Monday, 31 July 2017

Deck Review - "The Star Tarot" by Cathy McClelland

One of the perks of working on Tarot Insider is I get to see some of the books and tarot decks that are coming out ahead of time.  When I was browsing a list of upcoming decks, I saw the Star Tarot and thought it would tie in nicely with both my tarot work and my witchcraft, so I contacted both the publisher and the author to see what would happen, and I am thrilled to say Dax Carlisle and I  will be chatting to Cathy McClelland on Tuesday 8th August 2017 at 2.30 Eastern/7.30 UK.

The Star tarot comes in a lovely box
Cathy is an artist and her deck is, in her words, "inspired by meditation, long walks in the woods, nature, my study of the Tarot and spiritual subjects, as well as the influence of different cultural symbols and myths." What this translates to is an intriguing deck that manages to be both modern and yet feel quite classical as well.

A selection of cards
Her artwork is quite bold, quite New Age.  Actually I think it is more appropriate to say it is New World, with a lot of patterns and symbolism that to me draws upon Native American symbology as much as it does anything else, yet that is only one aspect, and this is where personal interpretations come into it.  If we take The Fool, instead of the usual carefree raggedy traveller with his dog, chasing the butterfly of transformation yet unaware of the dangerous cliff edge ahead, we have a man holding a crystal and a staff, reminders of the gifts he brings with him and connecting the real world with the heavens.  The butterfly is still there, but the dog is replaced with a raven, possibly suggesting a link with death and rebirth, or our subconscious memories, or the knowledge of Odin's ravens Huginn and Muninn.  Meanwhile our Fool is about to step into a pool in which there is an alligator; is this an unseen threat in our subconscious or could it be the Egyptian god Sobek who controlled the waters of the Nile and was therefore vital to farming, fishing and trade, and therefore life itself?

This is what I love about this deck: it is a unique blend of myths and imagery that will mean something different to every single person who picks it up, and I think any collector or reader would benefit from having this deck in their collection, not just for readings but as a tool for helping the querent to open up their intuition in order to uncover blockages and unrecognised patterns of behaviour.

The back of the cards
On to the practical stuff. They measure 3.5" x 5.25", so are more the size of an oracle deck than a tarot deck; this allows the artwork to be properly seen but some people may find them a little large for shuffling. They are printed on good quality card stock, some bend to it without feeling too flimsy, and are high gloss so slide over one another smoothly without sticking.  The edges are not gilded, and the backs are a simple spiral and star design, so wouldn't hamper reversed readings.

Card 8 in the major arcana is Strength while card 11 is Justice.  The suits of the minor arcana are wands, cups, swords and pentacles.  The court cards are a little different; instead of pages she has used princes for wand and swords and princesses for cups and pentacles, which I actually quite like.

This deck comes with a great companion book that goes into a lot of detail about the symbolism on each card, but at no time does it feel dry or like a lecture.  There is also a great bibliography at the back with suggestions for further reading.

The Star Tarot by Cathy McClelland is published by Schiffer Publishing Ltd and is released on 15th August 2017.  It is available direct from Cathy's website at www.cathymcclelland.com (you can get your deck autographed), or for pre-order on Amazon via my link below.