Review by Bonnie Cehovet
Julie first came to my attention with her Ancestral Path Tarot, which fast became a favorite deck and still resides next to my computer. By the time I found out about the Blue Moon Tarot it was out of print. I was more than happy when I learned that Julie was coming out with a special Collector's Edition - especially when I learned that the proceeds from this printing of the Blue Moon Tarot would be used as seed money for the private printing of Julie's newest creation, the MAAT Tarot.
The Blue Moon Tarot grew out of a moon calendar project that Julie was commissioned to do by Janet Berres and Ron Losczyk of the Light of the Moon occult bookstore. What evolved was a seasonal/Pagan calendar based on the twelve full moons of the year, with the thirteenth full moon, the Blue Moon, being represented by the Moon itself.
The cards are 3 1/4" by 4 1/2", on good quality cardstock. The backs are solid white, with the illustration going all the way to the edge of the card (no border, which I really like!). The coloring is dark and intense, and the symbolism a mixture of fantasy and reality. The cards carry their traditional title, along with their Pagan association, across the bottom in white lettering.
There is an accompanying 5 1/2" by 8 1/2", 47 page booklet that comes with this deck. Each card is presented with the title, the cycle of the moon, a description of the card, the cards message, symbols in the card, other names for and attributes of the card.
From the book:
Full Moon in Gemini
The full moon before Winter Solstice
The image of this card is the Evening Star (rebirth) and the Morning Star (death) as the twins of ancient myth. The morning star disappears from the brilliance of the sun and reemerges as the evening star. This disappearing and reappearing phenomenon occurs again and again with all of the heavenly bodies. In the late autumn it is the sun itself that disappears below the horizon in the far north. The sun disappears into the body of the Great Mother earth. The promise of the suns return is the Winter Solstice, during which strength is needed to make it the moments of deepest darkness. Shu and Tufnut, twin lions (first born of Re) from Ancient Egyptian Mythos, are two siblings that are quite interesting. Shu is most often depicted in human form, while his sister Tufnut assumes the lion's shape. Originally both were lion deities reappearing later in the Middle Kingdom as the twin lions of yesterday and today. Shu was the "Atlas of Egypt", his role being to support the sky. His lioness sister was goddess of the sun and the dew and legend has it that she received the newborn sun each morning. Shu and Tufnut were two of the original gods of Heliopolis, but their personalities were later absorbed into Horus and Bast.
Some of the ancient text refers to the double lion in twin-soul terms, the physical manifestations of the original creator Atum, whose energies assume a dual form upon coming into contact with the earth or material sphere.
"Twin souls follow each other from incarnation to incarnation, sometimes never meeting up with him/her on the earth plane but always gathering the experience necessary for the spiritual development of the complete unit. Another explanation is that only half of the twin incarnates while the other half watches over its polarity from the world of spirit. When the incarnated half has reached a certain level of evolution and awareness then the twin may take human form to create final polarization on the earth level prior to ascending to the higher planes."
Murray Hope, The Way of Cartouche (New York, St Martin;s Press, 1985) p. 151-155
Other Names: Horus (Atlas of Egypt) and Bast (Goddess of the Dew and Sun), Zeus and Nemesis, Polydeuces and Castor, Dionysis and Semele, Hercules (associated with Shu (the White Goddess by Robert Greaves); Egyptian warrior god Anthur, Sekemet Lion headed goddess of the Sun
Symbols: Twin lions of Today and Yesterday; Sun and Moon; Light and dark; Morning star and Evening star; Sleep and Death
Attributes: Taking over of feminine; Darkness over light; surrender; faith
Full Moon in Gemini key phrase: "I think"
At the end of the book is the Blue Moon Tarot System Guide. This is a graphic, done in mandala format, that shows the relationship of the cards to the seasons and to the zodiac. The Blue Moon Tarot is a powerful deck backed by very "outside the envelope" type thinking.
Three of my favorite cards are the High Priestess, Judgment, and the Emperor. The High Priestess shows a female form lying on mother earth, covered by a thin lavender fabric. Look closely at the spiral details in the fabric. Then look again - I had to look a second time to see the nude female body lying in front of the first form. This one is done all in white - it is a memory, it seems, a dream form for the first figure.
Judgment is a dark card, showing a raging sea as a backdrop for what could pass as part of Stonehenge - a large stone base, with a longer, flat stone perched at an angle on top of it.
The Emperor is a dark, dark card in the "Green Man" mode - a central, knarled tree with the face of a man, surrounded by forest with a backlit background - as if one were seeing into heaven.
I am very happy to be able to have this deck in my hands, and to be able to work with it. For me, this is a deck for ritual and ceremony, and also for shadow work. A welcome addition for any Tarot collection.
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.