Mike gleason 2009-06-21 02:59:13
The Ancient Egyptian Tarot (Boxed Set) by Clive Barrett 2003
Thorsons/Element ISBN 0007165498 141 page book & 78 card deck paperback
$26.95 (U.S.) $39.95 (Canada)
One of the things I like about the Tarot boxed sets from Element is that
they provide well-made cards, a handbook which is concise, and a blank
journal to record your insights. My one object to this particular set is
the quality of illustrations in the handbook – they are very small and very
dark. Of course, with the cards right in front of you, this is not a major
The imagery of the cards is fairly conventional. The Major Arcana
incorporate the Egyptian pantheon, naturally. They are patterned after the
Rider-Waite deck and convey much of the same symbolism.
The author and designed freely acknowledges the (most likely) medieval
origin of the Tarot deck. He has simply incorporated dynastic Egyptian
motifs in place of the more common medieval-influenced images.
Each of the cards is described in detail in the handbook. The symbolism is
described and some suggested meanings are provided.
The last 26 pages of the handbook are devoted to helping you learn the
spreads, and (in the appendices) detailing some of the relationships to
other systems (astrology, cabala, etc.)
As far as the deck goes, while I personally have no problem with the
illustrations used, if you are in any way puritanical or uptight about
displays of the human body, you might want to give this deck a pass as some
of the illustrations display a generous quantity of unclothed human flesh.
This is, however, in keeping with styles of clothing appropriate for Egypt
in the time-frame used.
One interesting variation in this deck is the use of more than one type of
image in the suits of Wands (scepters, arrows, spears, standards, etc.) and
Disks (drums, amulets, dishes, etc.) This allows for a wider field of
expression (i.e., not everything must be domestic or commercial in the
scenes with disks).
The deck is beautiful, the books have attractive covers, and the box is
sturdy. This set is well worth the price.