Pack information: 78 cards & 192 page book
Card dimensions: 90 x 140 mms
Author: Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm
They say: Let the DruidCraft path show you the Way.
At a time when we seek a closer connection with the natural world, this beautiful deck invites us to celebrate the earth and the rhythm of her seasons.
Combining the two great streams of Western Pagan tradition - Wicca and Druidry - Philip and Stephanie Carr'Gomm, together with artist Will Worthington, have created a tarot of extraordinary depth and relevance that can help guide and illuminate your life.
The DruidCraft Tarot's powerful images have emerged from a vast store of teachings and story-telling rooted in our ancient past. Use them as gateways to your inner spiritual world, and deepen your knowledge of yourself and of the earth. Let the natural wisdom of DruidCraft bring you insight and inspiration for the life issues that you face today.
Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm have been initiated into both Wicca and Druidry, and are Chief and Scribe of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, one of the largest international Druid groups.
Will Worthington is a practising Druid, Pendragon of the Order, and a highly respected artist, whose previous works include the acclaimed Druid Animal Oracle and The Green Man Tree Oracle.
Guest Review by Vernon Marshall
The Druid Craft Tarot, by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, with artwork by Will Worthington, is an impressive creative work that will no doubt be making its impression on many a Tarot aficionado. It took a long time to come into production and there is clear evidence of a huge amount of preparation and research having gone into the project.
The first striking thing to hit you when acquiring the deck is the package itself. It is a big package. The box is about 6.5 inches wide and 10 inches long and bears on the front a large picture of Card number 3, the Lady. The size of the box is necessary because of the size of the guide book. The book is an admirable production and compares well with the brief amount of information and help given with some decks. There are 192 pages in a format that is larger than A5. The introduction is quite detailed with a brief history of the Tarot with references to, as well as Wicca and Druidry, the Western Magical Tradition, Pythagoras and Numerology, Merlin, Ceridwen and Taliesin, and the “Alchemical Wedding.” The book states immediately its belief position, with a quotation from Ouspensky, that the Tarot represents Nature and that, as in Nature, there are a number of potential meanings.
The controversial issue for some is the combination of the two ancient paths of Druidry and Wicca. The writers make the claim that the two have many features in common, such as their observance of eight seasonal ceremonies and the use of a magic circle. It could be pointed out, however, that the two traditions recognise those eight seasonal ceremonies in very different ways, and the use of a magic circle is not a feature of all forms of Druidry. Philip Carr-Gomm is, of course, the Chosen Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids and is responsible for the change in recent years in adopting practices more in tune with Wicca, a situation not approved of by many Druids.
The book introduces the reader first to the Minor Arcana, or “the Outer Mysteries.” The Court Cards come first, followed by the “Pip” cards. What is unusual here is the way in which the cards of the same number are dealt with together, rather than the suits as a whole. In other words, the Aces are dealt with together, followed by the Twos, the Threes and so on. This does give a refreshing emphasis upon the numerological significance of the cards being read as stress is laid upon the number as much as upon the suit. The cards of the Major Arcana, or “the Inner Mysteries,” make use of the traditional archetypes as a whole, though they are given a different pagan slant, often with a different name. Instead of the High Priestess, for instance, we have the Lady. Temperance is replaced by the Fferyllt (i.e. Druidic alchemical practitioners) and the Devil is replaced by Cernunnos, the horned fertility god. These changes are not so radically different that they depart from the traditional understanding of how the Tarot works but they do quite satisfactorily utilise concepts and figures that enable us to appreciate our native cultural archetypes. The displacement of the Devil, for example, is to be expected in that the native pagan tradition has no concept of evil as understood by the usual image of that figure. Cernunnos is a very different character and more connected with Nature and all that that implies.
The final section of the book deals with the practical use of the cards. This begins with an excellent and detailed ceremony for the blessing and dedication of the deck. Included also in this section is a discussion on the purpose of the Tarot cards and a useful explanation as to why the deck should not be used to predict the future but to seek for insights, ideas and guidance. There are six different spreads offered, most of them new to me, such as the Spirits of the Circle Spread, my favourite. This seven-card spread helps us to explore how six different influences determine who we are and what are our distinctive gifts. These are the Spirits of Place, Ancestors, Time, Tribe, Journey and Awen (the spirit of Deity). It is a simple spread, easily learned, easily put into place and easy to read. There is a sample reading of this spread at the end of the section, along with a sample reading of the Hexagram Spread, and this is extremely helpful in making us aware of the nuances of meaning that can be drawn from the cards by reading them in this way.
The artwork on the cards is beautiful, as can be expected from Will Worthington, a real master in this field. The pictures have a mediaeval and even Arthurian feel about them with lots of coloured robes and hooded characters. I have used them to copy and paint and this has brought me extra insights and ideas. The one issue I have with the cards, and this is the case with some other decks also, is that they are quite large. At 3.5 inches by 5.5 inches they are difficult to handle and to shuffle. They are still impressive nonetheless and I do find them useful as tools for meditation and reflection. In fact, if you spread out the whole deck in a triple circle as indicated at the beginning of the book you can read the story of the wheel of the year and the significance of the elements.
The practical use of any Tarot deck is the important issue for me. Regardless of the artwork or the guidance of the accompanying book, it is whether the right connections are being made with one’s internal guide. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the large amount of information provided in this deck concerning the symbolic history and significance of each archetype. On the whole, however, this is a well-produced divinatory tool that will serve many people well for years to come.
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