Tarot Swietlistej Drogi
by Alla Alicja Chrzanowska
Review by Dan Pelletier
The Tarot Swietlistej Drogi comes from Poland and artist Alla Alicja Chrzanowska. A rough English translation of the deck's title would be “Tarot of the Radiant Path.”
What struck me first was the simplistic color scheme used. On a black background, a limited palette of yellow and white is used. The result is a deck that is at once stark and luxurious…simple, bold, and haunting.
Each card has the English title appearing at the bottom, and at the top is the Polish title. Also, to the left of the Polish title appears a number, which sequences the entire deck.
Here we begin to move away from standard accepted Tarot theory.
The Minor Arcana of the Drogi is numerically sequenced, beginning with the Ace of Wands at 23. The Cups commence at 37, Swords at 51, and Pentacles at 65. Wands are fire, and Swords are air. As you can see, the sequence of the suits is a departure from the Cardinal Points (E-S-W-N) school of thought, and follows Lévi’s Cabalistic rotation.
The images themselves are a serious departure from the traditional American/English and Marseilles Tarot. They appear to be based on a numerological progression.
Let’s look at a few cards for some examples: The Six of Wands – mother and father are sewing something – a child is with them, they appear to be working together, they sit before a large fire. This demonstrates harmony, responsibilities, transitions, home, and family. These three individuals appear to be present on the Six of Cups – now they are fishing; Mom has a basket.
In the Tarot Swietlistej Drogi, Swords are intellect as opposed to the ‘pain and suffering’ that we may be used to seeing. Predominant images besides Swords are books, plans, and people in thought. The Three of Swords depicts a man with three swords…and the ghost figure of a bird escaping from his lips. The 10 of Swords shows a man studying books in a library. Although books surround him, one book sits to our left that is different than the others. To me, it evokes a feeling that one project is ending – and another is at hand.
Pentacles…you know the Four of Pentacles…the guy sitting greedily hoarding his money. Here, a numerical value of a four is about the four virtues: stability, order, structure, and creating the basis for future success. Fours relate to self-discipline, and maintaining the status quo. Where does greed come in? In the imagery of the Drogi, we see a baker, with four loves of freshly cooked (Rye?) bread. Yummm.
In the Nine of Pentacles, Waite and Colman-Smith give us a woman in a garden. A hooded falcon rests at her hand and a snail crawls on the ground. The Drogi shows a man surrounded by human, artistic, and architectural perfection – and he is at peace amongst them.
The deck images are beautiful. Some of the illustrations are in full flower (literally).
The sequencing numbers in the upper-left can also be used to help ‘seek’ a deeper meaning. Remember the Four of Pentacles? The Rye Bread? The card number is 68. The six is about a sense of harmony, responsibility – and the focus and control necessary to direct energy toward attaining goals. Eights also show movement and changing direction. (Indeed, the figure is in a dynamic--as opposed to a static--pose.)
I have no idea if this was intended. But it works. The book, which appears to be quite in-depth, is in Polish. I don’t happen to read Polish.
When I first picked up the deck…and felt its size...it filled my hand. It felt large. However, it did not feel as cumbersome as some ‘larger’ decks. It ‘felt’ right.
Pythagoras said, “Numbers rule the universe.” Euclid once said, “The laws of nature are but the mathematical thoughts of God."
The dimensional ratio of the Drogi comes close to Phi, at 1.68. (Phi is 1.618; Pi is 3.14159.) Most readily available decks range between 1.7159 to over 2.0.
The Drogi reflects the approaching of this sacred number. Perhaps that’s why it ‘feels’ right in the hand. It is divine proportion.
This is indeed a "Tarot of the Radiant Path.” The deck reflects it in imagery, color, and form.
Dan Pelletier lives 13 miles north of Seattle Washington with his lifemate of 19 years, Jan Welsh, his two cats, Spook and Pookha, and 31 rosebushes. He has been reading cards for himself and others for 30+ years. Dan is also one of the owners of The Tarot Garden, a resource for tarot decks and related information on the Internet.
Review © 2004 Dan Pelletier
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes