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The Universal Goddess Tarot

by Maria Caratti & Antonella Platano

The Universal Goddess Tarot
Price: $22.95

Number of cards in deck: 78

Measurements: 2.6 x 4.72 inches, or 66 x 120 mm.

Back of card: Divided into quarters. Each quarter has the same illustration, which are in two groups. The upper left / lower right pair are white/purple faces on dark blue, the upper right / lower left pair are gold/orange faces on a white background. Striking. May be inverted.

Booklet included: Yes, 64 pages, 2.6 x 4.74 inches, or 66 x 120 mm. Instructions in English, Italian, Spanish, French & German.

Publisher: Lo Scarabeo. Printed in Italy, imported by Llewellyn Worldwide.

Comments: I like themed decks, but I expect them to be, first & foremost, tarot decks. Some of the images on these cards relate to traditional tarot concepts. Many of them express the political idea that women exist in isolation from men, and that men are to be subservient or are not to be trusted (5 of Swords). Too many other cards are simply silly.

When I first saw the cards, I looked at the Magician & thought, that's Ceres. Not quite. It's Demeter. The booklet is useful in that it names all the goddesses shown on the cards. Both Ceres & Demeter relate to mothering, not magic. And while the process of becoming a mother is indeed magical, the magicians who create this condition among women are the males of the species. It's not that women cannot be magicians (of course they can!), but that, by definition, motherhood is not an example of female magic, in that females cannot produce it among themselves. This deck is full of such misunderstandings.

All court cards show females for all positions: Knave, Knight, Queen, King. The Queen of Pentacles is accepting an offering of a fattened, newborn male (short hair) from a submissive female subject. She looks as if she intends to eat it.

The towering figure on the Two of Swords has brought peace between warring men (this is Swords, remember). You could look at the expression on her face & say she did it with wisdom, but you could also look at the relative sizes & wonder if it wasn't an "or else!" sort of situation. She's the only one big enough to wield those swords.

The Hanged Man is bizarre. The man's struggle, the tree upon which he has been placed, are secondary to the female & her two cats. What is her role? She faces away, she looks to someone above her. Is she pleading for mercy? But no. Neither her hands, nor her posture, nor her expression, are ones of supplication. Puzzled, we go to the booklet, which reads:

XII. The Hanged Man. The wait & sacrifice of nine days and nine nights are the keys that open the doors of knowledge & wisdom. I am Frigg, Scandinavian goddess, wife of Odin.
Do the cats represent night & day? What represents nine? (The cats sure don't look dead to me.) What relation is there between a man suspended upside down - for nine days - and the acquisition of knowledge by his wife? Is this the price of the Encyclopaedia Britanica in Sweden?

The text for the Wheel, which I didn't have room for, reads:

X. The Wheel. I am Arianhod, Welsh goddess & lady of karma. Your destiny is my silver wheel that turns continuously, one moment in your favor, the next against you.
The card shows Vanna White, in flowing dress, standing in front of The Wheel of Fortune. Prizes for everyone!

The Five of Cups shows an abandoned, presumably homeless young mother. She has exhausted her five cups of formula & must now feed her two brats with her own milk. In one of the few places where symbolism means anything in this deck, the male (short hair) is nursing from her right teat, the female from the left. The text for this card identifies the woman as Latona, Roman goddess of exile. The text covers everything on the card, except the five empty cups. In the famous Rider deck, only three are empty. He still has two Cups of Life remaining. Not so on this card, where all hope has been lost. To reinforce the hoplessness, note there is no fruit in the trees for the mother to eat. The booklet says she is on a beach, which means the water is salt.

The Five of Wands is, of course, overt male-female sexuality. Note the position of the woman's arms & hands & the fire on her head. Turn it upside down & you have the female organ of generation.

As befits a deck full of females, designed by females, there are lot of nudes in this deck, except that there aren't. This deck is an example of the American form of strip-tease, with wisps of hair & scraps of cloth that securely cover all strategic areas. In the larger culture, I've always found this sort of thing vulgar. Nudity in the occult represents ultimate truth. That they're usually naked females - and the students usually young males - is to encourage the men to "lust after the truth", as it were. (Not that we ever paid the least attention to that!) Nudity also tells us that truth is fragile & must be protected. Further, the naked female form & the mysterious way it folds upon itself, warns the male that truth, like females, will never quite be fully understood. By contrast, little wisps of this & that, things cleverly concealed, are examples of deceit. In a deck such as this, it represents females competing with each other, to lead the males to their prearranged fates. It may be that many goddesses have succumbed to such mortal temptations, but why would such petty matters be worthy of a deck?

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Tarot Home Tarot Decks Tarot Books Astrology Home E-Mail: Dave

Established 1993, The Astrology Center of America is owned & operated by David Roell. Except where noted, this entire site (AstroAmerica.com) & its contents are Copyright © 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 by William R. Roell. All rights reserved. Tarot card images are Copyright © by the copyright holder (generally the publisher).