The Santa Fe Tarotstfe.jpg (13968 bytes)                                                                                    Review by Michele Jackson

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This deck combines the Tarot and Native American folklore. The drawings are simple line drawings with most of the figures being composed of geometric shapes. Square heads are common. There is probably a name for this style of Native American art, but I don't know what it is. The Major Arcana cards have the traditional Tarot titles, but also have Native American names. For example the High Priestess is also called Corn-Cloud Woman. The booklet that accompanies the deck briefly describes the legend of each Native American figure, but I don't know enough about the culture to comment on their authenticity. The art style and legends are allegedly Navajo in origin and the deck was designed " after extensive research of Navajo symbology and mythology". The Court Cards are King, Queen, Knight and Page, and like the Majors, they are also assigned N.A. names. The suits are Lightening, Rainbows, Water and Buffalo, which are Swords, Wands, Cups and Pentacles respectively. The colors of the Major Arcana are varied. The minors are colored by suit, with the court cards a deep color and the ace through ten a pastel of the same color. Lightening is yellow, Rainbows are a salmon with the A-10 in pink, Water is a dark turquoise and Buffalo is green. There is a book written specifically for this deck and I think it would be useful in understanding the symbolism, however it wasn't available at the store where I bought the deck.
I like the simplicity in the design of this deck, though it is unlikely I will ever read with it. The designs are structured and have a calming effect; even the Tower doesn't look as ominous as it does in most decks. I would recommend it for those who are interested in Native American culture. The use of traditional names on the cards gives you the option of using the traditional interpretations or studying the decks specific symbolism and using it instead. It would probably be more rewarding to use the symbology the artists intended. There is only one spread in the booklet, which is a variation of the Celtic Cross, though it has been renamed the "Windway Spread" and cloaked in N.A. mythology. The deck is available from US Games Systems at $15.00.
See more cards from the Santa Fe Tarot Deck
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This page is Copyright 1997 by Michele Jackson