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Review: Pholarches Tarot

Pholarchos Tarot

Author: Carmen Sorrenti
Artist: Carmen Sorrenti
Published by Arnell’s Art
ISBN #978-1-5323-6489-1


Some of my favorite decks – decks that I might otherwise not have known about – have come to me through the auspices of my friend artist/author Arnell Ando. Such is the case with the Pholarchos Tarot. (I need to note that the copy that I am reviewing is an advanced copy –  currently the deck is only open to preorder (

This is a 78 card, Limited First Edition deck, accompanied by a 40 page companion booklet. The deck and companion booklet come in a sturdy lift top box. The suits are: Sparks (Wands), Spirals (Pentacles), Wings (Swords) and Coral (Water). The Court Cards are Dreamer (Page), Trail (Knight), Queen and King. The Major Arcana carry traditional titles, with Justice as 8 and Strength as 11.  

Pholarchos back

The cards are 3 ½” by 5”, of sturdy, semi-gloss, smooth finish card stock. The card backs carry an esoteric themed image, which is not reversible. The card faces have a ¼” black border. The Major Arcana show the card number (in Arabic numerals) and title in small white lettering, centered across the bottom of the card, or in one of the four corners. The Minor Arcana show the number (in Arabic numerals) and card suit, in small white lettering, in either in one of the four corners, or centered across the top or the bottom of the card. The Court Cards have the card title and suit in small white letters in one of the four corners of the card.

There are some interesting things to note – one of which is that the art medium is acrylic painting. The Aces are done in shades of gray and white, each showing a face with the eyes loosely covered with some type of scarf. The Trails are all also done in shades of gray and white. The overall impression of all of the cards is that of a fluid, imaginary world. There is a flowing to the art, rather than solid definition. I am a traditionalist when it comes to Tarot, but I do thoroughly enjoy these cards.

The companion booklet reflects the author’s ability to walk in the worlds of alchemy, mythology, dreamwork, astrology, and Tarot.  In her introduction she talks about coming from mountains that plunge into the sea, where the elements are forceful, and myths are dear. She shares the following quote from Charles Laughlin: “A society’s cosmology and symbolic system is ultimately the product of the creative imagination of its people.” This thought process has clearly been brought to the fore in this deck! Sorrenti talks about passion being with us all of the time, animating everything. This is so true!

The names of the suits are listed, along with a short explanation of them:

Sparks:  Here essence sparks into life, potency ignites. (In alchemy hints at calcinatio, trial by fire.)

Spirals: Incarnation spirals in and spirals back out, breathes in and breathes out. (In alchemy hints at coagulatio, trial by earth.)

Wings: Soar through realms of consciousness, conceive reality. (In alchemy hints at sublimatio, trial by air.)

Coral: Once a year, all coral around the globe spawns in unison by the flux of the August full moon, love’s orchestration. (In alchemy hints at solutio, trial by water.)

Each card is presented by number and title, number and suit, or title and suit, along with a short paragraph. Scans are not included with each of the cards, but full page, full color scans of the following cards are included:  The Lovers, Strength, Star, Dreamer of Spirits, King of Spirals, 10 of Wings, and 10 of Coral.

Pholarchos Tarot Ace of Sparks

Ace of Sparks

… that which ignites potency, engenders vision, pumps action. The trinity of flame, Aries child of Mars, Leo beloved of the Sun, Sag fledging of Jupiter. Here roars conquest, the spark of creation, what can you imagine, and what can you become? Hoodwinked, it is still every potential gaining speed, exhilaration, faith, reverberating flashes of excitement.

Pholarchos Tarot Dreamer of Wings

Dreamer of Wings

She’s often busy championing the underdog babies and she offers classes on the theory of knowledge – she can tightrope her way out of argument or convince you to play the spoons, eat parchment, celebrate your birthday at the opposite end of the year … and she may lend you thaumaturgical words for a rough night.

Pholarchos Tarot Strength


Inside your belly. The lion’s hunger insatiable, its eyes yellow alarm, claws ready-made scythes. It will not hesitate to rip right through you and make a mockery of your life in order to find food. It will have you unless you turn and look into those eyes, offer of yourself. Exchange on its own terms. Then it will, like the cards of old, open its mouth for you and let you take what you need when you need it. Your resolve and your fortitude must shine forth. Do not think you can bypass the wild center – it generates your will to live. Etch its mane somewhere along the castle walls, feed it the flesh of your devotion, practice touching your molton core.



The Magician

Mercurius, male and female both, orchestrator and instrument, dreamer and dreamed, begins the alchemical operations, that each voice may partake in the great unfolding. The male head drinks from the wolf and her moon while the female head sips the dragon and his sun; thus oppoites unite. The sky measures time that we may know what is ripe and what is moving – stones, waves, roots will do the same if you can perceive the echo.


The Moon

She may open a vein of longing to last for generations or take you back further than the usual couple thousand years; a bridge to a much older time. You find it in the dreaming, all those voices. we’re in that boat again. A man demonstrates an elemental feat, makes striking sounds instead of words, becomes the night. Mesmerized, you ride the swell of magnified feeling, Dionysian, electric. Our captain docks with her eyes closed as she considers those teachers that work with the Other side. She senses land mass changes through the ages, sees that piece of curve and strait while deep within she hears: the sea the sea the sea. How many turnings of pattern and labyrinth can you float in at once?



Trial of Wings

Just step through that small portal and meet the psychopomps who will ferry your journeys back and forth between the worlds. Do not be afraid, you travel every night – this is the way of things and the raven has your back. In air, you will be led to calm the frenzied mind or to brilliant argument or question: who is being dreamed?


2 of Sparks

Gallop on my back, as hooves strike the cymbal of your rounded soul. Yearn for me. I am your West, your undiscovered territory, your untamable song of plenty, unchartered far horizon, the percussive calling of your life.


The Hanged One

An archaic lineage comes calling. It is your turn to allow control to flood away, not knowing who you will be when it returns. The great river rushes through you. You are not alone in this surrender and everything moves in surprising ways. Ancient memory may return that you have been this way before at another turning of your soul’s necessity. Paulina risked being burned at the stake for bringing the queen back to life. She waited sixteen years for it to be the right moment. And her only words to the expectant and condemning crowd were: “It is required you do awake your faith”. And so the tale of winter becomes the tale of hope.


Each time you return to these cards you see something new – a new symbol, a nuance of color and flow. These cards can be used in all types of readings, but I would also recommend them for meditating and journeying. Do this only when you are ready for the journey!

© April 2018 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written consent of the author.

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Posted by on April 9, 2018 in Tarot


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