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Sacred Circle Tarot Review
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Sacred Circle Tarot Review

sacred circle tarotWhat a lovely deck! The Sacred Circle is a beautifully done digital collage deck including both photos and stock art. There are quite a few collage decks out there, but this is my favorite by far! Very precisely done with wonderful photos of beautiful, yet realistic people surrounded by a lavish landscape.

Each card is so full of symbolism and feeling that I would highly recommend this deck for anyone who reads intuitively. Wonderful colors and great borders add more meaning and depth to each card. What an easy reading deck! The Major Arcana and minor arcana are very sexy.

The front of the box claim these cards to be a Celtic Pagan Journey. The Celtic and Pagan influence is definitely present, but I did not find either one to be so overbearing as to make them alien to a non-Pagan or difficult for the person with little or no knowledge of Celtic traditions. The deck is very well balanced, and the references and symbols are all easy enough to see and understand.

Slightly larger than a standard size, these cards still shuffle well and with ease. Packaged in a box that holds both deck and book, this is a fine choice from Llewellyn.

Written by Anna Franklin
Illustrated by Paul Mason
ISBN 1-56718-457-X
Publisher: Llewellyn Copyright: 1998
Condition: BRAND NEW, MINT IN BOX
Includes a 322 page book and the beautifully illustrated Tarot deck

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Patricia10

Okay, I know that will alienate a lot of people, but I love the idea of strong and powerful women. “Superchicks” in today’s vernacular. The Sacred Circle Tarot has some pretty super chicks in it, too, so you can correctly assume that I like this deck. It also has nurturing men and strong men and nurturing women and beautiful Celtic topography and…. a lot of neat stuff I’ve decided that I can no longer exist without. Of course, as far as Tarot decks go, it’s a bit on the odd side. But, then, that’s what makes it so special. It’s not a deck for everyone. It is a deck for anyone.

Confused you, didn’t I? Aha! Then my cohorts were right; when it comes to Tarot I have definite likes and dislikes and so does almost everyone else who is true aficionado of the art. That’s why The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason is a deck definitely to be investigated by the Tarot community. It serves its specific purpose and it serves it quite deftly.

One of the more endearing qualities to be found in Franklin’s interpretations are the new ideas she presents. We have a Warrior for Key 8 rather than the anticipated Strength. Granted, these are somewhat similar concepts and Mason used a woman for the symbol the same as the venerable Rider Waite deck does. But, then we have a divergence.The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason: The WarriorThis display of strength is clad in black leather pants and has a badger rather than a lion at her feet. Let’s hear it for the Superchicks! Representing Scathach, the female warrior who trained Irish hero Cuchulain, this broad is not only strong, she teaches fighting to legends at her Power School. Well, I might be incorporating new words into an old legend, but that’s what Anna and Paul did and I like it. I like it a lot. Plus, I live near and wander about the woodlands and I’ve seen badgers and I’ve seen lions… ounce for ounce my bet is on the badger. Of course, Franklin treats us to some intriguing details about badger lore which only enhances the perception of this card as being extraordinarily ordinary. Or, to put it another way, expect the unexpected.

And still I confuse the matter, don’t I? Well, I’ll be honest at this point and tell you that the melding of past with present, folklore with reality, and the fantastical with the mundane makes for a mesmerizing ride. They call this the Sacred Circle Tarot because of the ancient ideology surrounding sacred circles. But, I would like to add to the author’s commentary that this deck can be used to enrich the circle of life and explore the history of enchantment. I’d like to say that it’s seldom possible to visit past, present and future all in one cleverly designed chariot. Yet, this deck is just such a chariot.

Take, for instance, the Seven of Swords card. Seven swords meet at their points in the center of the picture to represent a time for conferences and treaties rather than battle. Even more significant to the interpretation of this card is the The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason: 7 of Swords photograph of the Uffington White Horse which the swords’ points pinion. One of the more famous chalk drawings from ancient times, it’s believed to have been constructed around 1400 B.C.E. Horses were sacred to both the ancient Celts and the aboriginal peoples of Britain. They were also the means by which the dead traveled to the Otherworld. And, yes, all of this information and more is included in the book which comes with this deck/book combo. I’d buy The Sacred Circle Tarot to give to my Celtic-loving kids just for the information on folklore and history contained in the text! Truly, the symbols on the cards are explained as well as I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot of decks.

The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason: The Underworld Key 14, The Underworld, is yet another example of the depth of knowledge the makers of this deck used to create a new world of Tarot. Franklin and Mason explain that The Underworld card is reflective of Samhain, the Celtic New Year. The text explaining this card begins, “The card shows King Gwyn ap Nudd in his Underworld domain of Annwn. He is robed in purple and wears a crown of lead and onyx. A white pig with red ears accompanies him. The border of the card shows two dragons — one red, one green — and branches of yew.” Such attention to detail makes for very exciting reading. It also manages to evoke a new understanding of the archetypes that make up the world of Tarot.

This book, in fact, is one of the nicer ones I’ve seen. It covers meditation, layouts and correspondences as well as the plethora of myth, history and the symbolism. Each suit is defined by Element, Season, Color, Attributes, Direction and Festival. The book has a section on Using the Cards for Meditation and Spiritual Development which includes the Journey of the Fool. There are also six very nice divination spreads explained fairly succinctly. Add to that the practical touch of adding keywords on the face of each pip and you have a well-designed deck. For these reasons, I can recommend The Sacred Circle Tarot for beginners. It will be a lot of information to digest at first, The Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason: 2 of Wands but you won’t have to go looking for another book or deck soon if you start with this one. On the other hand, the symbolism of this deck could create an atmosphere for the beginner where they view Tarot from a singularly Celtic experience. As a fan of Celtic lore and history, I don’t perceive that as a bad thing, but there are those who might want a neophyte to be so overwhelmed by the Celtism that they think the Tarot is based on it. My sentiment is that a simple word or two from an “old timer” would prevent this from happening… and, if it did happen, the reader would incorporate other facets of Tarot as time went on and they gained experience and knowledge. For a subject specific deck, the Sacred Circle can’t be beat.

Larger than many decks, The Sacred Circle Tarot is a hefty 3 3/8 by 5 1/8, give or take a smidge. The larger size makes for a beautiful display, but requires a bit more space if you use a larger layout such as the Celtic Cross. The black background plays well against the unique edge found around each picture. The colors are vibrant, sometimes almost appearing to jump at you. I like that, but I’m an artist and have a fancy for brilliant color. These cards aren’t gaudy, though, and I suspect that most readers and clients will appreciate the three dimensional work Mason integrated in the design. By combining computer artistry, photography and colorful pencil drawings, Mason has achieved his goal of blending naturalism and magical realism quite adeptly.

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