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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

REVIEW: The Kingdom Within Tarot

R E V I E W

_About My Reviews_


 
The Kingdom Within Tarot
Juno Lucina (Author)
Shannon ThornFeather (Illustrator)
79 cards; 176-page paperback book
Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: February 28, 2011
ISBN-10: 0764337114
ISBN-13: 978-0764337116
Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 11.7 inches

TOP LINE (formerly Bottom Line)

I really enjoy decks that incorporate astrology and the Qabalistic Tree of Life. If you have an interest in either of those areas, you are more likely to appreciate this deck than someone who has no interest or knowledge of those fields. I feel that a beginner would likely be overwhelmed and confused by this deck -- although the accompanying book is thorough if you want to take the time to study it.

As an eternal student (Sagittarius), I am drawn to complex decks like this. I like how the artist uses astrological attributions in the images. For example, Temperance (Trump 14), which is linked with Sagittarius, depicts two centaurs and the planet Jupiter. In a nod to the traditional RWS card, one centaur pours blazing light (Fire) from one goblet into another.

I also appreciate the parallels with Crowley's keywords for the Minors. For example, the Seven of Wands in this deck has the words "Valiant Resistance" at the top, where Crowley's Thoth deck uses the word "Valour." In the Kingdom Within, the Eight of Wands is "Fleeting Force," whereas Crowley calls the card "Swiftness." The Ten of Wands in both the Kingdom Within and Thoth is labeled "Oppression."

I'm sure there are those who would complain about the inconsistency of cultural and mythological references (The High Priestess is a Hindu woman; The Empress is a Geisha; and The Hierophant is "a wealthy Elizabethan patron"), but I don't have a problem with that.

If you would like to listen to a broadcast by Beyond Worlds Tarot featuring Juno Lucina and Shannon Thornfeather, you can do so by clicking on this link: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/beyondworlds/2011/11/21/the-kingdom-within-tarot

THE PUBLISHER'S PRODUCT SUMMARY

"Remove spiritual blindfolds and illuminate mysteries of the soul through the visionary art and expansive interpretations of two adepts. With archetypal roots in every image—from the ancient systems of astrology to humanity's universal archetypes and sacred myths—this Tarot deck is crafted to help you reclaim your own personal truth. Not only a practical method of divination and practical for both beginners and experienced readers, The Kingdom Within Tarot is an accurate map to guide you in remembering and reawakening to the absolute and the divine, and ultimately restoring your own Kingdom Within."

BASIC INFORMATION

Author Juno Lucina is described as "ever fluid and changing. . . more a verb than a noun, more a blank canvas than an outcome." She is the author of The Alchemy of Tarot: Practical Enlightenment Through the Astrology, Qabalah, & Archetypes of Tarot (Schiffer Publishing), which is recommended reading for those who desire more information about the spheres, Qabalah, and their use within Tarot readings.

The 176-page book that accompanies this deck contains a true wealth of information. For the Majors, we are given two to three pages of details about the image, Path, Hebrew letter, Qabalistic associations, and astrological associations, along with Key Phrases, Upright Divinatory Meaning, and Reversed Divinatory Meaning.

An "extra" Major is included in the form of the unique, unnumbered Kingdom Within All, which has no Path, Planetary Attribution, or Hebrew letter.

Concerning qabalistic associations, Lucina notes in the Introduction that "The Paths of The Kingdom Within Tarot are distinctive in that they are based upon the Restored Tree of Life as put forth by Aleister Crowley's star initiate, Charles Stansfield Jones." Hence, these Paths do not correspond to the traditional Paths as they are generally taught by many metaphysical texts at present."

The Courts are described in terms of Level of Power (the amount of energy that is available to accomplish the matter at hand), astrological Sign Correspondence, and Actual People. We are also given interpretations related to archetypes and upright and reversed positions.

For the Minors, the book includes Qabalistic association, astrological association, Description of Illustration, Key Phrase, Upright Meaning, and Reversed Meaning.

APPEARANCE, SIZE, QUALITY

Like other high-quality Schiffer products, this deck and book set is packaged in a hard cardboard box with a lift top, magnetic closure, and ribbon on either side.

Illustrations in the book are black and white. Lined pages for Notes appear at the end of each major section.

The sturdy 5 x 3-1/2 inch cards are borderless, with a glossy laminate coating. They are too large for me to shuffle them "poker style" but the push-pull method works just fine.

The Majors display the card number (in Roman numerals), card Title, and astrological symbols in white across the top of the card. In the upper left hand and lower right hand corners we see colored spheres representing that card's Path on the Tree of Life.

Court Cards feature the Title in white, centered at the top, with astrological symbols and the identity of the character beneath that. Colored spheres are shown in each of the four corners as follows:
  • Kings -  gray, correlating with Chokmah (the Father)
  • Queens - black, correlating with Binah (the Mother)
  • Princes - golden, correlating with Tiphereth (the Son)
  • Pages - equal divisions of russet, navy, citrine, and olive, correlating with Malkuth (the Daughter). Keywords are printed across the bottom of each card.

The Minors have the card number/title centered in white at the top. Beneath that are astrological symbols and a Keyword or Phrase. At the bottom center of each card is half of a colored sphere, representing one of the Sephirah on the Tree of Life.

The reversible card backs show a smiling sun in front of a leafy, green tree. Stars glow in a dark sky. Planets hang in the tree and sit on the ground. Also depicted are the colored spheres of the Tree of Life.

ART

Illustrator Shannon ThornFeather has been a practicing Ceremonial Magician, Ontologist and student of Metaphysics for more than fifteen years.

ThornFeather uses computer-generated collages to create images in vibrant, vivid purple, hot pink, green, and yellow. The scenes are mostly fantasy in style, even though some of them do have elements that call to mind the traditional Rider-Waite images. There is an almost 3D quality to the art that I enjoy.

Among my favorite works of art in this deck are the Queen of Cups (Gaia, Mother Earth), Temperance (as mentioned above), the Queen of Swords (Hecate), and The Moon.




In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I hereby disclose that this product was provided by the publisher for free. Other than the occasional review copy, I receive no monetary or in-kind compensation for my reviews.  The substance of my reviews is not influenced by whether I do or do not receive a review copy.



2 comments:

  1. Right, I need to dig my copy out now. :) Thanks for this great review, Zanna - I just shared it on G+!

    ReplyDelete

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~ Zanna