“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.