Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tarot: The Babylonian Tarot

After looking through Aeclectic.net and other Tarot sites, I decided that “The Babylon Tarot” by Sandra Cicero (2005) was probably the best deck for me.  Of all the Tarot decks, I looked at; this one caught my attention with its bright art work and interesting subject matter.  Examining it further, I realized that The Babylon Tarot came close to being an ideal deck for me.

The striking colors and artistry of this deck attracted my eye.  Moreover, the cards depicted the myths and Gods of ancient Sumner.  The author, Sandra Cicero had researched this civilization and crafted a Tarot deck from it.  Since I enjoy learning about ancient peoples, this deck seemed to be a rare treat.  The author did a stunning job of making this world come alive.  In addition to the deck, she wrote a companion book detailing the various myths and Gods.  Hence, I could get pleasantly lost in this deck.

Another criterion I use in selecting a Tarot deck is whether it is a traditional Rider-Waite deck or not.  Since I do not resonate with Rider-Waite interpretations, I prefer non-traditional decks.  The Babylon Tarot” has five extra cards – one for the Major Arcana, and four for the Minor Arcana.  “Genesis” is before The Fool (0) in the Major Arcana of this deck.  In addition, “The Kerubs” are the spiritual essence of each of the suits of the Minor Arcana.  Cicero explains that “The Kerubs” are spirits who existed before the Great Flood.

The physical characteristics of the cards are important to me.  My lack of coordination is a factor in selecting a deck.  Although there were five extra cards, I could still shuffle and deal this deck.  I do prefer round cards for obtaining shades of meaning.  However the various myths combining with the Gods do give similar readings as do round cards.

When selecting a deck, I usually look at The Fool (0), The Tower (XVI), and the 10 of Swords.  For me, beginnings, changes, and endings are important.  I want a deck to move beyond the traditional Rider-Waite depictions, and explore these topics.

Since I could not find these particular cards on-line, I used substitutes.  “Genesis”, as the beginning, is out of space and time, and has no number.  In fact, “Genesis” gives birth to the Cosmos of The Fool (0).  Furthermore, “Genesis” gives a sacred aspect to the deck, allowing the spreads to become conversations with the Gods.

For endings, I chose The Devil (XV).  Although the Rider-Waite meaning is not “death”, “The Babylon Tarot” chose a Goddess of Death for this Major Arcana.  Lamastu, the Terror of Children, sends disease and nightmares to all, and death to small children.  Shown standing on a mule, She holds two snakes while a dog and pig nurse from her breasts.  For me, this terrifying Goddess means death, a final ending.  After facing Lamastu, a new day will come.

For traumatic change, I chose 6 of Arrows (Swords), which has the keyword “Relief”.  A man, who was shot with arrows, lies on a table.  A physician is pulling an arrow from his chest.  To me, sudden trauma is being shot with an arrow and having it pulled out.  The subtleness of this card depicts the aftermath of The Tower (XVI) after it has crashed down.

This deck is as close to ideal as any deck could be for me.  It does meet most of my qualifications for purchasing a deck.  I believe that I can get both intuitive readings as well as insightful meditations from this deck.

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