Review by Bonnie Cehovet
“The Navigator sailed the shining seas,
charting a course between sharp, fateful rocks
and perilous cliffs, to harbours’ grateful rest.
And when the journey’s done, sought other quests.
It followed that a tree, long-dead, replied,
y blocking safely death’s long heavy slide.
The Navigator climbed across the wreck,
sighting the eagle, who was destined guide.
The Navigator slept, and saw a dream.
A Library of books set in the heavens,
stretching beyond all logic, Infinite.
And to a special shelf was offered sight.
A figure on the left removed a Book
and in succeeding visions gave a look.
The pages all were blank. To write anew
A fresh philosophy they undertook.
The Navigator scried, to learn the source.
Hermes revealed the holy Cabala.
The archetypes from that eternal base,
create clear symbols which, in turn, embrace
this Tarot of the Mystic SEA. To bind
all Navigators of future mankind,
who chart their unknown course across those seas,
that lap the edges of our inner mind.”
~ (From an extra card with the deck.)
Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA is a traditional deck of 78 cards, based on the Golden Dawn formation of the Hermetic Cabala. The Major Arcana retain their traditional titles, with the following exceptions: Universe (World), Aeon (Judgment), Art (Temperance), Suspension (The Hanged Man), Destiny (Justice), Fortune (The Wheel of Fortune), Arch Priestess (The Priestess), Magian (Magician). Strength is VIII, Destiny (Justice) is XI. The suits are entitled Wands, Cups, Air and Pentacles. The Court Cards are entitled King, Queen, Knight and Page.
The Navigators of the Mystic SEA was created specifically for use as a teaching and meditative path in the search for self-knowledge. The four suits represent four different aspects of the psyche: Wands represent Intuition, Cups represent Emotions and Dream States, Swords represent Intellect, and Pentacles represent the Five Senses.
In the accompanying Little White Book (LWB), Tark suggests that the Seeker can get to know the archetypes of the Major Arcana by meditating on a single card, or by using the Web Spread presented at the end of the LWB. Tark also notes that the Navigators Tarot has the potential to depart from the traditional Golden Dawn sequence of cards and paths (particularly in the Major Arcana). This inversion is called the “Way of Return” (which Tark also calls the “Way of the Future”).
The cards are presented in the LWB as text only (no scans), giving the card title, keyword, and a short discussion of each cards energy. The “Web Spread” is the only spread presented. It is quite interesting – three lines, one representing the past, one representing the present, and one representing the future.
The cards themselves are 2 ¾” by 4 ¼”, of good quality card stock. The back of the deck has a ½” white border on the toip and bottom, and a smaller white border on both sides. The background for the center of the card is multi-colored and “fuzzy”, with the center image that of the Cabalistic Tree of Life, with the ten Sephiroth and the accompanying paths done in color. The ten spheres and the 22 paths make up the “32 Paths of Wisdom” by which an individual comes to know themselves.
The card faces show the same white border as the card back. A keyword (representing the most important quality of the card) is written across the top in small black lettering, while the card title (for the Major Arcana), suit and number (for the Minor Arcana Pips), and title and suit (for the Court Cards) are written in larger black text across the bottom of the card. The Major Arcana are not numbered, so that the inversion placement system may be used if desired.
The art in this deck is of a surreal, fantasy quality, with people and things floating around the cards. The colors are quite intense. Skin tones differ from card to card – gray, green, red, yellow, black, purple – it’s all there! The figures seem posed – as if they are in some type of formal dance movement.
The background in the cards is very much of a fantasy, dream quality. People and things seem to be suspended in mid air, and we see wide swoops of color, androgynous figures, futuristic architecture, sci-fi type animals and more.
Some of my favorite cards include the Two of Pentacles (keyword permutation), where we see two figures facing each other, each with the Pentacle symbol in one hand, mirroring each other in a dance type pose; the Magian (keyword encapsulation), which shows a purple figure floating inside a bright yellow hexagram; and the Empress, which shows a green figure holding a golden pear shaped item out to a white swan. Other forest animals are in the background, and a beautiful butterfly is flying over the swans wings.
This is a decidedly different deck, but it has the advantage of taking the reader and the Seeker out of any ruts that they may be in. This is a deck that would appeal to collectors, to individuals that find fantasy art appealing, and to those that already have a fairly good knowledge of the Tarot. Because of the androgynous nature of the figures, this deck could be offered as one of a choice of decks to a Seeker for a reading.
© July 2009
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.