Ibis Tarot                                                                                                   Review by Michele Jackson

This deck is what I would call an "Egyptian theme deck". In the 18th century, Comte C. de Saint-Germaine, thought that the Tarot was an ancient Egyptian manuscript. He can be forgiven this error, because there was no way to decipher hieroglyphics at the time. Occultists of his era (and some of the general public), were fascinated by the ancient Egyptians. Since that time, the Rosetta stone made translation of ancient Egyptian texts possible, and there is no mention of Tarot, nor of the mysterious book Saint Germaine thought the cards encoded, yet the Egyptian theory of Tarot origin persists to this day. I have several "Egyptian" decks in my collection, but my knowledge of the underlying theme is slight, so I have avoided reviewing them. This is my first attempt. Egyptologists, historians, those who are devoted to an Egyptian pantheon, etc, will have to bear with me.

The art in this deck is fairly good. The style is somewhat stiff in keeping with ancient Egyptian art. The colors are bold, and there is a good amount of detail in the drawings. The Majors have non-traditional names, based on the work of Comte C. de Saint Germaine, but most can be recognized because the scenes are basically re-workings of the Waite-Smith. The names are:

1-The Magician 2- The gate of the Sanctuary (High Priestess) 3-Isis-Urania (Empress) 4-The Cubic Stone (Emperor)
5-The Master of the Arcanas (Hierophant) 6-The Two Paths (Lovers) 7-The Chariot of Osiris (Chariot) 8-The Balance and the Sword (Justice)
9-The Veiled Lamp (Hermit) 10-The Sphinx (Wheel of Fortune) 11-The Tamed Lion (Strength) 12-The Victim (Hanged Man)
13-The Reaping Skeleton (Death) 14-The Two Urns (Temperance) 15-The Typhon (The Devil) 16-The Thunderstruck Tower
17-The Star of the Magicians (Star) 18-The Twilight (Moon) 19-The Beaming Light (Sun) 20-The Resurrection from Death (Judgment)
21-The Crown of the Magicians (World) 22-The Crocodile (Fool)    

The Court Cards have also been renamed: Master (King), Mistress (Queen), Warrior (Knight), Slave (Page). The Suits are Sceptres, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The numbered cards do not have scenes, but do have some symbolism other than the number of the suit object. The cards are rather long and narrow (2 3/8" X 4 5/8"). Per the little booklet, the deck is based on the work of Compte C. de Saint Germaine. The human figures are designed according to measurements prevalent in Egyptian paintings, and the colors are supposedly based on the Qabala and Astrology.

The little booklet that comes with the deck is better than most. It gives some background information on the deck and has more information about how to read the cards than most. The section on the Majors describes the symbolism on each card and provides an upright and reversed interpretation, though the reversed interpretations seem to be primarily opposites of the uprights. There is no description of the symbolism in the Minors. This is too bad, because it obvious that there is a great deal of symbolism in the Minor Arcana, even though they are not illustrated with scenes. Although this little booklet is quite good as the genre goes, a separate, more comprehensive book would be helpful. I feel that there is a lot of depth to this deck, and the little booklet just scratches the surface.

I recommend this deck for collectors, and those who are interested in ancient Egyptian culture and/or religion.

See the IBIS Tarot


The IBIS Tarot
ISBN: 3-905021-59-5
Published by AGMuller 

This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson