Tarot de St. Croix
Author: Lisa de St. Croix
Artist: Lisa de St. Croix
“Tarot de St. Croix” is a 78 card deck that comes with an accompanying 96 page booklet, both enclosed in a sturdy box with a lift-off top. The box is in the same lovely orange that dominates the deck, with a scan of the Sun on the cover, and smaller card images running along three sides. It is structured along traditional lines, using traditional titles for the Major Arcana, with Strength as VIII and Justice as XI. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles, with the Court Cards as Page, Knight, Queen and King.
Note: I am proud to say that this deck was published through Devera Publishing, an independent publishing house in Portland, Oregon.
In her introduction, Lisa talks about this deck as being both contemporary and multi-cultural. Inspiration came from current events, personal experiences, mythology, and synchronicity. Lisa describes the Tarot as a visual encyclopedia to the soul.
Lisa’s introduction to the Tarot came from accompanying her mother to a Tarot reading in Johannesburg, South Africa. Some time after her mother’s death the Marseille deck that her mother had purchased at that reading came into her hands, and she began her study of the Tarot. At this time, Lisa was living near a Zuni Indian reservation. At the winter solstice Lisa took a shamanic journey, where Isis instructed her to paint a Tarot deck. She painted this deck as if it were a Tarot reading, and she were receiving wisdom. The introduction also includes thoughts on reading the cards, drawing a daily card, Tarot journaling, a three card spread, a five card spread, and a nine card spread.
While the commentary in the booklet is minimal, Lisa does have a blog where she expands on the card meanings, sharing what they are to her, and her experiences as she was painting each card. It is well worth checking out her blog. The companion booklet shares Lisa’s life experiences, and her philosophy.
The Major Arcana are presented as a two page spread, with commentary on the left hand page, and the card meaning, along with a ¾ page color image on the right hand page. In the commentary Lisa talks about what inspired her for the card, and bits of her own life experience.
The Fool is both the beginning and the end of the Major Arcana in the archetypal journey of the soul.
The Fool is inspired by the Pueblo Indian sacred clown Koshare. He wears the mask of Coyote, the trickster. He represents a playful way to look at a situation. The Fool makes a shadow puppet scene of danger. The message is to look beyond our fears to see what really lies behind it. The path leads towards the full moon which symbolizes the cyclical nature of life. The boat represents a journey into the mystery. The Fool’s knapsack lays open in front of him, what will he take with him? The aspen stick with eyes symbolizes the witness and the wisdom gained on his journey.
I lived for a number of years on the Zuni Indian Reservation, where I was fortunate to see their ceremonial dances. One evening as I stood on the rooftop watching the dances below, a Koshare, the sacred clown climbed up the ladder and tricked me into buying a plastic turquoise necklace for twenty dollars, the crowd roared with laughter. I felt embarrassed but also delighted to play the fool n their ceremony. I treasure that necklace, it reminds me to laugh at myself.
The Minor Arcana pips (numbered cards) are presented as groups – i.e. Ace’s together, two’s together et cetera. There is short commentary on what each number means, followed by the number in each suit, a short commentary, and its meaning. Small color scans for each of the four cards appear at the bottom of the page.
Aces offer the potential of something new that will succeed. Aces are linked to the Magician, the great manifester.
Ace of Pentacles
The full blooming sunflower against the brilliant sky is an expression of abundance.
Meaning – Begin a new project with confidence knowing that it will grow to its fullest potential and flourish.
The Court Cards are presented as groups – Pages, Knights, Queens, and Kings. A full page is given to each card, with commentary about the card at the top, a full color scan in the middle, and the meaning at the bottom.
Page of Cups
This young Page dreamily looks at the water cupped in her hands, imagining romance. She is sensitive and vulnerable as she sits on the lotus, nestled between the stamens.
Meaning: In order to blossom in love and relationships it is necessary to expose tenderness and vulnerability.
The backs show a ¼” orange border, surrounding a mirror image of clouds, the moon, and a figure. The card backs are reversible – and they really draw one in! The cards are 3” by 4.5”, sturdy and semi-gloss. The card faces show a ¼” orange border surrounding a central image. For the Major Arcana, the card number (in Roman numerals) and title run across the bottom of the card. For the Court Cards, the title and suit run across the bottom of the card. For the Minor Arcana Pips (numbered cards), the number and suit, all in text, run across the bottom of the card.
The colors in this deck – predominately orange, yellow, and gold – are intense, vibrant, and absolutely command your attention! This is a very personal deck for Lisa, not only that she was instructed to paint it while on a shamanic journey, but that it reflects her thoughts, her travels, her early years spent in South Africa, and her meditative practices. I purchased this deck while I was at NWTS (Northwest Tarot Symposium). At this time, Lisa was in India meditating and painting … very reflective of the life of this deck.
Queen of Pentacles: The Queen Sheba is carried on a gold palanquin, surrounded by the riches of the earth (ripe fruit, fragrant flowers, and abundant herbs). She embodies the qualities of abundance, nurturing, and generosity. “Meaning – Enjoy the senses, and share with others.”
Knight of Cups: This Knight welcomes the flow of feelings. Lisa notes that her son has always followed his heart, and as a result he has been able to make his dreams come true. “Meaning – A person who acts from the heart.”
The Empress: As the great mother, the Empress nurtures and provides. Her rule is through love. This painting was begun on the spring equinox. As she painted this card, Lisa watched the blossoms on the tree across from her studio open, and the bulbs flower. “Meaning – If we open ourselves to what we need and give and receive love, abundance will flow.”
Ace of Swords: “The wisp of smoke at the end of the sword suggests that something is smoldering, ready to ignite. The new moon suggests the beginning of a new phase that will develop.” “Meaning – Innovative ideas will expand bringing clarity and wisdom.”
The World: “The World is the culmination of the Tarot archetypal journey, it speaks of wholeness and numinous revelation.” “Meaning – The World shows you that you are connected to all that is.”
The Hermit: “The Hermit spends time alone in contemplation. The Hermit is an ally when it comes to dealing with shadow. Look within, and let it be illuminated. Questions will be resolved.” “Meaning – The Hermit invites you to spend time alone to allow your inner wisdom to reveal itself.”
Three of Wands: “The Mother watches her progeny’s boat come in. Three wands blossom with the promise of success. The figurehead leads the boat towards the spirit world. “Meaning – Visionary leadership will see a project flourish.”
The Magician: “The Magician uses will, the elements and Spirit to manifest that which is desired.” “Meaning – The message of the Magician is that through focused energy we are able to harness the means to create our destiny.”
Seven of Pentacles: “The girl in the leopard skin reaches eagerly towards many projects.” “Meaning – Pause and evaluate your goals, before unleashing energy to achieve them.”
I am impressed with this deck to the point that I am in awe! The vibrant colors draw the reader in and make them feel at home – warm and protected. There is a very sacred feel to these cards, partially because of the archetype that the Tarot is, and partially because Lisa has shared so much of herself and her sacred life journey with the reader. I highly recommend that the reader make best use of Lisa’s blog, where she goes in-depth into what the cards mean to her, and where she was in her journey when she painted them.
Lisa has placed herself in some of the cards along the way, and has included other individuals from her life. Quite an interesting card is the Page of Swords, which integrates her son drawing the golden mean on a blackboard with a sword. A subtle way if showing that the golden mean is at work in this deck. This is a comfortable deck for all levels of Tarot student, and certainly what one could term a “teaching deck”.
© 2015 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent from the author