Review by Bonnie Cehovet
For the past two years I have had a lovely Tarot Art Calendar hanging over my computer. Aside from helping me keep days straight, and allowing me to follow the cycles of the moon, it kept me sane. There were days when either the picture, or the text, was what I needed to see/hear to keep me grounded in this world.
I was ecstatic to hear that the calendar was going to happen again this year, and sincerely hope that this project continues for many years to come.
The calendar is 8 1/2 by 11 inches, and is done on sturdy, high quality, glossy cardstock. The calendar is constructed so that the graphic is on the top page, with the second (lower) page containing the text and the calendar itself. All twelve of the images used are original images, signed by the artist (six by Arnell Ando, and six by Leslie Cochran). Each artist has included a detailed description of their cards that truly show the depth of talent and heart that drive these ladies.
Most major US holidays are included, as well as Christian, Jewish, and Pagan holidays. New, Full, and Quarter-Moon phases are also noted.
Beginning the calendar year is the Star - showing a lovely Hawaiian dancer framed in an arch between two waterfalls. In the background we see lush green vegetation, with a blue star hovering above in a rainbow colored sky. From the calendar:
The Star - Aquarius - Happy New Year!
In the Temple of the Blue Star, the vibrant frescoed walls give way to the lushness of the tropical forest. Twin waterfalls frame the dancer in the grotto, balanced at the edge of a deep pool. In this contemplative place we are reminded of our own divinity, free to move between the earth and sky, under the endless pattern of the stars. Finally at peace with the mystery of all we cannot know, the Star imbues us with a healing energy, calm yet powerful, sparkling with a quiet brilliance.
- Leslie Cochran
My very favorite card - one that jumped right out at me and took my heart, was Arnell Ando's The World (April). We see a tree, with dark branches and a trunk that seems to be lit from within. From the right hand branches hangs a luminous spider's web. Under the tree sits a dark haired female figure, with an Ankh at her throat, wearing voluminous white robes edged in reddish/gold. Her arms are holding a globe of the world that rests in her lap. Around the edge of the globe there appear saw-like teeth. A smaller male figure in resting on the top of the globe, with his arms embracing it. From the calendar:
The World - Happy Earth Day!
Gaia cradles the World in her loving arms. Mankind is affectionately portrayed as the (Charlie Chaplin) "Fool" with an enormous head (full of ego). He is obsessively tinkering and puttering, trying to industrialize everything - going mad with hubris and compulsive progressing. Gaia loves and protects us all, despite our acts of destruction. May we all soon come to realize and give back to her this sacred gift ...
- Arnell Ando
A stunning Victorian based work is represented in the High Priestess (July), by Leslie Cochran. Against a backdrop of white cloud-like forms in a lavender sky, we see a lovely Victorian lady, standing, with a calm expression on her face, and her hands clasped in front of her. To her right we see a small window (framed as a mirror), with a crescent moon looking in, as a butterfly hovers near on corner. From the calendar:
High Priestess - The Moon - Cancer
The blues in a butterfly wing, a faded Chinese carpet or the deepening twilight sky, all evoke the aura of this strange and enigmatic woman. sliver of crescent moon framed in the window like a winking eye, leads us to the quiet blue realm of deep knowledge that is home to the mysterious High Priestess. Blue is also traditionally the color of water, a salty teardrop linking us to each other and to the vast oceans, rendering the earth an indigo marbled jewel. Int he meditative environment we can marvel at this connection. If we can "hold that thought" and take it out into the world, there is potential for transformation. The High Priestess is flanked by two stone faces; mirrored images yet polar opposites, their expressions caught in the "in-breath" and "out-breath" respectively, symbolizing both introspection and action.
- Leslie Cochran
Another lovely piece of artwork is The Wheel (December), again from Arnell Ando. Here we see a dark haired lady, dressed in a flowing lavender gown. She is seated in a light lavender chair, with a card in her hand and a large cat at her feet (yes, this really is a Siamese cat!). There is a large wheel behind her on the wall, with sections for Fate, Luck, Chance, Choice, Wish, Karma, Lose, and Win. In the background there is a table containing a lighted candle, a luminous globe, a black circle with the number eight on it in white, and what appear to be cards falling off of the table. the title at the top of the page states: "Presenting Fortuna, Our Lady of Destiny". From the calendar:
The Wheel of Fortune - Jupiter & Sagitarius (December)
The Wheel of Fortune visited me in a dream of a mysterious dark-haired teller of fortunes. I thought that I had better pay my respects and make this special tribute in her honor, on the chance that she came as a premonition for either you or me ... In the image she has drawn the Wheel of Fortune card, and holds it along with our fate in her hands. All around her are tools of deciphering the future. Would you take a spin on the wheel if it could land on any destiny? Would you risk what you have now for this turn of fate?
- Arnell Ando
There is so much more to see in this calendar - the depiction of Hell's Kitchen on the Devil, the Victorian era woman depicted on the Tower, and the large sleeping Black Bear depicted in the Hermit. This is a calendar to admire, as well as to learn from.
© Bonnie Cehovet
Bonnie Cehovet is Certified Tarot Grand Master, a professional Tarot reader with over ten years experience, a Reiki Master/Teacher and a writer. Bonnie has served in various capacities with the American Tarot Association, is co-founder of the World Tarot Network, and Vice President (as well as Director of Certification) for the American Board For Tarot Certification. She has had articles appear in the 2004 and 2005 Llewellyn Tarot Reader.