I have been looking forward to taking a look at 'The Sirian Starseed Tarot' by Patricia Cori since I heard about its imminent publication.
As someone who has thoroughly enjoyed her Sirian Seal and Starseed Awakening products, I felt we were in for something potentially exciting with this product.
On first opening The Sirian Starseed Tarot, you are exposed to the first Major Arcana card: STARSEED (originally THE FOOL). This card also appears on the lid of the deck's box as well as on the cover of the enclosed manual.
This is a departure from the traditional representation of THE FOOL as a young man accompanied by a dog snapping at his heels.
If nothing else, this card reveals that we are about to see some major changes in current Tarot thinking.
If this is going to be the order of things, it is time to sit back with a strong cup of coffee and prepare for something of a roller-coaster ride!
1) Minor Arcana
As you sift through the deck, it becomes apparent that The Sirian Starseed Tarot includes both cosmetic changes to standard use of symbolism and introduces fundamental modifications to core occult philosophy.
In the case of the Minor Arcana, the old element-based suits have been removed. In their place are Chalices, Orbs and Flames.
This is a radical departure from core Tarot theory and not one to be taken lightly for, as all students know, the standard suits reflect the core Alchemical basis that the Major Arcana are rooted in.
Is there any justification for such a radical departure?
Originally, I thought not.
But, after taking a couple of deep breaths and a little time to consider the implications of these changes, I found myself growing increasingly comfortable with them.
True, they are very challenging to the mind. At the same time though, they are very powerful and extremely liberating for their immediate effect is to fundamentally shift the whole resonance of the deck.
I actually physically experienced this effect. As I continued to work through the cards, the deck came alive in my hands. It was as if the presence of the Goddess herself was breathing life and energy into an old world, sweeping away the accumulated metaphysical dust of countless generations.
2) Major Arcana
Like the Minor Arcana, the Major Arcana has undergone a radical re-appraisal.
Apart from their symbolic imagery, which we will look at in greater detail in a minute, the most notable change to the cards of the Major Arcana are the new card titles.
Instead of the traditional use of 'titular' monikers, the Major Arcana cards have been substituted with keyword 'descriptors'.
For example, the Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess and The Empress have been substituted with Starseed, Indigo, Higher Self and Abundance.
Meanwhile, those 'dark forces' of the Tarot, The Devil, The Blasted Tower and the Hanged Man have been renamed The Shadow, The Tower and Hanging Man. That is not to say the meanings have been watered down, just that their function has now been placed into a broader context.
Nevertheless, this seemingly reckless act of tinkering with something so universally loved and venerated does tempt an old-time Tarot-pro, such as myself, to cry out accusations of heresy and blasphemy!
However, as I looked deeper into the reasons for these changes, I started to understand why they were made. These adaptations, some subtle and others less so, are initially quite perturbing. However, when you come to use the cards, they begin to make sense. By the end of my appraisal, I found the new titles more powerful and engaging than the ones they replaced!
3) The Court Cards
And next ... the Court cards or The People Keys as they are referred to in this deck.
Earlier, I remarked on the fact that the suits of the Minor Arcana cards have been changed from their original Medieval associations. It follows that the same suit changes had to be made to the Court Cards, but Patricia Cori takes this a step further, renaming their titles as well.
The four-level system has been maintained but the old hierarchical associations have been dispensed with. They now no longer refer to courtesan characters, Kings and Queens, but act as representations of varying levels of spiritual attainment. Instead of Pages, Knights, Queens and Kings, we now have The Seeker, The Adept, The Sage and the Master.
I immediately connected with these changes. They very cleverly align the Tarot with its core Magickal philosophy in a way that the old system never did with its skewed emphasis on regal authority and social prestige.
4) Cards' Symbols
As all students of the Tarot will be aware, it is the use of specific occult symbols within the cards that are so important in determining the spiritual integrity of a deck. Change the symbols and you can render the whole deck useless.
With The Sirian Starseed Tarot', we are forced to consider whether the old system of Tarot correspondences is still relevant or if we run the risk of becoming spiritually trapped by symbols that no longer serve a function.
In 'The Sirian Starseed Tarot, new, dramatically simplified symbolic and allegorical content has been used. Other than in some rare instances, such as The Chariot, The High Priestess and Strength, most of the cards of this Tarot deck are vast departures from those originally developed by the early twentieth-century Tarotists.
These changes mean that the cards contain less information than their traditional counterparts. However, from the context of a light-worker and someone who does not need complex and dramatic visual stimulus, I am sure that these changes will be welcomed.
5) Practical Use
OK. So that's the structure and the aesthetics of The Sirian Starseed Tarot, how do the cards perform in the field? Or perhaps I should say, 'on the table'?
First of all, given the size of these cards, this is not a deck that Tarot students will find easy to use in any practical setting. Handling it, especially shuffling, will be a big problem for the less-dexterous users, who, like myself, lack concert-pianist sized hands.
If the publishers needed to compromise practical card size (they are 102mm wide by 154mm high) over including all of the more subtle visual elements to the cards, they probably made the right decision in making them the size they have. These cards sure are beautiful ... but they sure are big!
Anyway, instead of trying to juggle a Tarot pack that is, in many ways, little short of the size of a small house brick, I opted to cut out the cards from a stacked deck one by one. This worked well, though it is not my favorite method for selecting cards.
In my approach to this Tarot reading, I tried to forget all of my years of experience with Tarot and attempted to cast the spread in the way that a newcomer to this particular deck might. So, using the adapted Celtic Cross spread which appears at the end of the deck's booklet, I set about consulting the cards on a very practical issue in my life: my professional work as a writer and publisher.
Despite my initial misgivings over card size, the Tarot spread was successful … for a first attempt. With recourse to the interpretations in the booklet, I found insightful answers to all of the questions I posed. I did find some of the cards' symbology a little out of the ordinary, but I am sure that, with a little more work (and regular sessions meditating with each card, which their size makes them eminently suitable for), I would expect to extract even deeper insights into a spread.
As a first try though, I was impressed with the results. However, at this point, I felt that the impression I received from my Tarot spread was that of a set of cards that were constrained by the application I had put them to.
The deeper elements in the Major Arcana in particular seemed a little incongruous when asking mundane questions. Rather than acting as tools of practical divination, it felt like their true function was to act as Stargate's (portals that lead into mystical states of higher consciousness, where human concerns hold no sway whatsoever!).
This is by no-means a criticism. It's just that, as I remarked earlier, 'The Sirian Starseed Tarot' (as its name implies) reaches out far beyond the rather limited and limiting concepts that were originally seeded into the heart of standard Tarot philosophy.
That's enough about the cards themselves for a moment. Instead, let us turn our attention to the accompanying 87-page booklet.
This publication is as carefully produced as the cards to which it refers and does an admirable job in covering the basic concepts to this Tarot deck.
In my earlier review of Patricia Cori's Sirian Seal (and by the way, the Sirian Seal makes a regular appearance in this Tarot deck), I remarked upon how beautifully written the accompanying book was. The same can be said of this one. Each card (except the court cards which could probably justify a book of their own) is individually interpreted within the context of Starseed philosophy.
Where the author feels that additional information is required to help the established Tarot students adjust to these new Tarot concepts, help and insight is offered. It is a good read and study of it is essential if you want to understand the basis the Tarot deck was created upon.
6) Card Imagery
Now we look at the most powerful aspect to 'The Sirian Starseed Tarot': the cards' appearance. The artwork on the majority of popular Tarot decks is created by a pen, pencil or the artist’s paintbrush.
The cards of this deck have been created differently.
They are what you might loosely call a product of modern graphic manipulation. They are part photographic, part computer-generated images.
Does this process result in a cold and lifeless set of cards?
Not a bit! The way that this graphic process has been used has resulted in a set of 78 Tarot cards that are staggering in their composition and artistic beauty. Any terminology that I employ here in this review to describe the way that these cards look will simply fail to do justice to their exquisite design so I will avoid the use of any hyperbole that might lead you to think that I have lost the plot.
Suffice it to say, from a visual standpoint, these cards kick ass! And I mean BIG TIME!
Herein lies the cards' real impact upon the Tarot card reader—not simply as rudimentary signposts to esoteric theory, as in the case of many Tarot decks, but as keys that act as windows into new vistas of Star consciousness. Wonderful examples of this in action are particularly notable in Arcana 17 THE STAR (Sirius), Arcana 0 STARSEED (the Sirian Ray) and Arcana 3 ABUNDANCE (Venus—a carrier of the Sirian Love-Wisdom dynamic). It is great to see so many Sirius-related symbols and ideas woven into this deck, which undoubtedly was part of the reason for creating it.
Our Review of 'The Sirian Starseed Tarot' by Patricia Cori
Patricia Cori describes the function of The Sirian Starseed Tarot as
…a tool for higher consciousness and soul awakening.
She is also on record as saying that she initially saw this project as a
…challenge of redesigning the Tarot into its rightful place as a new Starseed tool of awakening.
Given these are her motivations for challenging accepted Tarot principles, I feel that her goals were not only attained but surpassed. The way that exciting new Starseed concepts have been introduced to this Tarot deck has resulted in a radically different approach to core Tarot philosophy.
The emphasis that appears in most Tarot decks (apocalyptic circumstance initiated through the dogmatic imposition of power and authority by religious or hierarchal figures) has gone, replaced with a philosophy that is infinitely more self-empowering.
However, in my opinion, The Sirian Starseed Tarot is most creditable for breathing fresh life into an old divination system, but, more importantly, for acting as a tool that must surely speak more directly to a new generation of spiritual initiates.
In this regard, there is a very real possibility that this Tarot deck will become the manual of choice for Indigo Starseeds all over the world—a ground-plan for those highly evolved individuals currently being seeded onto this planet and who, through this Tarot deck, are being offered the opportunity to activate the crystalline patterns of coded energy forms that were seeded into their DNA at birth.
I am firmly of the belief that, with The Sirian Starseed Tarot, Patricia has given birth to something very special!