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REVIEW - Tarot of the Orishas

To: alt.pagan.magick
From: "Mike Gleason" 
Subject: REVIEW - Tarot of the Orishas
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2003 17:40:02 GMT

Tarot of the Orishas  by  Zolrak   2003  Llewellyn Worldwide  77 cards and
booklet  ISBN  1-56718-834-5  $19.95 (U.S.)

The use of the name "Tarot" is a deliberate misnomer.  The cards which make
up this deck correspond only loosely with those in a conventional Tarot
deck.  Unfortunately, there is no other word to describe the function of
these cards.  They are not "fortune-telling cards," they are not a "game;"
nor are they runes.  They are comprised, like a "standard" Tarot deck of two
separate components:  There are 25 "primary cards" which approximate the
Major Arcana and 52 "secondary cards," divided into the four elements which
approximate the Minor Arcana.  There the similarities end.

The "Majors" are not numbered - to do so might invoke associations of
"superiority/ inferiority" in the relationships of the ideas which they
bring forth.  Five of them have no correspondence to the "standard" Tarot,
while two of the "standard" cards are not to be found (The Heirophant and

The "secondary" cards are numbered from 1 through 10 of each element, and
also include an "Element card" in each suit - these "give our place within
the elements, considering periods of time and its peculiarities and
particulars;" a "Message of the Element card"  which produce(s) a thought
and a piece of advice intended for the consultant;" and, finally, an
"Elemental card" which links them with "professions and personalities."

Two copies of the instruction book are provided with the deck - one in
English and one in Spanish.  Since the Orishas are a concept drawn from
Santeria (and most followers are Spanish-speaking) this is a decided

The images contained within this set are primitive.  That is not to say that
they are crude or unappealing, but they are more in the line of a Grant Wood
rather than a Michelangelo.  There is a sense of "real" versus "ideal."  The
human images in this deck are not the idealized "David" style, but are much
more representative of the carved African figures you occasionally find in
resale shops - simple, basic, and easy to relate to.

I look forward to working with these cards for a long time, and, I expect
that they, like the other decks I use, will continue to reveal more secrets
the longer I use them.  They will not replace a visit to a babalawo when
needed, but they are certainly a system to provide guidance when needed.

There are layouts illustrated in the back of the booklet, including some of
the "traditional" layouts used by most card readers.  Each position is
carefully explained for what it is, and how it relates to the other

Some folks may have trouble relating to these cards, but if you give
yourself the opportunity to work with them, I think you will find your time
and effort well rewarded.

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