Love is in the Earth Crystal Tarot:
THE Tarot for the Millennium by Melody; Art by Steve Goins
Review by Diane Wilkes
If you would like to purchase this deck/book set, click here.
When you call your deck "THE" Tarot for the Millennium, you're just asking for trouble. When you overtly compare your deck to Thoth, you move from asking to imploring...and that is just what Melody (no last name) has done by creating the Love is in the Earth Crystal Tarot.
Those of you who don't care much for crystals may never have heard of Melody, whose book Love is in the Earth: A Kaleidoscope of Crystals is considered the definitive resource for new-agers who believe stones are imbued with powers and gifts. It's quite comprehensive, and I consult it regularly, though always with the thought that the crystal I'm researching seems to do everything but windows.
This set is packaged in an oversized lavender, rectangular cardboard box, which holds the cards (which are separated into two wells) and an approximately 9" x 6" 171-page book (plus blank pages for notes). The back of the book introduces Melody and deck artist Steve Goins with pictures and a short blurb. Melody is described as having "developed and designed this Tarot based upon Aleister Crowley's work and the associated symbology, and upon his recommendation for the modification of same when humanity and the world have both changed." The book is dedicated to the earth and "THE GRAND MASTER: ALEISTER CROWLEY," and the sentence "Love is, indeed, the only law" prefaces the text. The cards are based on Melody's re-visioning of the Thoth deck. This is particularly obvious in the Minor Arcana--all of the suit configurations are identical, though the colors and other symbolism differ.
While I haven't spoken to Aleister Crowley's ghost lately, I have had a vision of him spinning as he spied Melody's version of the unicursal hexigram, recast in lavender and powder blue with a heart (!) at the center. And that isn't the only thing about this deck that would probably elicit horror from Crowley. Lady Frieda Harris' art for the Thoth deck is powerful and evocative--looking at THE Tarot for the Millennium next to the deck it is modeled on doesn't put Melody's deck in a positive light.
This is what comes of trying not to be overly negative in my reviews. That last sentence is the biggest understatement I've ever written. Steve Goins' art wouldn't win raves from me under any circumstances, but next to Thoth it looks particularly awkward and cartoonish. The cards that work best don't show human images--the Three of Crystal Lasers, for example, is quite suggestive of sorrow (though it lacks the oblique quality that seems to emanate from the Thoth Three of Swords). I wouldn't be as negative about Goins' images if the text hadn't demanded comparison with Thoth. It did, so I am.
Look at the two versions of the Eight of Wands--could the Love is in the Earth Crystal Tarot adaptation be any more derivative? And yet it lacks Harris' sense of striking electricity. And the Ten of Disks--Harris' card has an elegant symmetry and the Goins' card looks like its theme song is "Money" from Cabaret. For those of you who don't remember that number, the key visual shows Joel Grey and Liza Minnelli shoving money into their underwear. During their dance, they thrust their pelvises at one another, which go ka-ching when they connect.
The twenty-two Major Arcana have, for the most part, followed Crowley's titling, with some euphemistic changes:
The High Priestess
Enthusiasm (Lust in Thoth)
The Hanged Man
Transformation (Death in Thoth)
Temptation (The Devil in Thoth)
You, clever reader, have noted the 23rd card, The Millennium. Melody got permission from Uncle Al to create this one: "The motivation for its [Love is in the Earth Crystal Tarot's] development is due to Aleister Crowley's recommendation for, and approval of, modification of The Tarot deck when the caretakers and the preservers of humanity (and the Earth) have become of a different mind, and when the social structure and activities of same have changed." I'd like to know whom the author sees as the preservers and caretakers of humanity, and which societies she believes have evolved into possessing a "different mind."
Ah, but those are the questions of a cynic--and this card "shows the potential for the person to release all self-limiting beliefs and to continue the walk through the Gateless Gate while actualizing all one desires."
Melody was clearly taken with this card, and felt it transcended any reason to have a unique back for the deck--she uses the same art for the card backs.
The reason I'm coming across as so sarcastic is because I find this deck so utterly bizarre. Melody is all sweetness and light; the Thoth deck embraces the shadow as much as the light. Crowley's Lust is Melody's Enthusiasm. What more need be said?
Just the facts, I suppose. The suits have been changed to reflect Melody's affinity with crystals: Wands are Crystal Wands; Cups are Crystal Cups; Swords are Crystal Lasers; and Disks have transformed into Crystal Spheres. Each card depicts at least one crystal. The cards are longer and wider than standard at approximately 4" x 5 1/4". There are no borders. For the most part, Melody has followed Thoth slavishly, including astrological attributions and placement of the suit symbols.
I should mention that other decks that are clearly Crowley-influenced, such as The Magickal Tarot and the Deva Tarot, haven't offended me in the same way. Neither deck's Little White Book (LWB) draws comparisons with Thoth as boldly and/or frequently as the book for THE Tarot for the New Millennium does, though.
The book is riddled with grammatical errors and prolix prose (see excerpt below). There is a brief Background and Introduction, a Methodology that includes a very few spreads. One is the "One Card Reading", a four card "Relationship Reading", a version of the "Celtic Cross", and the "Millennium Lay-Out", which is described as "one especially designed for use in this NEW Millennium. It is based upon the astrological sidereal wheel which relates from inception to conclusion, and further includes the thirteenth card which provides additional information to the reading..." It very much resembles the Astrological Spread I've seen many times in the last millennium, but to be fair, there are some differences in the card position meanings.
Then there are the obligatory card meaning sections; each of the Majors and Court Cards have two pages devoted to their interpretations; the Minors have one.
The last section, Minerals and Symbology, is the most interesting. Any "distinctive" crystals in the cards are identified, such as "The throne of the Emperor is constructed of white milky drusy quartz crystals hosting the growth of yellow sulphur crystals." Sadly, it is only four pages long and is all too brief--I'd like to know why the crystals chosen were attributed to the particular cards. Had Melody spent her time emphasizing this aspect of the tarot, she'd have provided a valuable contribution to the existing corpus of tarot decks. As it is, I find this set a disappointment--a shattered crystal of a deck.
See more cards here.
I recommend this deck to Melody fans (whom are legion in the world of crystal enthusiasts) and those who are looking for a deck with a crystal-orientation.
The Star represents faith, unforeseen assistance, unclouded perception, recognition of the multitude of potentialities, metaphysical wisdom, and possible fantasizing in decision-making, which may bring discontent (but only when the fantasy is unrealistic and will not further one upon the chosen path).
The card further symbolizes re-birth and the action of commanding ones own ideas, judgments, and opinions; of being ones "own person", and of recognizing the benefits of same.
It indicates the reestablishment of the infinite potentialities within ones reality and within the whole of ones conscious existence.
It confirms a gift of fertility, and ability, for enjoying the growth which one has the capability to experience; a "sweet promise" representing a gift of the nectar of the gods. One can now see this "promise" and can know its conceivability.
Speaking ones feelings and that which is in ones heart and in ones mind is of the utmost importance. Energy follows "words" as well as "thought"!
Science and merchandising are also of importance in the inner workings of "The Star".
An energy of eternal renewal, the card promises the promotion of "firsts" growing to "seconds", and infinitely onward.
The gift of the actualization of gladness, trust, harmony, respite, material goods, "paradise", and non-obligation (i.e., it is not necessary to "give-up" something in order to gain something more) is shown, and is concomitant with the ease of attainment of same.
The attainment is with ease, the path is unimpeded, and the authority "in control" is one of both understanding and appreciation (as well as forthright "giving"); the "giving" is without restraint and obligation.
The brilliance of the "light which shines", truly shines upon YOU.
"When you see a star; all you have to do is follow it".
Love is in the Earth Crystal Tarot: THE Tarot for the Millennium
Author: Melody Artist: Steve Goins
Earth-Love Publishing House
If you would like to purchase this deck/book set, click here.
Text © 2000 Melody
Art © 2000 Steve Goins
Review and page © 2001 Diane Wilkes