Sunday, January 6, 2013

Tarot of Pagan Cats

There are many "cat" theme decks out there and why not? Cats seem to have a air of mysticism about them. Their alluring eyes, the twitch of the tail, the long association with magic and as witches' "familiars".....
The Tarot of Pagan Cats is my current "go to" deck; the deck I LOVE to carry with me every day. This is the only "cat" theme deck that I have bought to date, although I have my eye on the Bohemian Cat Tarot as well as the "Cat's Eye" tarot, too. More the latter I think, as I love depictions of cats in their natural state.
This is such a charming deck. What better representative of paganism than cats? Following in the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition, the illustrations are colorful and rich in symbolism. Suits are wands, chalices, swords and pentacles. This deck is the brainchild of Wiccan High Priestess and prolific author on all things pagan, Dorothy Morrison. Like all decks produced by Lo Scarabeo, the card label is printed in several languages along the upper and lower borders. This is is distracting.

The Magician card in most decks includes representation of the four elements. This deck carries that idea through to over 20 of the other cards, including many in the minor arcana. Look closely at the 8 of Pentacles, the five of pentacles, the four of swords, the Hanged Man (cat hanging upside-down on living room curtains), the emperor, the 10 of swords, the eight of wands and many others. You will find the traditional pagan elemental correspodances of wand, cup, sword (or athame), and pentacle in all these cards and more! In addition to cards that picture the pagan or wiccan symbols of the suits, there are several cards that include the alchemical symbols of fire, earth, air and water.

The cat on the Temperance card is pouring water out of a fishbowl. But where, I asked myself, was the fire in the card? The cat is wearing a collar with a tag engraved with the alchemical symbol for fire. Then it struck me that the cat itself represents fire in this card. All the Kings are seated on emperor-style squares with animals engraved on the boxes that represent the element of the suit.

One card I am not fond of is Strength. It pictures a cat, draped in small green and red laurels, with its paw on the head of a VERY small chow dog. There is no way a dog, even if it were a puppy, could be smaller than this cat, so this card is not as well-done as the others in the deck.
Note alchemical elemental symbols on the cups in foreground.

There are so many cards in this deck that I absolutely LOVE, it is difficult to pick out just a few. Just look at that empress and her offspring. I find this deck to be very intuitive and simple to read.

Eight of Wands, a stone circle with the addition of a cup, pentacle and athame (sword)

Four of Cups

The fours, in numerological terms, relate to the four card of the major arcana, the Emperor. Fours are all about stability, foundation, and order. Cups are related to relationships and emotions. Four of cups therefore implies stability in a relationship, or emotional stability. The popular Waite-Smith drawing showing someone suffering from boredom or ennui paints a very narrow picture of the feel of this card.

Illuminated Tarot

Druidcraft Tarot

The four of cups in a reading might mean that you need to follow through with obligations or duties...for instance, your loved one may need your help in some way, or your boss may be depending on you. It could be telling you that your friend is true, or that your current love interest may make a good choice for a lifelong parter, or that your finances will be stable (neither riches nor poverty). It could indicate that parental responsibilities need to be a priority in your life. It's a reminder of the need for honor and duty to be maintained in your relationship. You may be tempted by someone or something that would draw you away from your current stable situation.

Llewellyn Tarot

The negative aspect may be that while your relationship is comfortable, you may be taken for granted or perhaps may feel stagnant or bored. Four of cups is actually an auspicious card that indicates a strong marriage, steady friendship or a stable home life. To the more adventurous, such ideas might seem a bit dull. If the four of cups greets you, you probably won't win the lottery, but your life may be blessed with peace, amity and tranquility. Not a bad card at all!
The Thoth tarot four of cups card demonstrates the deeper meaning.

Thoth Tarot