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!
© Bonnie Cehovet
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.
Review by David J. Hamilton
Color, or Colour as we call it here in the UK, is not just a description, it is the very fabric for our existence. Imagine if you will, back to the days when black and white movies were all that was available, and then imagine that first color film, and what it meant to the people watching it. Somehow I think they must have thought "I wonder how life will ever be the same?"
Color is such a vital part of everything that we sometimes take it for granted, and I have to admit, that when I first heard of Leisa's deck, I thought "this is going to be plain!" - How wrong was I - I could not have been further from the truth, the Deck Of Color is vibrant, alive and brimming with wonderful occult symbolism.
For most people, colour is something taken for granted. It is all around us. Yet, when we come to use colour, in paintings, in design, in our furnishings and clothes we often make mistakes because we don't understand what is going on. Some people will say that this colour goes with that colour and that "blue and green should never be seen." They will even try to make up complex tables and formulae for combining colours in pleasing ways. Leisa doesn't try to do that!
We all know that red is a warm colour, because it is associated with fire, it is also Geburah on the tree of life. Blue is a cool colour, because that is the colour of Chesed, and water. Green is a fresh colour, we associate it with Netzach. All these associations are programmed into the human ROM and with meditation can bring out various different states of being. When someone tells you that their favourite colour is blue, as seven out of ten people probably will, it's because they've had a pleasant encounter with that colour in their formative years - sunny days, blue skies. Red is the colour of danger - fire - and rage - the face. In yellow, we see spring flowers and sunlight. All colours have mnemonic associations that trigger memories or feelings. These built-in, instinctive responses to colour are fairly universal, but there will be regional variations. People from a predominantly desert environment will have a slightly different aesthetic from those more used to green pastures or purple plains.
This is why the Tarot of Color is so important - It personalises it-self to the user, bringing different emotions and thought patterns flowing through our minds and getting those creative juices going which ultimately allows us to fill in the blanks in our lives.
Our bodies are stimulated and energised by some colours, or calmed and relaxed by others. Mentally and emotionally, colour works on a deep level; changing our mood and our sense of well being, as well as others' perception of us. Spiritually too, colour is of immense significance. Employed in religious ritual throughout time, colour is the language of the soul. From the saffron robes of Tibetan Buddhist monks and the royal blue of the Virgin Mary's cloak in Christianity, to the black and white worn to represent death, birth and renewal the world over, the beliefs that colour symbolize are communicated with an extraordinary immediacy which words can never match.
We humans are not the only creatures on this planet who are affected by colour. In the animal and plant worlds colour can mean survival or extinction. Colour is used to attract, camouflage, ward off danger and send sexual signals. Colour is intrinsic to life and it is as important to us as in the plant and animal kingdoms. It is a lost language we must relearn for our own health, happiness and well being. I believe the Tarot Of Color will help to do this. If you haven't already got a wonderful Tarot of Color, then you need to think about what the basic things that surround you mean, and how color and light affects your very core of existence and what fantastic spiritual leaps and bounds you could make by meditation and the Tarot of Color.
Just a note in parting, this deck is not really for the newbie, although it has loads of information on every card, it is best kept until a reasonable knowledge of the Tarot is attained. I thank you for reading my review and I hope that in reading it, you are inspired as I am by this wonderful symbolic deck.
See card images from the Tarot of Color
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