SIX OF CUPS
KNIGHT OF WANDS
FOUR OF CUPS
SIX OF SWORDS
PUBLISHER’S PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: “Roll up, roll up! Come see the greatest tarot circus on earth! This unique deck showcases the excitement and illusion to be found under the big top along with all the behind-the-scenes intrigue that fuels the show. The suits are cleverly comprised of clockwork machines, balancing blades, water acrobatics, and blazing fire dancers; and since the cards follow the Rider-Waite-Smith structure and symbology, you can begin reading with them today. With its sumptuous art and captivating characters, this deck is the perfect choice for tarotists who are drawn to the magic and mystery of the Ringmaster's domain.”
With an intro like the description provided by the publisher (above), this deck and book set certainly has a lot to live up to! Fortunately Robertson and Tufts do that and more with skill comparable to that of the performers under their “Big Top.”
I love books, so for me, the best place to start exploring this deck is by paging through the approximately 206-page guidebook, titled Under the Big Top. Preceding the discussion/description of each card in the deck, we have small sections such as “Welcome to the Show!”, “The Playbill,” and “Setting the Stage: How to Do a Reading with Your New Cards.” All of this material is clear and succinctly written, useful for beginners and more experienced readers alike.
ACT ONE MAJORS / The Greatest Show on Earth: As expected, the pages in this section cover the Major Arcana cards. I love that for each card, Leeza Robertson provides a paragraph titled “Ally” followed by a paragraph titled “Challenger,” basically covering the idea of upright and reversed interpretations.
INTERMISSION / Court Cards: Here we receive information about Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings in general, plus a discussion of each Page, Knight, Queen, and King using the same format as the Majors (“Ally” and “Challenger”).
The suits are then broken down into “Acts.” I absolutely love the subtitle provided for each suit:
The cards themselves are standard Tarot stock, sturdy enough without being thick and unwieldy. The titles on the Major Arcana cards include the card number as well as the traditional name. (I was pleased to see that the author didn’t try to get cute by giving the Majors names like “Ringmaster” or “Lion Tamer.”) In fact, there are no “lion tamers” in the deck because animals are not part of the Cirque du Tarot, yet another selling point in my opinion.
Swords cards are illustrated in shades of dark blue, indigo, and purple (clearly linked with the element Air). Wands are orange and red (clearly linked with the element Fire). Cups are illustrated in turquoise and pink/fuchsia. Pentacles cards feature golds and browns. Card backs offer a gorgeous representation of the suit symbols.
Professional designer and illustrator Josh Tufts imbues each card with his own style, while honoring traditional themes, symbols, and imagery.
NEXT STEP: I plan to do a deck interview soon with this deck and probably a reading or two. Stay tuned!
Venus will be in the sign Libra from August 16th to September 10th. Venus rules Libra, and therefore is quite happy (and powerful) when visiting (transiting) that sign.
In the system established by the Golden Dawn, the Tarot card associated with Venus is The Empress (Key 3) and the card associated with Libra is Justice (Key 11).
Using the Celestial Tarot by Kay Steventon and Brian Clark (U.S. Games Systems), I thought it would be fun to explore the relationship between Venus and Libra, and between The Empress and Justice.
The planet Venus rules not only the sign Libra but the sign Taurus as well. From an elemental perspective, then, Venus rules both an Air sign and an Earth sign. There is certainly an “upper” or “higher” energy indicated by the element Air, with a “lower” energy indicated by Earth. Or, as Brian Clark puts it: “Taurus carries the earthy, sensual, fertile, and resourceful sides of the goddess, symbolized by her green sash. Libra reflects her heavenly sides of culture and beauty.”
Other symbols we see on The Empress card include “open arms and bare breasts” (a desire to be known); magic girdle (ability to cast love spells); sacred dove (messenger of peace and reconciliation).
Fun Fact (from Brian Clark): “The last addition to the zodiac as we know it today was Libra.” Clark also points out: “Just as Libra lies at the midpoint of the zodiac, Justice appears at the midpoint of the Major Arcana.” Thus, the Justice card often represents a crossroads in our own judgment, a choice or decision to be made on which path to follow.
Justice is Key 11 in the Celestial Tarot (experienced Tarot readers will know that in some decks, Justice is Key 8).
Clark explains that the earliest Greek goddess to be associated with Justice was Themis, and it is she who is pictured on the Justice card in the Celestial Tarot. Behind Themis we see a peacock, “whose tail is a swirl of colors that has become associated with totality and wholeness” (Clark). The mantle Themis wears is covered with roses (the heart, beauty, love).
The process of equality and balance is emphasized by Justice -- that is, equality and balance between polarities, differences, or disagreements. Natives of the sign Libra are known for their desire to examine and explore all sides of everything in order to resolve conflicts fairly. This can lead to indecision and delays.
As Venus transits Libra from August 16th to September 10th, the accompanying energy will affect everyone. In order to get a more personal “take” on this placement, we can look at which house transiting Venus is in while in Libra. In my case, that is the First House, House of Self. I (and others with that same house placement) will very likely experience moments of peaceful, balanced energy at a very personal level, including harmony in our closest personal relationships. The vibes from this Venus-in-Libra transit should be quite pleasant and satisfying. I will, of course, want to be aware of any tendency to waffle in decisions that affect me personally, or to deny my own preferences too often in order to avoid conflict.
Wow, it’s been over four years since I did one of my Day of the Druids readings. Time flies. I’d say I’m overdue for some advice on what I need to be aware of today.
The positional definitions are:
(1) Not only...
(2) But also...
Today I need to be aware of my closest one-to-one relationships – friends and family. A new relationship is possible, but I feel this refers more to being aware of the importance of existing relationships or perhaps the need for reconciliation.
As a symbol of wealth and potency, the Bull tells me I also need to be aware of the source(s) and accessibility of abundance and/or power in my life. I think I may also need to be aware of any area in which I am being too stubborn or reacting too “confrontationally” to a situation. Am I “seeing red” when there is no need or benefit to doing so?
The DruidCraft Tarot (deck and book set) by Philip and Stephanie Carr Gomm, with illustrations by Will Worthington (Eddison Sadd Editions)
The Druid Animal Oracle by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm. Card Illustrations by Bill Worthington. Fireside: Simon & Schuster, Inc.