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The World Spirit Tarot
by Lauren O'Leary and Jessica Godino

The World Spirit Tarot - 3 - The Empress The World Spirit Tarot draws upon the historical imagery of the Rider-Waite and Thoth decks, but is enlivened by the beauty of multicultural diversity, innovative symbols, and richly colored linoleum-block prints. It is an exciting addition to the number of modern, multicultural decks. There are many things to like about this deck.

I love the birds and the serpents, the rich colors and the old world, lively artwork. I love the elements from the African-derived traditions, the European esoteric symbols, the sometimes gothic imagery. There is a sense of deep magic. These cards invite me to trust that ancient human knowledge, to find a precise intuition, and to step into the unseen with both innocence and wisdom. It offers a unique complexity, that draws us out and takes us in again.

Each of the cards is bordered by a deep color, determined by suit, and is laid upon a black background. This design takes us into the card. The study of images is immediate. These are, for the most part, strong images. Animals embrace people, roads or paths lead into forest groves, humans gaze with directness.

Symbolism is clear. There is no mistaking the meaning in these cards. The Magician is a vodounsis, a young man conducting a ritual, surrounded by food offerings, sacred drums, and veves (the sacred art of Vodou). The card isn't exact in its depiction of Vodou, but the image is still powerful, and it offers the meaning of the Magician, while also delving into the spirit of a non-white, non-European culture.

The World Spirit Tarot - Seeker of Cups Human faces in this deck may come from Asia, the Meditteranean, the Middle East. They are engaging and sincere. Men are sometimes bearded and white-haired, sometimes of large build, sometimes slight. Women are slim or abundant, all beautiful. This depiction is natural, it is real, and through the deck it is empowering. There are other tarot decks that are also inclusive, but the World Spirit Tarot somehow offers a great feeling of celebration and enjoyment. Larger women are not just shown in expected cards, like the Empress or the Universe. They appear throughout the deck. Body image is healthy and the images portray an equality of beauty of all.

The World Spirit Tarot is a traditional deck. It only veers from the traditional in the renaming of the court cards. These are Seer, Seeker, Sybil, and Sage. I like this change. It immediately implies a spiritual quest and an inherent wisdom.

The accompanying book is small, but insightful and thorough. There are spiritual interpretations as well as traditional divinatory meanings. A few spreads are offered, including the Seven-Card Spiral, adapted from a spread created by Susun Weed. The writing is clear and warm, the whole set very welcoming.

This is a fantastic, fun deck. I would highly recommend it, and feel it would be particularly enjoyed by young women and men. Also, the compact set (cards are full-size) can easily be carried in a purse or bag, and used for impromptu readings anywhere.

The World Spirit Tarot - Ace of Pentacles The World Spirit Tarot - 6 - The Lovers The World Spirit Tarot - Four of Wands

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Card artwork by Lauren O'Leary and Jessica Godino

All writing and photography © N Levine - Illumination Tarot, unless otherwise noted. 1999-2021