The Pagan Tarot by Gina Pace, Artwork by Luca Raimondo and Cristiano Spadoni
Review by Arielle Smith 

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

The Pagan Tarot, is published by Lo Scarabeo and designed by Gina Pace, with artwork by Luca Raimondo and Cristiano Spadoni.  Gina Pace is a Priestess of the Pagan Religion, as well as a respected tarot expert – she has her own website, which includes deck reviews. 

If you say the word “pagan”, how do people react?  We had a good friend who studied many metaphysical subjects and who considered himself well educated.  He met a woman who shared many of his interests and they had promise as a couple.  However, one day he announced the relationship was over.  “She’s a PAGAN”, he said.  “Well,” we asked, “do you know what a pagan is?”  His stuttered reply had something to do with devils and orgies so we explained that pagans actually honor all life, revere Mother Earth, observe and celebrate the seasons, and believe in the Threefold Law.  Our friend calmed down, but he never did date the woman again.

Gina Pace obviously understands the complexity of a pagan living in the modern world.  Pagan tools, symbols and rituals intermingle with computers, cars, and modern dress in this tarot deck.   It challenges us to incorporate our beliefs into the every day world, dealing with the prejudices and intolerance of a modern society.

One of the most powerful cards in the deck is the Hierophant.  With a beautiful church in the background, we see a book burning in the foreground.  The card is uncomfortable.  The little white booklet (LWB) says, “We are challenged each day to deal with authority and the status quo; we must ask ourselves to do what is right.  Sometimes we must go against the grain of establishment, other times we must work for changes within the very system that haunts us.”  Truly a difficult task.

Many of the Major Arcana have a slightly different slant to them.  The Hermit shows me in my very crowded office (no, wait, that’s not me – it just seems like it’s me!)  From the LWB:  “Hermits have typically been considered reclusive, but the hermit does not run from society out of fear; instead, the Hermit needs seclusion in order to hear the voice of the God/dess within.  We must seek out a quiet place, either physically or through meditation, in order to hear the voice within.”

As expected in a pagan tarot, the minors are divided by the elements:  earth (Pentacles), air (Swords), fire (Wands) and water (Cups).  The aces in the deck made a particular impression on me as they all have such a sense of isolation – perhaps this speaks to the fact that nobody can decide to take up new challenge or begin a new project for us…we must be our own creative force.

Court cards are different.  Instead of Page, Knight, Queen, King, we get Elemental (the very beginning, purest form of energy), the Novice (being motivated to take action), the Initiate (making headway, growing) and the Elder (realizing the true potential, now having the responsibility to pass what has been learned on to someone else).

The Pagan Tarot appears to me to be a great deck for those who read the cards intuitively.  Each card tells a mini-story.  I asked, “What can I learn from this deck?” and pulled the Emperor.  No “benign despot” here, as this card shows ordinary people walking into a room in a church.  It’s a little difficult to tell what is going on, as one man seems to be talking to a priest, while another priest looks away disinterested.  Two of the nine people shown appear to be one priest helping another priest.  Is he trying to get away?  Or is he ill?  Why is he wearing glasses?  The other priest is very calm, so everything must be okay, right?  What does it all mean?  I feel it means that when it comes to authority, we must think for ourselves…make up our own minds…make our own choices.  We can ask a lot of questions, we can respect society, and we can look at all the options.  But, in the end, we must do what we feel is right.  We must follow our hearts.

The Pagan Tarot will not appeal to everyone.  But pagans and Wiccans will find it a deck worth owning.  And using.

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

Arielle Smith, well on her way to becoming a weird eccentric, is a Certified Tarot Grand Master living in Florida with her husband and four cats. Both tree-hugger and animal lover, she is also a part-time teacher and lifetime student of the Tarot. You can visit her at her website, Mystik Moons.


Images © 2004 Lo Scarabeo
Review © 2004 Arielle Smith
Page © 2004 Diane Wilkes