Het Kosmische Ei
Tarot (Cosmic Egg Tarot)
Deck by Guido Gillabel - Review by Paula Gibby
Pen & Ink Drawings 22+2 cards
Independently Published June 1987
If you have a collectorís eye and actively look for those unusual and creative little decks that make their appearance all too seldom, then you will want to add the Cosmic Egg Tarot to your wish list. And good luck, because this charming little set of the major arcana, created and self-published in 1987 by talented artist Guido Gillabel, is a very limited and signed edition of only 99 copies.
For those of you who keep track of such things, you may already be aware that Guido comes from a very artistic family which includes his brother Dirk (Medicator) Gillabel, who has produced several tarot decks of his own.
In the little booklet that comes with the cards, Guido tells us that he first received the inspiration for this deck around Easter time, when the egg, a symbol of birth, features prominently in the celebrations for the holiday. Guido uses the egg as his theme for the cards, weaving the image throughout the 22 cards in a series of inventive, minimalist "sketches". Minimalist, yes, but drawings full of interesting symbolism cleverly depicted and successfully capturing the true essence of each card. If you are a reader who sometimes uses the majors only for readings, this deck (unlike some "theme decks") holds up well to the challenge.
The Fool is the true "cosmic egg", forming out of the great void into which it will someday be absorbed. The Empress is an excellent rendering depicting an embryo nestled snugly within the egg-shaped womb. In The Emperor, we see the embryo hatch and take form (form being represented by the geometric shape of the square).
The Yin-Yang of male and female energies come together in The Lovers' card, with a tiny Cupidís bow and arrow hovering overhead.
I love The Hermit (always a favorite card of mine). Here, we see several ovoid shapes blossoming from the cardÖ.the face and body of the Hermit himself and the lantern which he holds, its rays emanating outward. I am impressed by the sense of radiating light, which is communicated in a card using only the medium of black ink (combined with the clever talent of the artist).
The cosmic egg next takes the form of the atom in The Wheel card, with the letters T-A-R-O revolving about the center, which is a tiny, detailed depiction of the Tree of Life. Notice that "A" and "O" are featured at the top and bottom of the "wheel". They represent "Alpha" and "Omega", the beginning and the end.
The Strength card is another symbolically interesting rendering. Here, the egg is delicately held between vice-like cosmic fingertips, its seeming fragility belied by its steady resistance to the pressure being placed upon it; itís inner strength more than a match for the strength of outside forces.
The egg (symbol of cycles, birth and rebirth) is perfect for The Death card. Here, two ovoid shapes depict the dual nature of death, which is only a pathway to transformation and rebirth in another form.
The Moon card is a delight. Against the hypnotic backdrop of the quarter moon, a tiny witch on a broom continues her solitary journey through the night. The Sun, a reminder of rebirth, contains the cosmic egg which has now taken a series of fascinating forms as uterus and ovaries.
And finally in The World card (Universe), form and chaos, yin and yang, come together, inextricably linked to create the final unified form contained within the Cosmic Egg.
Just the Facts
The Cosmic Egg cards are small and square, measuring only 2.5 x 2.5 inches. They are printed on unlaminated, medium-weight, cream-colored card stock and fit securely in a sturdy two-piece box. The deck comes with a little booklet (in Dutch and English), which briefly describes each card. The first card contains the title, edition number, and signature of the artist.
You can purchase this deck from the artist's website or by email.
Paula Gibby first began to study the tarot in the summer of 1996, as a result of studying Kabbalah and the Tree of Life. She completed two B.O.T.A. tarot courses and is an active member of Tarot-l and Comparative Tarot. She has contributed tarot reviews to Wicce's Tarot Page and is a major tarot collector--at present, she owns over 300 decks. Her spiritual studies continue to widen; she has completed several Reiki courses and has received the Reiki II attunements. Inspired by the work of Arnell Ando and Michele Jackson, she plans to create a tarot deck sometime in the future, but is presently quite busy as a Finance Manager in the Washington, D.C. area.
Review © 2000 Paula Gibby
Page © 2000 Diane Wilkes