Faery Wicca Tarot                                Review by Michele Jackson

Although called a Tarot deck, this deck has 83 cards due to the inclusion of four "Gift of Faery" cards and one "Power Card." If these extra cards were removed, one would be left with the standard Tarot configuration of 22 trumps, 16 court cards and 40 pips. The deck is based on the Faery Wicca Tradition as devised and explained by Kisma Stepanich, the designer of the deck and author of the book. The images were rendered by an artist (Renee Yates), based on Ms. Stepanich’s designs. The art is good. The images are well detailed and the colors are bold. The cards measure 4 1/2" X 2 3/4". The Major Arcana are called "The Ancient Ones Cards." They each have four "oghams" in the four corners of the card representing the solstices and equinoxes. The card name and number are in the bottom border of the card and a God/Goddess/Character name is in the bottom border of the image. Most of the Major Arcana have been renamed to reflect the mythology of the Faery Wicca Tradition. The names are:

00- The Tree of Life 7 - The Chariot 15 - The Old One
0 - The Seeker 8 - Poetical Justice 16 - The Round Tower
1 - The Druid 9 - The Holy Man 17 - The Star
2 - The High Priestess 10 - The Sun Wheel 18 - Old Witch Moon Hill
3 - The Mother Goddess 11 - Strength of Will 19 - The Sun Child
4 - The Father God 12 - The Hangman 20 - The Judgment
5 - The Guide 13 - The Banshee Crone 21 - The Weaver Goddess
6 - The Beloved 14 - The Holy Waters  

The court cards are called "Helper Cards" and consist of Ainnir (Maiden), Ridire (Knight), Ard Ri (High King) and Banrion ( High Queen). The Helper Cards also have names from Irish Mythology. The suits are Domhan (earth), Aer (air), Tine (fire), and Uisce (water). The inner border of each Minor Arcana card is color coded by suit. The Minor Arcana illustrate the story line for each suit with the suit symbols dominating each scene.

The accompanying book is 400+ pages long. It needs to be that long because this is a "theme deck," with the theme being Faery Wicca. If one is not already familiar with Ms. Stepanich’s Faery Tradition, one has a lot of learning to do. The mythology is quite involved, with the majority of the names of people, places and ideas rendered in Gaelic. Since many of the concepts upon which the deck is based predate Tarot, Golden Dawn and other, more recent traditions are used to fill in the gaps where needed. An example is the astrological correspondences. The book begins with some basic background information on the Irish mythology used. Descriptions of the four suits and some spreads designed as study aids are also provided in the beginning of the book. Part One of the book also covers the Minor Arcana. A black and white picture of each card is provided. The name of the card and a short verse are given. The information provided consists of:

Classical Tarot Meaning: Although called classical, these interpretations seemed to be more personal than traditional. The deck is not designed to be used with reversals, though some information on how to interpret reversals, should they occur, is provided.

Card Description and Faery Wicca Tarot Meaning: This section was in the form of a story line which begins with the Ace and continues through the ten. The story is intended to provide insight into each card’s meaning. This is followed by a short verse which is supposed to provide further insight. The entire thing has the feel of one of those old text-based computer games, where you are following a path and being given hints and clues along the way.

Part Two provides information about the Helper Cards. The Helper Cards represent personalities, like the traditional court cards, but they also represent doorways to "The OtherWorld," and as such have been given various correspondences including animals, trees, colors, oghams, etc. Again, a black and white image of the card is provided along with the card’s name and its ruling ogham. The following information is provided:

Meaning: The elemental and masculine/feminine energy are given, along with a description of the type of person the card represents (i.e., young male between birth and thirty). A short description of the type of Faery Magick attributed to the card is provided as well.

Card Description: Describes the historical or mythological figure rendered on the card and the scene itself.

Oghams and Symbols: Discusses the ruling ogham and its correspondences as well as any specific symbolism in the image.

Other Correspondences: Provides the element, sub-element, Element Card (Minor Arcana) connections, Helper Card connections, Ancient Ones Card (Major Arcana) connections, Numerology, Planets, Energy and Gender.

This is followed by a brief story about the character depicted on the card.

Part Three describes the Ancient Ones cards (Major Arcana). Background information about the concepts on which the Ancient cards are based is provided. There are several delineations for these cards such as solar and lunar circles, realms in the land of Faery, and position on the Tree of Life. This is in addition to the traditional correspondences such as numerology and astrology, and the deck-specific correspondences such as oghams, and symbols. A black and white picture of the card and its name are followed by:

Meaning: These seem to be loosely based on the traditional, Golden Dawn interpretations, but are heavily based on the mythology of the Faery tradition.

Card Description: A description of the scene rendered on the card.

Oghams, Alphabets and Symbol:. Describes the symbols on the card.

Faery Lore: A Faery Wicca myth, story, or some other information thought to be useful. For example, one Faery Lore section discusses the Fellowship of Isis.

Part Four is called "Integration." The four Faery Gift Cards are described here in terms of Meaning, Card Description and Faery Lore. A purification ritual for the deck is also provided in this section. Spreads are given at the end of each section of the book. Most are new, though some are familiar, such as the Celtic Cross.

I recommend this deck for people who are followers of the Faery Tradition, or those interested in learning about the Faery Tradition. There is a lot of information in this book, much of which must be mastered in order to make any sense of this deck. While some traditional Tarot knowledge will be useful, it will probably not be enough to use this deck without further study. Be prepared to make a sizable investment in time to learn this deck, if you are not already well acquainted with Ms. Stepanich’s work. The rich lore on which this deck is based makes it suitable for meditation, or creative work. The myriad correspondences make it suitable for magick.

The Faery Wicca Tarot
ISBN 1-56718-696-3
Available from Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul MN, 55164 (800)THE-MOON

See more cards from the Faery Wicca Tarot

Addendum: This set has been republished in a mini-kit format.  The book size has been considerably reduced.  

If you would like to purchase this deck in its republished, mini-kit format, click here.


Excerpt

In an age so distant that the age is unknown, the world was inhabited by gods, and the lands and oceans were divided amongst them. One tiny piece of land, a very rich and magickal piece of land, became known as Eire, and was ruled by a Goddess named Brigid and three gods of Dana: Brian and Iuchar and Iucharba - the three druids from whom the Tuatha De Dannan are named…

The Faery Wicca tarot cards are based on the De Dananns’ ancient Bardic system of understanding the universe (i.e., the OtherWorld, land of Faery, and the Underworld), which might today be considered the shamanic tradition or roots of the Irish Faery-Faith, a pre-Christian, pre-Celtic spiritual tradition. The cards contain a unique system that nicely blends traditional tarot images with the mystical symbology of modern Faery Wicca. I make this ancient wisdom accessible by integrating the Tuartha De Danann shamanic skills or teachings of the pagan cunning arts with meditative practices, bringing forth the knowledge of the Four Great Cities of the OtherWorld into the light of our everyday modern living.

Faery Wicca Tarot pg. 1-2

Seven of Domhan

BLOCKED DOOR

Classical Tarot meaning

Inertia, alienation, lost opportunities, laziness. A new vision is required to overcome deep seated blockages. Natural abundance is around you but you fail to see it an recognize how valuable it can be.

Card Description and Faery Wicca tarot meaning

Journey to Falias - continued

I stand at a doorway blocked by pieces of wood. A large plank inscribed with six pentagrams guards the opening. On the floor before the opening is the golden pentagram; however, in this position it is inverted.

A wood sign is nailed above the opening. It reads one word in ancient Gaelic. A beautiful light shines from the cave. How enticed I feel to tear down the boards and go in, but I sense: beware! Don’t go there. Don’t enter the door to the right of the golden pentagram. This desire toward extreme materialism will lock you into the world of the Great Trickster, and you will live in illusion.

What is it the earth teaches us? CYCLES…life cycles…give and receive. Don’t take, take, take, or you are in jeopardy of staying locked in the UnderWorld of Regret.

The way is barred-
think twice, three times,
as many times as is needed before continuing forward
to heed the messages being given you
from the OtherWorld.
Warnings of danger echo around you.
 
Faery Wicca Tarot pg. 120-121

Images Copyright 1998 Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.



This page is Copyright 1998 by Michele Jackson