Review by Bonnie Cehovet
The 78 card "Universal Goddess Tarot" by Maria Caratti (text) and Antonella Platano (illustrations) follows the format of a traditional Tarot deck. The Major Arcana carry traditional titles, with Justice as VIII and Strength as XI. The suits are Wands, Chalices (Cups), Swords and Pentacles. The Court Cards are King, Queen, Knight and Knave.
In their introduction to the LWB (Little White Book), Caratti and Platano talk about their journey to connect with other women, in real time and through ancient cultures, traditions and myths. They listened to the myriad voices that they heard, and presented them here in the form of Tarot archetypes.
The LWB presents the cards with the name of the Goddess represented on the card, the culture that she represents, and keywords for the upright position. No scans are used. The information is presented in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.
From the book:
"1. The Magician; a grain of wheat, a drop of water, a ray of sun and a breath of life. A magical alchemical combination and the miracle is fulfilled. I am Demeter, the Greek goddess of the fields."
"The Goddesses of Chalices:
1. I am the divine source: the maternal womb, life and regeneration. My name is Habondia and I am the Celtic goddess of abundance, feelings and fertility."
"The Goddesses of Pentacles:
Queen: I am the Lady of fertility and conception. I am the generous and prodigal ancient Roman goddess. My name is Juno, ruler of time, patron of births."
The spread that is presented is a six card spread entitled "The Temple". The cards are defined as follows: Cards 1 & 2: the current situation, Cards 3 & 4 the evolution, Card 5 the offering/sacrifice - what must be offered/sacrificed to resolve the problem, Card 6 the response of the Goddesses.
The cards themselves are 2 5/8" by 4 3/4", on glossy, high quality card stock. The backs show a black border, with an inset in the four corners alternating gold and blue, showing the heads of a goddess, facing the right on the top and the left on the bottom, with a middle inset of quarter moons on either side of a pentacle set into a circle. It would not be possible to tell if the cards were reversed or not.
The card faces show a mauve border surrounding the illustration. In the four corners for the Major Arcana the card title appears, translated into English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and a language that I do not know, in black lettering. The card number, in Roman numerals, appears in the middle of the top of the card, in blue lettering. The Pips (numbered cards) follow the same format, with the card number and suit in the four corners, in black lettering, and the card number in the middle of the top of the card, in blue lettering. The Court Cards show the rank and suit in black lettering in the four corners.
The coloring is muted, using blues, greens, lavenders, and a brownish red. The art style is very lifelike. A good effort has been made to take the goddess culture and adapt it to the traditional imagery of the Tarot. For instance, the Fool (represented by the Goddess Lan Tsai-Pio, one of the eight immortals of China), dances through a green field, with no slipper on the foot that he/she holds in the air. (Yes, the authors place a question in the book as to whether this is a Goddess or a God.) The dancing figure holds a short wand in one hand, with a basket of flowers carried over her arm. Her right hand scatters flower petals. A stork-like bird stands at the figures feet. Although the Fool carries the number 0, the authors have presented her after the World.
The High Priestess is represented by the Egyptian Goddess Isis, guardian of occult knowledge and magic. She stands in front of a pyramid, both arms raised to the night sky, wearing her traditional head dress.
The Hierophant is another very masculine appearing figure, Aditi, Hindu Goddess of wisdom. She is seated, with a scepter in her right hand.
The Chariot appears as a very ghost-like vehicle flying through a lavender night sky, and is represented by the Goddess Eos, the Greek Goddess of the dawn.
The Hermit is portrayed by Hecate, Greek Goddess of mysteries. She stands in front of a crescent moon, with a flaming torch in her left hand, and two dark brown dogs at her feet.
The Pips are illustrated, including the Aces. The Ace of Chariots, represented by Plabondie, Celtic Goddess of abundance, holds a cup a water in her right hand, with the water pouring over her left hand.
The Three of Pentacles shows some of the fantasy nature of this deck, with three Goddesses, called the Esperides, Greek nymphs of the sunset. They are shown in an enchanted garden, with a dragon peeking from behind the tree they are laying in front of.
This is a gentle deck, one that lends itself easily to a reading for those with an open mind. It is a great acquisition for those interested in Goddess energy. The one thing that I would have wished for with this deck - a companion book that went into the history of each Goddess.
© October 2006
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.