Let me just get this out of the way…. May the 4th Be With You!

My Circle of Life tarot cards were delivered first thing this morning. I found them on my stoop as I was heading out to go to a tarot reading workshop at L.E.A.F. Talk about your meaningful coincidences there…

I didn’t get the chance to look at them until I arrived a the workshop, but at the same time, I really wanted to try one of their demo decks. My plan is to try a different deck for every class and then at the end of the series I’ll buy my favorite.

I picked the Chrysalis Tarot for the workshop, a deck I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about lately. So, difficult as it was, I set aside Circle of Life and unpacked The Chrysalis Tarot for the workshop. However, since I was there early, I did take a few minutes to look at some of the cards from Circle and share them with some other students, as we’ve all been sharing our personal decks along with ooh-ing and ah-ing over the various demos that have been used.

First let me say that the Chrysalis deck was a joy to use. I LOVED it. Beautiful, intuitive, similar to RWS but with its own style and a completely different mood. Just gorgeous… and I really didn’t think I’d like it all that much. I can’t imagine how I could find another deck better than Chrysalis to buy at the end of the series, but I’m for the challenge of discovering one.

Second, Circle of Life is amazing. People were wild about the art, and I am too. Soft colors, water color/pencil like. It’s very pleasing to the eye and elegant in it’s execution. The round shape adds a complex layer to the whole upright vs. reversed paradigm. It could make for some interesting read, or some very difficult ones.

I’ve got a huge crush on this thing right now.

Along with the workshop I’m taking part in an Intuitive Reading group exercise on Facebook which starts in couple of days. I will definitely be using Circle of Life for that. I’m looking forward to getting to know this deck better.

Recently, someone posted in the Facebook mentioned above that they like to take a new deck and go through it one card at a time and split them into three groups. 1. Cards I love 2. Cards that are OK and 3. Cards I don’t care for. You’d be surprised how many times a deck you really like has a few cards in it that don’t resonate at all, or worse, cards that turn you off completely.

It’s a quick and easy way to kick-start your relationship with a deck. And since this is the first new deck I got since reading about this technique, I dove in and started flipping. After about a dozen cards, I had nothing in pile number three, the “I don’t care for” pile. Most of the cards were in the first pile “Cards I love”.

I decided to get a little more picky about where to draw the line between love and like. A dozen more, and while the first two piles are more evenly matched, there’s still nothing in the third.

One thing I’ve noticed is that these cards have a fairytailesque quality to them. They would make excellent illustrations for a book of fairy stories, the kind with the dangerous fairies, and strange magic. It’s rich with animal imagery as well.. I’m particularly taken with the Two of Swords that features an elephant woman with swords as it’s tusks.

My favorite part about them though, is that the court cards are richer in symbolism than most decks, making them MUCH easier to read. It’s such a struggle for me to read court cards intuitively. One “dude on a throne” looks a lot like any other “dude on a throne”. And the symbolism of “dude on a throne” isn’t exactly layered. Same thing with “younger dude on a horse” or “chick on a throne”.

When I finished sorting I had a single card in the “don’t like” pile. It wasn’t even all that bad. It was a little less artistically realized than the majority of the others, but mostly, even though I’m working on intuitive reading, it just doesn’t fit with my take of the original card.

I can’t help comparing and contrasting cards to the original images in the RWS when I’m working with a different deck. While I had noticed several cards that veered away from the traditional symbolism and imagery, this was the only one that made me pause to consider the ramifications. I wouldn’t say I dislike it, it just fell a little bit short of being OK.

On the other side, I had 27 cards in the “love” pile. It could easily have been more. It was beauty overload, the more I looked the less any stood out. Try to pick the most beautiful tree in the forest and you’ll understand what I mean.

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