Review by Bonnie Cehovet
“Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA” is the 236 page companion book for the deck of the same name (also by Julia Turk). From the book: “The Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA” is a guide to the language of the symbols used in Julia A. Turk’s peerless Tarot system. The symbols in the cards represent our hidden voices and give meaning to dreams and visions. Navigating through the mystic sea, you will learn to use symbols to decipher subconscious messages and reach a harmonious balance between your inner self and your outer characteristics.”
The book is broken down into four parts: Part 1 – The Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA, Part 2 – The Pip Cards, Part 3 – The Court Cards, and Part 4 – The Major Arcana. Part 1 talks about the background and intent of the deck. (The deck is based on the traditional Golden Dawn foundation of the Hermetic Cabala). The mystic tradition of Judaism is considered to be the root of Western Esoteric Tradition (from which sprang the Golden Dawn and other groups). While this is a traditional deck, Turk notes that the traditional order of the Hebrew letters has been changed in five places.
One other parting from tradition is that for the purposed of this deck, the Cabalistic Tree of Life starts at the bottom – in Malkuth – and works its way up. This symbolizes man’s ascent from the material world (Malkuth) through the Tree of Life (the inner world of the psyche), to a point of spiritual consciousness in the upper sphere of Kether.
Each of the Pips (numbered cards) is presented with a black and white scan, a list of correspondences attributed to their sphere on the Tree of Life (appropriate words, planet, what it rules, colors, metal, gemstone, plants, animals and keywords), along with a discussion of the qualities within the card. Rather that presenting by suit, Turk groups like numbers together (i.e. Tens, Nines etc.).
The Court Cards are presented with a black and white scan, a hexagram, and a discussion of the qualities that the card carries. In the Navigators of the SEA Tarot, the Court Cards represent the bridge that is crossed by the aspirant between the known world of the pips and the unk own archetypal world of the ancestors – the Major Arcana. Each Court Card represents an individual type, broken down by physical description (taking into account the four medieval classes of humans – Choleric, Melancholic, Phlegmatic and the Sanguine).
The Major Arcana are presented with a black and white scan, Cabalistic and astrological associations, a section on divination and a section on commentary (including explanations of the symbols placed in the cards).
There is an extensive bibliography at the end of the book.
Due to the nature of the cards, and their whimsical/fantasy/otherworldly sense, I feel that the companion book brings a great deal to the table. Also, it is very important to understand the Cabalistic placement of the cards to understand how Turk sees them. If you did not purchase the book and deck as a set, then my recommendation would be to purchase the book. It will add new depth to your readings with this deck.
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.