Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The Psychic Tarot is a 65 card oracle deck that follows the traditional template of the twenty-two cards of the Tarot Major Arcana, but uses only 36 cards from the Minor Arcana – the Aces through Nines. There is no explanation given for the exclusion of the four Tens and the sixteen Court cards. To round out the 65 card deck Holland has included seven cards representing the seven major chakras (Base, Sacral, Solar Plexis, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown). This is not a deck for someone in the beginning stages of their Tarot work. In fact – it really does not qualify as a Tarot deck at all.
In his introduction, Holland found that when he began working with the Tarot the cards seemed to reach out to his intuitive mind, bringing to his attention colors, shapes, figures, words, numbers and symbols. All of this (with the exception, perhaps, of words) is inherent in the archetypal quality of traditional Tarot. Whatever the Seeker is attracted to in the card is the gateway to the wisdom of the card. (My thoughts.) The cards for Holland acted as a channel for psychic information. (Traditionally the Tarot is seen as a channel for spiritual wisdom.) The Psychic Tarot oracle deck is based on Holland’s understanding of the Tarot. He feels that the Tarot helps the Seeker tap into powerful insights, purpose and guidance in all areas of life.
The Psychic Tarot comes as a set with 65 cards and a 167 page guidebook. The box is traditional Hay House – sturdy, with a lift off top. The bottom of the box is deep blue, with the top a mixture of deep blue and a lighter blue, with gold lettering for the deck name, black lettering for the author’s name, and smaller white lettering for deck info. The imagery from the back of the cards (Fractal River Paradigm) is imposed on the inside of the bottom and top of the box.
The traditional order of the Major Arcana is kept, but the cards are retitled according to their archetypal quality (i.e. The Fool becomes New Beginnings, The Magician becomes Awareness and The World becomes Universe). The four suits become Physical (Pentacles), Emotions (Water), Mental (Swords) and Spirit (Wands).
The Guidebook presents templates for Single Card spreads, Three Card spreads, Five Card spreads, and a Twelve Card Yearly Forecast (Calendar) spread. (Note: The Calendar spread is laid down in a clockwise manner.) Holland also briefly touches on psychic development, clairsentience, clairaudience, clairvoyance, color interpretation, numerological meanings and symbols.
Each card is presented by name and number, accompanied by a black and white scan. There is a short discussion of the meaning of the card, and how it appears in the Seeker’s life. For the Major Arcana, the traditional Tarot name (archetype) is also given. The Minor Arcana are presented by number and name, a black and white scan, and a discussion of the card’s meaning and symbolism. The Chakra cards are presented with name and number, a black and white scan, and key facts (color, sound, element, glands and key words, and a short paragraph as to how to apply their energy.
The cards themselves are 3 ½” by 5”, of good quality, glossy cardstock. The edges of the cards are gold gilt, giving a very nice “upscale” feel to the deck. The backs have a ¼” dark purple border, followed by a thin gold border, surrounding artwork entitled “Fractal River Paradigm”, by Vandorn Hinnant. The feeling one gets from this artwork is very much one of “other worldliness”. The backs are reversible.
The card fronts, done by artist John Matson, have a ¼” black border, with a thing white border surrounding the card imagery. The card number is at the top of the card, in white, with the author’s keyword at the bottom of the card (in larger white lettering). The structure of the cards is very true to life, with a little whimsy added. The colors are intense, and draw you into the card. The border for each suit reflect the color assigned to that suit: Physical (Red), Emotions (Green), Mental (Indigo), and Spirit (Violet).
The imagery is good, but it is not traditional Tarot imagery. For instance, New Beginnings (the Fool) holds wands in both hands, as he walks over a globe of the Universe. Behind him we see a brick wall, with a door in the middle. What is missing are things like precipice he is about to walk off of, and his wallet, filled with his life experiences and wisdom.
Awareness (The Magician) does not show the elements at all, focusing instead on the crown chakra of the male figure on the card. Intuition (The High Priestess) is seen form the side, with a door behind her. She appears to be looking into a circular plate that hold the universe within it. From her neck hangs the symbol of Venus. But where are the pillars, and where is her scroll? One of the better cards would be Power (Strength), which shows a male figure with one side of his face human, and the other that of a lion.
The chakra cards are all in the color connected with their specific chakra, showing a mandala in the middle. According to the accompanying Guidebook, when the chakra cards show up in a reading, they indicate that the Seeker need to be especially aware of this energy center, and the qualities that is governs.
I cannot recommend this deck for Tarot work, because of the missing elements (Tens and Court cards), and because the imagery is not traditional. As an oracle deck, it does work. The illustrations are beautifully done, and the addition of the chakra cards gives the Seeker one more tool to work with. I also see having keywords, rather than card titles, as a problem. Cut the words off (something I personally would never do!), and the Seeker has a better chance of accessing the wisdom in the cards.
© March 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.