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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Journey through My Tarot Decks: The Lovers

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. This week's card is The Lovers from Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall.

I love cats, and I was always drawn to this deck when I saw it in shops or on line. Even so, I didn't pick it up right away. To me, there was just something "creepy" about some of the images. However, over time, the deck convinced me that we really should be together.

Tarot of the Cat People is based on a fictional world called the Outer Regions, created by artist Karen Kuykendall (1928-1998). Renowned science-fiction writer Andre Norton wrote a two-part fantasy novel based on Kuykendall‛s world – Mark of the Cat / Year of the Rat -- which I highly recommend.

In Kuykendall‛s tarot deck, the five kingdoms of the Outer Regions correspond with the Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana. Throughout the Outer Regions, cats are loved, honored and even obeyed (just like at my house!).

In Tarot of the Cat People the Major Arcana cards belong to Vapala (Va-PAH-la), The Diamond Kingdom. This is the kingdom of the Sky People. Associated colors are sparkling whites and pastels. Earth equivalents are the Grand Canyon, Arizona, and Kenya. The people of Vapala are "formal, proud, regal ceremonious, snobbish, reserved, subtle, conservative, conformist, class-conscious, austere." Prosperous, stable, and technologically advanced, The Diamond Kingdom produces the most renowned philosophers and scholars of the Outer Regions.

Kuykendall views the Major Arcana as "the synthesis of all the cards in the deck." On Trump Six, we see lovers "enveloped in a single, all-embracing drape, symbolic of a union and harmony that is both physical and mental. The drape is loose and carefree. . . It has a circle pattern, symbolic of eternity." (Kuykendall) At the feet of the human lovers, their companion cats "echo their feelings."

The DMs (divinatory meanings) provided by Kuykendall include "Love. Beauty. Perfection. Harmony. Confidence. Trust. Honor. Beginning of a possible romance. . . The necessity of testing or of subjecting to trial." Reversed, the card can suggest "Failure to meet the test. Unreliability. Separation. Frustration in love and marriage. Interference by others. Fickleness. Untrustworthiness. Unwise plans."


  1. It's an unusual card almost exotic colours - but I really liked your breakdown of what was happening in this card.

    Looking at cloak I noticed that some of the circles are brown - so there is a stability to the wholeness and some are grey - an integration of opposites - (grey is made from combining black and white) and again seems to say the wholeness is complete and in harmony.

    The two now work as one and are stable together.

    What interesting decks you have!

  2. I don't own this deck myself - just lust after it - but a friend let me paw (ha ha!) gently through hers. It really has to be seen to appreciate the beauty of the colours and patterns. It's sooo Klimtian!

    The gold tones are what strike me here; the deep warmth and glow of the image. It feels exalted, if that makes sense. Rather than a "choice" card, this Lovers feels to me like it is really about the wholeness and comfort that comes when 2 beings are so powerfully connected.

  3. I do enjoy this deck. Helen, I like what you pointed out about the colors. Submerina, I agree with you about the feeling of wholeness and comfort. This card conveys a different message from that often ascribed to the RWS-style Lovers cards.


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~ Zanna