Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tarot: The Tarot of Jane Austen (1)

My preferred deck for Tarot use is “The Tarot of Jane Austen” by Diane Wilkes (2006).  Based on the novels of Jane Austen, this deck depicts her understanding of human society.  Each card gives her advice for that human situation.

The deck includes scenes from her lesser known works –“Lady Susan”, “Mansfield Park”, and “Northanger Abby”, as well as popular ones such as “Pride and Prejudice”.  The minors are divided into Candlesticks (Fire), Coins (Pentacles), Quills (Swords), and Teacups (Water).  The Aces set the theme for each suit.  Unlike the other cards, the Aces are the novels themselves – “Pride and Prejudice” for Candlesticks, “Sense and Sensibility” for Coins, “Persuasion” for Quills, and “Emma” for Teacups.  Each of these novels conveys the elements of each suit.

I use this deck for personal use since it mines the richness of the books for the Tarot.  For me, The Tarot of Jane Austen is perfect for meditation.  While pondering a particular situation depicted with the cards or in a spread, I often ask myself, “What would Jane do?”  

However, this deck is not really for divination.  In fact, the suggested spreads in the accompanying book focus on relationships and self-actualization.  Moreover, the cards as drawn do not lend themselves to prediction.

As for public use, this deck would be useful in exploring romantic relationships or for general questions about situations.  However, the reader would probably have to explain certain cards to the querent.  The majority of the cards do depict scenes from “Emma” and “Pride and Prejudice”.  However many people are more familiar with the film adaptations, which usually leave out some aspects of the novels.

For example, certain card combinations take on additional meanings in a spread.  The Lord of Quills (King of Swords) depicts Fitzwilliam Darcy of “Pride and Prejudice”.  Meanwhile, the Lady of Candlesticks (Queen of Wands) is Elizabeth Bennett from the same novel.  When these two appear in a spread together, it takes on additional meaning because these characters eventually become husband and wife.

The Tarot of Jane Austen” is good for problem solving and for meditation.  The writings of Jane Austen add to the basic meanings of the Tarot cards.  However, the main focus of this deck is self-actualization.  Because of this, the deck is not suited for divination.  Moreover, a deep knowledge of Austen’s novels is needed to understanding the cards.  Therefore the deck is suited more for private use.

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