Le Tarot Du Chat by Carole Sedillot and Claude Trapet
Review by Diane Wilkes

As a major-league cat-fancier, I will pretty much purchase any cat-related tarot decks that come across my line of vision.  Therefore, I couldn't resist buying Le Tarot du Chat.  Since I have several cat-tarots already, I have become somewhat discriminating in my preferences (if not my purchases), and am still looking for the perfect cat tarot.  I find Le Tarot du Chat charming--adorable, even--but am still looking for the Cat Tarot of Dreams.

As you can see, the artwork can be quite clever and humorous.  Strength (which is numbered XI--Justice is VIII) shows a matronly cat taming her nemesis--a dog.  Her hat ribbon is shaped into a wide lemniscate.  Death shows a large cat skeleton in an upright pose.  The Emperor looks like a royal Persian, well-matched to a subtly long-haired Empress.

Judgement is particularly "cat-ified"--variegated cats await the blare of Gabriel's horn--and Gabriel is a winged cat, whose trumpet bears a feline label.  Wide eyes and a halo complete the picture of an angelic Gabriel--but we all know cats who can look like angels and behave like positive devils.

The World card also sports a long-haired white puss dancing inside his wreath (we all also know most cats would eschew dancing for the pleasure of nibbling at the leaves).  The four animals at each corner are a winged cat and the traditional lion, bull and bird.  According to the little white book (which is in French and larger than most lwbs), these animals represent the four elements, but which ones they are isn't explained.  While many are familiar with these correspondences, others are not. 

In fact, that speaks to my sole gripe with this deck; sometimes the symbolism is clear, other times, it's rather confusing. The Seven of Pentacles is reminiscent of the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the card, but then, so is the Six of Pentacles --reminiscent of the Seven, that is. 

Still, many of the cards have similarities to more traditional decks.   I am particularly taken with the Ace of Swords, which shows a set of claws at the bottom of the weapon.  Underneath are two wide green cat-eyes, and the image evokes a sly warrior cat lying-in-wait.  The Seven of Cups shows a cat tentatively sipping at a precariously placed cup.  Two more cups are seen in the reflection of a purple pond, showing that some of them are illusionary. 

The Nine of Cups in the Rider-Waite Smith deck shows a man with many cups around him, implying plenty...and possibly gluttony.  The Tarot du Chat's Nine of Cups offers a similar message, with a cat sleeping lazily next to numerous cups, one on its side.  The implication is that the cat had a little drink before his nap.  Two cups are reflected in the water--perhaps the sleeping feline thinks he has more to drink than he actually does.  

The court cards are as cunning as the rest of the deck.  Unlike most of the cards, which are done in delicate, dreamy pastels, the King of Wands sits on a brightly-patterned throne that could be a comfy chair in a sporty living room.  The floor is made of wide crimson tiles.  Even the King's crown is fire-engine red--and his eyes look suspiciously bloodshot.  He holds a flaming staff--and what is that you see in the flames?  You got it--the winsome face of a cat.   The Queen of Cups has a cozy throne of blue--the color matches her cape and crown, which looks like--of all things--a yalmulke.  According to the LWB's section on color symbolism, blue is the base color of the feminine, passive and receptive.  That would come as quite a surprise to the magnates of American children's clothing! 

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I was able to do an in-depth and powerful reading with this deck.  This might be, in part, because the majority of cards that came up were Majors.  

The cardstock is rather flimsy and the backs an unadorned indigo (for meditation and spirituality, again according to the accompanying booklet.  The LWB says the tarot and cats share the quality of mystery, which inspired the deck creators to birth the Tarot du Chat.  In addition, the 87-page LWB has a short history of the tarot and numerological and body-part correspondences (the eyes and face, for example, represent the intention of the cat on the card).  There are also page-long descriptions of each of the Majors (The Fool is described last), with shorter ones for the suits and the Minor Arcana.  There is also a short "how to use the cards" section (calm yourself, let your intuition guide you, pose your question in a positive way) and a five card spread, Le Tirage en Croix (Carrying the Cross?).

I recommend this deck to cat-enthusiasts and those who enjoy charmingly-done decks.

The deck was published in 1994 and is available from Yves Daniel.  I was unable to ascertain the ISBN number.

Click here to see a sample reading with this deck.

Le Tarot Du Chat
Carole Sedillot and Claude Trapet
Publisher: Jacques Grancer
ISBN#: 2733904159


Images 2001 Carole Sedillot and Claude Trapet
Review and page Diane Wilkes

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