The New Aeon (Aura Soma) Tarot Deck
This deck is based on Aura Soma, which is a system that utilizes bottles of scented, colored oils and waters. This is a tarot deck with cards corresponding to the usual 78 cards. However, additional cards have been added so that each Aura Soma bottle has a corresponding card. Some of these extra cards have been used to create a second Major Arcana - sans the Fool. There is no Fool in the second set of Major Arcana because there are two Fools in the first set numbered zero and 22. The additional Major Arcana cards are described on the web site as "the second level of the Major Arcana." This appears to be an ongoing process, designed to accommodate the expanding world of Aura Soma. The boxed deck I received has 98 cards, but a small packet containing two cards and an additional booklet came with it, bringing the card total up to 100. I do not know how they will accommodate additional cards in the future -- perhaps with a third Major Arcana.
The cards are larger than average, at 3 1/2" X 5 1/8". The art is excellent. The cards do not have names or numbers on the front. There is a patterned purple outer border and a thin yellow inner border. The art has a flowing, watery style and beautiful deep colors. The colors used are from the corresponding Aura Soma bottle. This is obviously a limitation for the artist and has some interesting results. It works fine for the first High Priestess (all blue), but not so well for the first Lovers card. Needless to say, some color combinations worked out better than others. The backs are important in this deck, as they have the card number and show an image of the appropriate Aura Soma bottle. They also have a supporting image for the card. The supporting image seems to illustrate the Aura Soma meaning. The large size, sturdiness of the card stock and the large number of cards make this deck impossible to shuffle, even for me, and I have very large hands. It can be shuffled in increments - one half at a time and then blended together. The second set of majors will probably make for some interesting readings.
The Major Arcana have the traditional names. As previously mentioned, an extra Fool has been added as card number 22. The booklet states that he is "The Awakened Fool." Justice is eight and Strength is 11. The suits are Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The court consists of King, Queen, Knight and Page. The Minors are highly decorated pips that show hands holding the requisite number of suit symbols. A border, depicting the element associated with the suit, surrounds the central image of hands and suit symbols. Astrological symbols for planets and signs are also on each pip. These correspond to those of the Golden Dawn. Again, the backs play a role as they provide additional images.
The little booklet that comes with the deck is woefully inadequate as a means of explaining it. There is one sentence about Aura Soma. There seems to be an assumption that the user is familiar with the Aura Soma system, which, judging from the cards and the website, is quite complex. Each card has a brief upright meaning and a brief meaning for the corresponding bottle. A few samples are given below.
The additional Major Arcana cards have meanings of their own. The meanings are all fairly traditional, Golden Dawn-based meanings. There is a tendency to put a positive spin on the meanings. Those familiar with any of the Golden Dawn based decks like Waite or Thoth will not have a big learning curve for the Tarot meanings, though the Aura Soma aspect adds an additional layer. I am not familiar with the Aura Soma system, and therefore do not feel very comfortable commenting on the card assignments. Since the booklet is quite skimpy, there may be layers and shadings of meaning for the Aura Soma aspect of the cards with which I am not familiar. However, based on the information I have in the little booklet, the pairing of Tarot and Aura Soma is not without difficulties. The Aura Soma meanings provided in the little booklet often seem unrelated to the card meanings. Here are some examples of cards and their corresponding Aura Soma meanings from the little booklet:
More examples can be found in the excerpt. The expanded meanings for the bottles that I found on the Aura Soma web site make a bit more sense, but they seem to be describing personality types, which are not especially useful in helping one understand cards like the Wheel of Fortune. There is one spread described in the little booklet - the Celtic Cross. A full-length book was written for this deck, but it is currently available only in German. As previously mentioned, my deck came with a packet containing two extra cards. A small folding addendum to the little booklet provides information on the new cards.
The deck comes in a two piece box. Overall, it is very well done. Its soothing, flowing style, intense colors and multiple images would make it an excellent meditation deck. Those with no knowledge of the Aura Soma system could use this deck, though it was obviously designed for those familiar with the system. I would like to see the full length book for this deck. The deck is obviously based on the traditional Tarot and several of the second set of Majors are especially interesting. I'd love to read an explanation of the second Hierophant. I recommend this deck for those familiar with the Aura Soma system, or for those who are interested in learning about it.
- New Aeon (Aura Soma) Tarot Deck
Art by Phyllis Mahon
- New Aeon Tarot Pack can be ordered from the Aura Soma Web Site. Look under Publications.
Excerpt (Little Booklet - Click the card title to see the card, front and back)
1 The Magician Blue/Deep Magenta
To connect with creative energy. The end of self doubt and the beginning of self worth. The vision of what might be and the possibility of creating it. having potential and the possibility of using it well.
Physical Rescue - communication with the being within. B1
79 The Magician Orange/Violet
Higher understanding of the path and purpose. The joy of service. The ability to support others.
Ostrich Bottle - A deep healing from within for a shock situation. B79
52 Queen of Swords Pale Pink/Pale Pink
Confident. Gracious and just. Quick perception. Emotional balance is the key to success.
Lady Nada - Spiritual growth through the ability to love "in the pink." B52
49 Two of Cups Turquoise/Violet
Harmony. Strong Links. The uniting power of love. Merging of opposites. Connections.
New Messenger - Elasticity of the mind through inner communications. B49
74 Five of Pentacles Pale Yellow/Pale Green
Worry. Tension. A hungry soul. Belief in the future. Look within to find one's answers.
Triumph - Justice through balance. B74