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The Egyptian Tarot
by Silvana Alasia

The Egyptian Tarot - Ace of Wands These are elegant, beautiful cards. I would use this deck in face-to-face readings with others, simply because they are so aesthetically pleasing to me, and their imagery has such a feeling of antiquity that readings done with them would immediately be given a serious and respected (though not somber) tone.

The symbolism in the Majors is effective. From what I know of Egyptian mythology, the gods, goddesses, humans, and beasts are all appropriate for their cards. In the card of Justice, we see a female figure dressed in white, holding in one hand a curved sword, in the other the scales. Is she Maat, the divine goddess who weighs the hearts of humans, and brings deserved justice? In the Hanged Man we do not see a man tied by the ankle, suspended from a tree. We see the sacrifice of a bull, a tradition in ancient Egypt that fits an alternate meaning for this card.

Although the pips, or Minor Arcana cards, do not enjoy full scenes, their images are just as beautiful as the Major. Each Suit tends toward a coloring that effectively gives a subtle indication of its nature ... Pentacles are a deep orange and gold; Chalices or Cups are a soft aqua blue and delicate yellow; Wands are a vibrant blue and deep yellow; and Swords are colored in darker hues, with bright white blades. All the pips are also decorated with birds, monkeys, snakes, flowers, scarabs, the Eye of Horus, or other symbols.

Court cards are among the loveliest I've seen. The simplicity and elegance make them feel royal, but very human as well.

The little accompanying fold-out sheet offers an interesting introduction to tarot and the relevance of Egyptian history on the development of tarot and its use today. It also offers a unique spread called the "Pyramid of Identity," which reveals to us different facets of who we are. Meanings sometimes differ from the traditional; in a few cards the meanings may surprise.

This may not be the right deck for someone who must have full scenes on every card, but it is so lovely I recommend it to anyone drawn to the artwork, to Egyptian imagery, or to decks with a historical feel to them.

The Egyptian Tarots - King of Pentacles The Egyptian Tarots - Six of Swords The Egyptian Tarots - XIX - The Sun
Card artwork by Silvana Alasia


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Illumination Tarot has been publishing articles, reviews, tarot spreads, and personal reflections for tarot enthusiasts and followers of alternative spirituality online since 1999.
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