describe a Menominee creation legend and are described by Native Americans. The cards are more square than most at 3 1/8" X 4 1/8". The art is excellent. The images are very detailed. The artist, Julia Cuccia-Watts, used herself as the model in several cards. You can see her in the High Priestess, the Empress, the Lovers, the Devil and Judgment. Like the Minor Arcana, the Majors are also multi-cultural. Cuccia-Watts mixes traditional imagery with her own vision of the cards. Anyone familiar with the traditional Major Arcana imagery will be able to identify most of her cards, even without titles. The only one that is a radical departure from the traditional is the Hanged One. Cuccia-Watts uses a fetus in the womb, positioned for birth. The book (not the little booklet) states: "...the fetus is the perfect symbol of voluntary suspension, surrendering to something beyond one's ability to control." The Majors have traditional names. Justice is VIII and Strength is XI.

The court consists of King, Queen, Prince and Princess. As previously stated, each suit represents a culture from one of four races. Aces are the elemental energy of each suit. The two through ten of each suit tell a story. Some of the cards are similar to those found in the Waite deck. The Eight and Ten of Staves, Two, Four, and Eight of Cups, and Two and Ten of Swords are examples. The backs are not reversible.

The little booklet that comes with this deck provides some background information on the deck and on Tarot in general. Upright meanings are provided for each card. The Celtic Cross spread is described. One could get by with just the little booklet. However, there is a book written specifically for this deck by Tracey Hoover, who can be seen on the Fool. The book describes each card in terms of its imagery and the story associated with the suit. Upright meanings are provided for each card where both the "positive" and "negative" aspects of each card are discussed. There is also a chart based on the wheel of the year that gives a time period for each card. The dates can be used for timing questions or to provide insights based on birthdays or other key dates. Seven different types of spreads, called patterns, are described. Some patterns have more than one spread. For example, the circular pattern is described using zodiac signs, astrological houses and the wheel of the year. Sample readings are provided for each pattern. An excerpt from the full length book (not the little booklet) is below.

I recommend this deck for those looking for a multi-cultural deck or for a deck that is different from the traditional. While many of the meanings are traditional, others are specific to this deck. Those familiar with the Waite deck will have a learning curve, but not a huge one. It may also prompt one to delve more deeply into the background myths and legends for each suit. I bought the deck and the book separately, but they are now available as a set. For some reason, the set costs more than the book and deck sold separately. 

See more cards from the Ancestral Path Tarot Deck

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

Click here to peruse a reading with this deck.

The Ancestral Path Tarot Deck by Julia Cuccia-Watts and book by Tracey Hoover
ISBN 0-88079-141-1 (deck) and 0-88079-176-4 (book)
Publisher: US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St., Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax (203)353-8431


Ace of Staves

Description: An elaborately stylized Ankh dominates the foreground, an embodiment of the suit qualities of the Staves (the flame/fire of inspiration and creativity, of life and growth). The golden scepter is banded in ebony and ringed with semi-precious stones (lapis lazuli, carnelian, and amber); a quartz crystal is embedded in its center. The ankh thrusts itself away from the desert, a statement of the determination of life to overcome death through resurrection, and rises majestically over the Valley of the Kings. The great pyramids glisten in the noonday sun, guarded by the magnificent sphinx. A burning brazier smokes to the left of the ankh scepter, representing the fiery element of the stave suit.

Meanings: Elemental fire, flame, light, warmth, and energy. Growth, enterprise, beginnings, potential. Activity, initiative, creativity. Conversely, the destructive, burning use of fire or light. Stagnation, stunted potential, blighted growth, malaise.

Review Copyright 1999 Michele Jackson
Page Copyright 2000 Diane Wilkes