Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tarot and Dragons: The Dragon Tarot by Donaldson and Pracownik (2 of 2)

The difference between “The Dragon Tarot” and “The Celtic Dragon Tarot” (Conway and Hunt) is the role of humans amongst the dragons. Both decks are constructed for the seeker to go on a spiritual journey with dragons. However, “The Celtic Dragon Tarot” places greater emphasis on the activities of humans. Although a few cards feature only dragons, many of them stress human interaction with the various dragons. In fact, Conway writes that dragons act as our astral guardians. She writes, “…how wise and wonderful dragons can be. They are some of the best co-magicians….They can be good friends, powerful protectors, and wise teachers.” Moreover, she stresses that humans and dragons should work together as co-magicians.

Meanwhile, “The Dragon Tarot” is dragon-centric, and in fact humans are absent from the cards. Instead, Donaldson takes people to meet the dragons in their homeland. He writes, “The Dragon is there to tease us, to provoke us, to stimulate us to a higher plane of being, to force us to look within.”  As I see it, the dragons will challenge humans and be their guides, but not necessarily be their co-magicians. The dragons will meet humans but only on their own terms and at their own choosing. Some will be indifferent to people, whilst others will be friendly towards them.

What is important in “The Dragon Tarot” is taking the Journey to the Tree of Life to gain wholeness. The author writes, “What is not important is being ‘right’ or ‘correct’. What is important is enjoying the experience of traveling in your Journey.” Unlike Conway who stresses the correct spiritual process, Donaldson celebrates the wonder of being in the presence of dragons, as they go about their daily lives.

In deciding between the two decks, I would choose “The Dragon Tarot” over “The Celtic Dragon Tarot”. The dragons of the former are alive and separate from us whilst the dragons of the latter seem to be elusive and imaginary. In addition, Conway stresses how dragons can be called upon to help us to do whatever. She writes, “Because of the ancient wisdom of dragons, they are also valuable to call upon when performing any type of divination.” Perhaps Conway does not mean this, but she seems to imply that dragons can be our cosmic bellhops. In contrast, Donaldson presents dragons who are independent of humans, and who chose what they wish to do.

Since I have a strong visual side, the artwork of Tarot cards is also important to me.  The artwork of Lisa Hunt for me seems to be sketchy and misty for me.  Meanwhile, the art of Peter Pracownik is more full-bodied and interesting. His dragons are approachable and real. Moreover, I can obtain more meaning from Pracownik’s images that I could that from Hunt’s.

Lastly since I had such a strong reaction to the cards of “The Dragon Tarot” and not “The Celtic Dragon Tarot”, I would choose the former. Rarely I have reacted so strongly to a Tarot deck, and want to explore this further. Since the card images of this deck act as portals to Dragonland, I can see myself going through them with the Fool acting as my guide. I could gain a lot from using “The Dragon Tarot”.

Works Used:
Bartlett, Sarah, “The Tarot Bible”, Sterling: New York, 2006.
Conway, D.J. and Lisa Hunt, “The Celtic Dragon Tarot”, Llewellyn: St. Paul (MN), 2005.
Donaldson, Terry and Peter Pracownik, “The Dragon Tarot”, U.S. Games: Stamford (CT), 1996.
Fontana, David, “The Essential Guide to the Tarot”, Watkins Publishing: London, 2011.

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