Shining Tribe Tarot by Rachel Pollack        Review by Valerie Sim-Behi

This is part of a larger article on Tarot and the Shaman.

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

"Shamanic Ecstasy"

The Cards

Llewellyn Publications says this in reference to these marvelous cards: "Tarot scholar Rachel Pollack has created an evocative new Tarot steeped in symbolism drawn from six continents and fifty thousand years of human spiritual images. The sources of Shining Tribe Tarot include Stone Age rock art, Native American and African shamanism, Australian Aboriginal art, and the kabbalah. At the same time, this is very much a traditional Tarot, rooted in the authorís thirty years as a leader in the modern Tarot movement." I almost always find book jacket descriptions to be overblown and exaggerated. Not this time!

Ms. Pollack states: "All of us who work with Tarot form a kind of tribe, one whose roots go back many thousands of years before the actual appearance of Tarot cards. This is the tribe of diviners, those special magicians, shamans, psychics, and visionaries who use cards, or sticks, or trees, or stones, or shells to communicate with the Gods." 

In journeying beyond herself in search of those roots, and in intuitively connecting with those tribes, she has created a deck that carries a hint of shamanic "ecstasy".

Ecstasy derives from the Greek word "ekstasis" which means to be placed outside. Shamanic ecstasy is thus a state of exaltation in which the soul of the Shaman ascends into the Upperworld or descends into the Lowerworld. This type of state is usually only achieved after a great deal of shamanic training and initiation, some of which occurs under distressing circumstances. A true ecstatic state is generally experienced physiologically (nervous physical response), emotionally (awe, joy, fear, passion, etc.) and intuitively (understanding of the experience and its resultant state of awareness/consciousness.)

Ms. Pollack, though quick to establish that she is not a Shaman herself, had this to say when I let her know that I would be writing this review from a shamanic perspective: "There is something in me that deeply connects to that path, and I think understands it from within, through affinity to myth and image." I heartily agree! This deck, the book that accompanies it, her previous classic, 78 Degrees of Wisdom, and even her fiction writing, are shamanic in various different ways. 

Though you will not find yourself physically transported into a state of ecstasy via the deck, for the Tarotist/Shaman, this deck is a great one for obtaining additional insights into those states experienced earlier. For the non-Shaman it will be a breath of fresh air and a welcome window for both Tarot and dream work.

For more information and card scans for this deck/book set, see the review of the Shining Tribe book here.

You can read other reviews of the Shining Tribe Tarot (though not from a shamanic perspective) here and see a reading done with this deck here.

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

Shining Tribe Tarot
Written and illustrated by Rachel Pollack
Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
ISBN: 1-56718-532-0

Valerie Sim-Behi is the founder and moderator of Comparative Tarot, an email list devoted to studying cards of different decks  in comparison to each other.   She has worked with the tarot for over 30 years.  Valerie created a spread that will appear in the book accompanying the Victoria-Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall, and has written various articles, including one on the Comparative Tarot method that will be published in Llewellyn's Tarot Calendar 2002.  You can visit Valerie at the Comparative Tarot websiteValerie wants to offer special thanks to Leah Pugh, Scanner Goddess for this series.

Review © 2001 Valerie Sim-Behi
Page © 2001 Diane Wilkes
Images © 2001 Llewellyn Publishing











Click Here!