Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot Book by Julia Turk                    Review by Michele Jackson

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While the little booklet that came with this deck was OK as these things go, I had looked forward to getting the full book written for this deck. Julia Turk's deck is obviously based on the Qabala, but how much so? Why did she change the assignments that she did? Why did she change the order of the Majors? These questions are answered in this book.

Part One: The Navigators of the Mystic Sea, begins by providing some background information on the Hermetic Cabala. She provides some Tarot basics - 78 cards, four suits etc. She then explains that she has changed some of the Hebrew letter assignments, the order of the Major Arcana, and her reasoning for starting her path working at the bottom sphere of the Tree. A brief outline of what we will find in the remaining chapters of the book is also provided here.

Part Two: The Pips, takes us through the Ten through Ace of each suit. Each number is considered together, from what Turk designates as the lowest to the highest, i.e., we start with the Ten of Pentacles, which Turk designates as the lowest card in the decks, and go through the Ten of Swords, Cups, etc., etc., till the Ace of Wands. The discussion of each set number begins by listing its sphere on the Tree of Life and a list of correspondences for that sphere, including Appropriate Words, Planets, Rulers, Colors, Metals, Gemstones, Plants, Animals and Key Words. Next is a discussion of the card itself, beginning with the Keyword, followed by a brief statement. This is followed by a longer discussion of the card, which usually describes the symbolism and Turk's thoughts on the cards. There is no separate divinatory meaning listed, rather the discussion of the card contains the meaning.

Part Three: The Court Cards, starts with an explanation of Turk's views on the court cards and the types of people that they represent. Commonalties are described here as well. For example: "All Pages…are androgynous…have one foot on a particular spot and are moving forward…have left something material behind them…." The descriptions of the individual cards provide the elemental correspondences, a key word, and an I-Ching hexagram. This is followed by a statement about the cards and a description, like the section for the pips. Turk assigns physical descriptions to each card as well, including build, complexion, hair and eye color.

Part Four: The Major Arcana begins with a review of Turk's thoughts on the pips and court card which leads us into her ideas about the Majors. She describes certain Major Arcana cards as representing specific functions. For example she see the card "Destiny" as representative of the personality. She also views the Major Arcana on the Tree of Life as passages from one state of being to another. This section is followed by a discussion of each card in relation to its path on the Tree of Life. The "traditional" path is given, followed by Turk's assignments. For example: Sun - Traditional Tarot: Yesod to Hod, Navigators Tarot: Malkuth to Hod. Turk explains the reasoning behind the assignment. In the case of the Sun, she felt it was important to balance it with the Moon. Following these explanations we find the individual meanings for each card. Turks starts with the Universe and begins each card by providing some Qabalistic correspondences and the key words assigned to the card. This is followed by a statement that sets the mood for the card. A divinatory meaning is proved next, followed by a section called "Commentary," which describes the card and provides Ms. Turk's thoughts on the card. Each of the Majors is described in this manner.

I definitely recommend this book for those who use this deck. It is clearly written and provides a great deal of insight into Ms. Turk's ideas. This is not what I would call a "light read." Turk provides a lot more detail than we usually see in books of this type. Because her deck is based on the Qabala, some knowledge of that subject would be helpful as well.

Navigators of the Mystic Sea Tarot Book
Author: Julia Turk
Publisher: US Games Systems, 179 Ludlow St, Stamford, CT 06902, (800)544-2637, Fax: (203) 353-8431
ISBN: 1-57281-023-8

If you would like to purchase this book, click here.

Copyright 1996/97 Michele Jackson