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Thoughts On “Tarot of the Cat People”: A Traveler’s Report

“Tarot of the Cat People” came back into my life recently, thanks to the work of artist/author/creator Andrea Aste. Not having not used the deck for years, I still did not have too much trouble finding it, as I remembered that I had placed it in a decorative wooden box that was residing in my guest bedroom. It was a joy to look at and work with those cards again! Andrea based one of his ongoing divination sessions on artist/author Karen Kuykendall’s work with this deck, which literally included her imagining a totally other world for the Major and Minor Arcana to inhabit. During the session one of the other attendees, Robbie Pearson, mentioned that Kuykendall had written a companion book for this deck (one that I was not aware of). This is the book that I am referencing here.

Please do not take this as a review of the book – it is merely a stream of thought on what came to me as I was going through the book. The very first thing that just about had me dropping the book out of my hands was the fact that the introduction was written by the late, esteemed Stuart Kaplan, an individual that has done so much work in bringing the Tarot to the attention american divination audience. I fell right into the introduction, as Kaplan talked about the Major Arcana being allegorical in nature, and representing Vapala, the Diamond Kingdom, home of the Sky People. The Minor Arcana are defined as follows: the Suit of Swords, Thnossis, the Ruby Kingdom, home of the Fire People; the Suit of Wands, Twahihic, the Emerald Kingdom, home of the Sand People; the Suit of Cups, Azhengir, the Topaz Kingdom, home of the Salt People; the Suit of Pentacles, Kahulawe, the Sapphire Kingdom, home of the Rock People.

Kaplan notes that Kuykendall had a long and varied career in the creative world, including medieval inspired painting developed for the Jamestown Lounge Furniture Company, teaching for several years inthe Arizona public schools and at C entgral Arizona College (extension courses), and the University of Arizona. Her works have been shown inthe Phoenix Art Museum and the Tuscon Art Museum, and in many private homes. She also did papier-mache jewelry.

And … she likes cats!

I feel like I have read the book already – Kaplan has the capacity with words to make reality a very intense moment! This is not just a book that accompanies a deck, it is a reflection of the artist, her life, and her work. (And yes, she lived with multiple cats!) Sometimes we need to enter another world – now I feel that I can enter the worlds of the Cat People with a guide at my side – someone who will walk me through her world, and with a look or a gesture make me feel at home.

Each world is described in detail, so the reader feels as if they are there. I am not really a science fiction fan, but this deck and these worlds appeals to me. (As did the world’s that Frank Herbert created. I felt as if I belonged in them also.)

Thank you to Andrea Aste and Robbie Pearson for bringing this wonderful book to my attention!

(c) March 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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Review: The Tarot of Light and Shadow

Author: Andrea Aste, John Matthews

Artist: Andrea Aste

Watkins

2020

ISBN #978-1-78678-411-7

“The Tarot of Light and Shadow” is an amazing project co-produced by New York Times best-selling author John Matthews and multimedia artist/writer/animator/film make Andrea Aste. It consists of two 79 card decks and a 157-page companion book. The decks and book come in a sturdy, lift-top box.

The card stock is sturdy, and easy to shuffle. The cards are 2 3/4 inches by 4 ½ inches. The “Light” deck is a mauve color, while the “Dark” deck is a blueish color. Both decks have a ¼ inch plain border, with the card title/suit across the bottom. Aste has an amazing ability to take just a few simple lines and create a whole “other” world. The illustrations are an exciting gateway into another world!

The theme for these decks is the ability to explore both sides of a question at once. The Shadow deck representing our inner, instinctive world and the unknown, and the Light deck representing our rational outer world and that which is known.

The Major Arcana retain their traditional titles, with Justice at VIII and Strength at XI. The Minor Arcana suits are Swords, Cups, Serpents (Pentacles) and Wands. The Court cards are entitled Page, Knight, Queen, and King.

There is one addition card with each deck entitled “The Cosmic Mirror”, considered to be the equivalent of “wild cards”. Each card is depicted as a mirror, a blank speculum on which anything can be reflected. Some of the ways suggested in using this card are: (1) if you are using one deck, as opposed to using both decks shuffled together, this card can indicate that you need to switch decks, (2) look at the card before or after this card, or (3) use this card as a significator for the individual/situation being read for.

The card backs represent the mistress of Tarot as she presides over the mysterious city of Sapientia, where all knowledge is kept, and which lies between the realms of Light and Shadow. The card back is reversible.

In his introduction, Matthews emphasizes that it is important to understand that when we choose to work with a double deck we ae seeing truths from two different angles, mirroring each other.

Matthews also addresses how to work with this deck. He notes that many readers already draw a card from another deck to expand their understanding/perception of a reading already done. The concept of these two decks is to understand that they are two ways of viewing the same thing. What we do not want to do is look at Light as being positive, and Shadow as being negative. Three distinct methods of using the deck are listed, as well as ways to use the Cosmic Mirror cards.

In presenting the Mirror Spread, Matthews suggests that “The Tarot of Light and Shadow” is a parallel universe, similar to our own but subtly different. For me, the spread acts as the gateway between the two universes.

All cards (Major Arcana and Minor Arcana) are presented with an overview of the card’s energy, along with a paragraph each on how the card would be read in a Light Reading and a Shadow Reading. Color illustrations for both decks accompany the descriptions. The Cosmic Mirror card discusses how to use the cards (Light and Shadow), with color illustrations.

The section on new spreads and sample readings includes The Divine Fool Spread, The Eternal Truth Spread, The Cosmic Spread, and The Directional Reading. At the end of the book are links to the artist and author’s sites, and suggestions for further reading.

I highly recommend this deck to anyone wishing to experience reading with unlimited possibilities and greater depth.

© January 2021 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without written permission from the author.


 
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Posted by on January 11, 2021 in Uncategorized

 

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