Friday, March 16, 2012

The Tarot of the Holy Light (Tarot Review)

Queen of Wands from The Tarot of the Holy Light.
Awhile back, a friend of mine sent me a copy of The Tarot of the Holy Light (Christine Payne-Towler & Michael Dowers--Noreah/Brownfield Press). Upon opening it, I realized that it would be perfect for an Adept Major game--Can you identify the source of the alchemical imagery in this card?

As my regular readers will not be surprised to learn, this deck was slow to start for me. Why? Simple, my mind got caught up with trying to understand and remember the sources of the alchemical emblems used in the artwork of this deck. After all, I am the person who really needs to take an Alchemy 101 class, often struggling to to read the simpliest of alchemical emblems.

The deck works much better, at least for me, once you set aside your rational mind and forget trying to intellectually decipher the symbolism. I am not sure if my last Inner Order mentor, VH Frater QA, would be pleased to hear that or not (he insisted that I took six months off to study the basics of alchemy--a task I still haven't gotten around to doing, thanks to the horrors of finishing up the final two semesters of my undergraduate degree, well, actually two degrees {the University of Colorado at Denver rules say that I have so many credits that it is two Bachelor degrees, and not a double major}--one hopes that he understands how Senior Seminars trump studying alchemy for the moment).

Of course, given this mode of working (forget knowing exactly what the emblem is supposed to say and going with my gut reaction), and the mash-up of the alchemical symbols drawn from multiple sources, I imagine that this Tarot deck is going to offend the more serious-minded alchemical students and masters. I am quite sure that they will label it "New Age Alchemy." The fact that it is more suitable for a student of psychological alchemy, and less useful for the student of traditional lab alchemy, will automatically offend the student who thinks that only lab or initiated alchemy is worth studying.

For the rest of us, The Tarot of the Holy Light will be more favorably looked upon. Especially for us, who are trying to link the symbols of alchemy to the events of our daily lives. Or at least, those of us who really could care less what the one True and Correct reading of alchemical emblems is.

1 comment:

Tabatha said...

I love your use of cats as tarot card holders!