Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The Tarot of Color is quite an interesting project. It is being promoted as an "Esoteric Attribution Deck", indicating that the foundation for the deck is based on esoteric correspondences, which in turn are based on the Golden Dawn system. It clearly falls under the category of "occult" decks, along with such notables as: the "Alchemical Tarot" (Robert M. Place), the "Thoth Tarot" (Aleister Crowley), the "Cards of Alchemy" (non-Tarot oracle from Raymond Buckland), the "Golden Dawn Magical Tarot" (Chic and Sandra Cicero), the "Pythagorean Tarot" (John Opsopaus), the "Square & Compasses Tarot" (W. Bro P.C.Browne PZ), and the "Tarot of Ceremonial Magick" (Lon Milo DuQuette). I dearly love the occult decks - the greater the symbolism, the happier I am!
The attributions used in this deck are numerous:
For the Major Arcana: Number, Name, Esoteric Title(s), Astrological Attribution, Elemental Attribution, Date Range (Astrological), Hebrew Letter, English Translation of Letter, Numeric Value of Letter, Color Attribution, Intelligence, Path on Tree of Life, English Translation.
For the Court Cards: Card Name, Rank, Suit, Esoteric Title, Astrological Attribution, Corresponding Major Arcana, Full Astrological Attribution, Date Range for Full Astro, Elemental Counter Change, Description of Counter Change, Qabalistic Correspondence, Sepheria, World, English Translation.
For the Minor Arcana: Card Name, Number, Suit, Element, Esoteric Title, Number (Keywords), Number (Planetary Attribution), Number (Color), Number (Dimension on Cube of Space), Number (Depth), Intelligence, Elemental Attribution of Suit, Keywords For Suit, Suit: Direction, Suit: Season, Suit: Time of Day, Suit: Moon Phase, Astrological Attribution, Qabalistic Correspondence, Sepheria, World, English Translation.
For me, the greatest attribution is one that finds its way into all decks, but is seldom given the credit that it deserves, and that is the attribution of color. In "Tarot of Color", the color symbolism does not come from the symbols, nor does it come strictly through the suits - it comes from the cards themselves! This is not an illustrated deck (with the exception of the use of astrological and elemental glyphs), the information provided is strictly text. The cards themselves carry the power, in that they are color coded. The esoteric color system used is that of the Golden Dawn, with the color range being: Red, Red-Orange, Orange, Yellow-Orange, Yellow, Yellow-Green, Green, Blue-Green, Blue, Blue-Violet, Violet, and Red-Violet. A sample of how the coding works would be: Blue (the Hanged Man, the High Priestess, Temperance, and the suit of Cups), and Yellow (the Fool, the Magician, Strength, and the suit of Swords).
On the Tarot of Colour Internet site, Leisa has developed a series of charts relating color and the 78 cards of the Tarot. The charts are broken down in the following manner: Fundamental Letters (Elements), Double Letters (Planets), Single Letters (Zodiac), Minor Arcana, and Court Cards. Each division is then further broken down: Fundamental Letters (Color, Element, Number, Trump), Double Letters (Color, Planet, Number, Trump), Single Letters (Color, Zodiac Sign, Number, Trump), Minor Arcana (Color, Element, Suit), and Court Cards (Rank and Letter).
Each individual color and Tarot card can be clicked on for more in depth information. From the site:
Meanings: Harmony, Nature, Balance, Good Advice, Talents for Coordination and Counseling, Unification, Sense of Community, Protective.
Too Much: Lost Sense of Self
Too Little: Disappointment, Feelings of Inadequacy, Co-dependency
Tarot Cards: The Hierophant
Esoteric Title: Magus of the Eternal Gods
Astrological Atttribution: Taurus
Elemental Attribution: Earth (cold, dry)
Dates & Timing: April 20 to May 20
Hebrew Letter: Vau Hook 6
Intelligence: Triumphant Intelligence
Esoteric Function: Hearing
Qabalistic Path: Path 16: 2 Chokmah to 4 Chesed
Translation of Path: The Wisdom of Mercy
Keywords: Divine Wisdom, Explanation, Teaching, Desire + Knowledge (rose and lily), Inner Guide, Spiritual Master, Education, Belief Systems, Spiritual Father, Teacher, Advisor, Establishments, Organizations, Groups, Religion, Teaching, Structures, Groups
Ill-Dignified: Inventive, Originality, Non-conformist, Youth, Inventor, Free Spirit, Open Mind, New Adventures, Foolish exercise of generosity. Susceptibility. Impotence. Vulnerability. Frailty. Unorthodoxy. Renunciation.
Note: Each tarot card is presented with the "Tarot of Color" card on the left and the matching card from the Golden Dawn Tarot on the right.
The cards themselves are 3" by 5", on good quality card stock. There are 80 cards in the deck: the traditional 78 cards of the Tarot, and two additional cards: a color diagram of the Tree of Life, and a color diagram of the Elements and their properties, along with the Elemental Dignity Rules.
The backs of the cards show a black background, with a thin white border approximately 1/4" in from the edge of the card. In the center the "Tarot of Color" appears in white letters, beneath a glyph of what appears to be a variation of a Celtic knot, with a brightly colored bird facing it, multi-colored wings spread out. I asked Leisa about this, and I was exactly right! Leisa used the Celtic knot as a representation of fate in a Tarot reading. The know is in the form of a triangle, representing trinity, as well as the synthesis of duality. The bird with its wings spread out (i.e. a "flying bird") represents the connection between earth and heaven. In many cultures, birds are also seen as messengers (smiling at all Harry Potter fans!). The multicolored spread wings form a rainbow, indicating not only that color has taken flight, but that another bridge has been formed between heaven and earth, and between Tarot and our lives. This is mirrored from top to bottom, so that it would not be possible to tell if a card was drawn in the upright or reversed positions.
The face of the cards shows a color coded background, with a thin black line approximately 1/4" in from the edge. The number of the card appears at the top of the card, followed by:
Major Arcana: the Title, Elemental Glyph, the Esoteric Title, the Astrological attribution, the Elemental attribution, Dates and Timing, Hebrew Letter, Color, Intelligence, Esoteric Function, Qabalistic Path, and the Translation of the Path.
Minor Arcana: the Title, Esoteric Title, Numerical Keywords, Numerical Attributions, Intelligence, Element, Elemental Keywords, Elemental Attributions, Astrological Attribution, Dates and Timing, Qabalistic World, Translation of World
Court Cards: Rank, Card Title, Esoteric Title, Astrological Attribution, Decans, Dates and Timing, Corresponding Trump, Elemental Attributions, Elemental Combination, Qabalistic World, Translation of World (Note: The Court Cards are edged in their secondary color. i.e. The Page of Wands shows a deep red background, and is edged in green.)
The cards come in their own Tarot bag, but at this time there is no LWB (Little White Book), or equivalent. One of the avenues under consideration is to place the information in PDF format. Then it could either be downloaded from the Internet, or placed on a CD.
As you can see from my meandering comments above, the "Tarot of Color" site is quite extensive, covering the color spectrum, the use of color as it applies to the individual cards, and in-depth esoteric information on the cards. There is a color system chart, downloads for the "Tarot of Color" and the "Hello Tarot" in Orphalese format (thank you Richard Jeffries!), and a on-line reading section, which offers one to three card readings.
The "Tarot of Color" works quite well for readings (although I would not recommend the deck to someone new to Tarot). It can be used to good effect in comparative readings, where I found that it acted as a catalyst for me to find new meaning in the deck(s) already laid out. I would also encourage its use in meditation, ritual and ceremony, journaling, and teaching (as flash cards for esoteric learning). I also feel that it would be a kick-start in story telling!
My one fault with the deck was that the type was in script (which makes me a major, major hypocrite, as I tend to use script whenever I think I can get away with it!), and that the black coloring of the type was hard to read against the darker blue and purple backgrounds. This did not stop me from enjoying this deck, nor should it stop you!
While I do not recommend this deck for beginners, I see it as a very powerful tool for those with a basic Tarot background. I advise going to the site, viewing the cards, getting a reading or two - in general, seeing how the deck works for you! December 2005
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.