The Mandala Astrological Tarot by A.T. Mann                                 Review by Michele Jackson

The Mandala Astrological Tarot is rather unique on several counts. First of all there are no people in this deck, not even on the court cards. The shape is also different. These cards are perfectly square and thus can end up facing any of the four cardinal directions. The interpretation varies depending on which way they face based on the astrological significance of the direction. Specifically: "…A card in the upright position shows one conscious of the quality described…A card in the upside down position is unconscious of its quality… When the upper title of a card is to the left…the quality of the card is carried in the personality and acted out…When the title of the card is to the right…the quality of the card is derived from, or a projection on to, someone else in the outside world, such as one’s partner."

The scenes are round. The Major Arcana scenes have symbols and scenery, as do the court cards. The Minor Arcana scenes have the suit symbol in the requisite number on a colored background with the corresponding planets and signs prominently worked into the image. The art is only fair, but the colors are beautiful. The cards measure 3 " X 3 ". There is a strong Egyptian influence. The creator of this deck states that the Major Arcana images "are the tableaux of the Egyptian mystery temples with all of the appropriate scenery, imagery, colors, textures, symbolic costumes and ritual implements…" The suits are Cups, Swords, Wands and Pentacles. The court consists of Queen, King, Prince and Princess.

The Mandala Astrological Tarot is sold as a deck/book set. The book begins with a rather inaccurate history. As previously noted, the author believes that the tarot is the hidden knowledge of the ancient Egyptians. There is a brief introduction to astrology and astrological symbolism, a must for understanding this deck. There is also a very short introduction to the Qabala. While knowledge of the Qabala is probably not essential to using this deck, those not acquainted with astrology will probably not find this deck too user friendly. A short section describing how color is used, and a section describing the symbolism found is also provided. The symbolism is another important aspect of this deck. Even the position where a symbol falls on a card is important to interpretation. Each Major Arcana card has a full color enlarged picture of the card with a description of how the card looks in traditional decks, a description of the symbolism on the card, a divinatory meaning and a reversed meaning. The meanings are not Golden Dawn based, rather they are based on the astrological assignments. This is especially evident in the meanings for the Minor Arcana. If you are familiar with astrology, you should be able to quickly learn the meanings.

The Golden Dawn astrological correspondences (with some additions) are used for the Major Arcana, but Mann changes things for the Minor Arcana by assigning the two, three and four of each suit to the decans of the cardinal sign for its element, the five, six and seven to the fixed, and the eight, nine and ten to the mutable. The planet assigned to each card is either the ruler of the sign in the decan, or the ruler of one of the other two signs in that element. If you are lost, remember that I said some astrological knowledge was necessary.

I recommend this deck for those who are familiar with astrology who are looking for something different.

Astrological Mandala Tarot by A.T. Mann
ISBN 0-06-2505831
Published by Thorsons (an imprint of Harper Collins)

See more cards from the Astrological Mandala Tarot

Number XX
The element Fire and the planet Pluto
Shin is vices

The Traditional Judgement

A winged angel within the clouds blows a trumpet of atonement, decorated with a cross-emblazoned banner, to people of all ages emerging from coffins and graves.

The Symbolism of Judgement

The element Fire shows the energy of heaven which shatters structures to unite humanity, and Pluto which shows the required destruction of existing forms before regeneration occurs. Death and destruction are only preludes to rebirth in a new and higher state, as all causes must be transcended. The coffin is life’s structure, within which humanity is trapped, floating on the surface of the unconscious – yet male and female differences must be integrated to form the central child, which is unity. The whole scene is presided over by the winged solar disc of the law of the cosmos.

Divination Meanings

Success despite difficulties which force an about turn. The decision to complete an action leads to the termination of current partnerships. Accomplishing the work of transformation. Changes of position and beliefs.

Reversed Meanings

Being required to make decisions which shatter exiting relationships. Delay, transient glory and then success.

The Mandala Astrological Tarot pg. 76 - Images and text Copyright 1987 A.T. Mann

This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson