|Chrysalis Tarot, Brooks and Sierra 2014|
The deck arrived yesterday. I opened the box and spilled the deck out into my hand (after wrangling the shrink wrap!), and I actually gasped at the beautiful card backs. I fanned the deck out in a semi-circle around myself (I sit cross-legged on the floor to examine a new deck -- no spiritual reason, it's just that I don't own a table!) and cooed over the card backs. They are really gorgeous, a vivid blue with a glowing lotus blossom on the centre, butterflies above and below, and the corners embellished with scroll work. Spirals everywhere. Take a look:
There's a lot going on just in the card back, all sorts of symbolism and imagery for you to play with, or not, as you choose.
Deck creator Toney Brooks mentioned to me that the cards can be a little stand-offish at first, except the courts (called 'the Troupe'), and so I spent some time last night and this morning sorting through the deck and examining the cards. Funnily enough, the cards I feel most resistant to are the courts! But you never know about a deck until you start reading with it, so we shall see how we end up getting along.
Just a word about the art. It is highly saturated in colour and detail, and I see influences of Chesca Potter, a bit of Linda Ravenscroft and even a touch here and there of Will Worthington. This is not to say that the deck is merely derivative. I would see it more as the artist having absorbed and been inspired by these other influences, and many more, and of course her own personal style as well. The artist is Holly Sierra and I love her work. She is far more to my taste than, say, Jasmine Becket-Griffith. But I digress.
Today's card is Ace of Spirals. In this deck, the names of suits have been changed, as have the pips. Sometimes this annoys me, sometimes it works. It depends on if the new pips make sense to me and thus I'm able to remember them. If I have to keep checking the book to remind myself what suit these 'really' are, then I get frustrated and pass the deck on to other, more tolerant folk. In Chrysalis Tarot, Spirals are Wands, Scrolls are Swords, Mirrors are Cups and Stones are Pentacles/Coins. I'm not entirely sure why deck creators feel the need to do this, but hey, it's their deck and more power to their elbow. Fortunately for me, the substitutions stick in my mind easily. I must also add that there doesn't seem to be a screamingly obvious elemental attribution in this deck. The Spirals are a sort of earthy colour, sepia, the Mirrors tend to watery blues, the Scrolls are a purply colour probably to associate them with the mind or third eye, and the Stones are all rather green. It's subtle, but there.
So, back to Ace of Spirals, or Ace of Wands. The card features a ram's head with spiral horns, framed by feathers. Around the ram's neck is a celtic design. For each card, the LWB provides a key word, and this card's key word is 'Energy'. It goes on to explain that the feathers represent accomplishments of the imagination, and the peacock feather is a sign of transformation. 'All aces represent seeds that much be nourished physically, emotionally and spiritually to reach full potential,' the LWB advises. This is an important point about aces. Drawing an ace doesn't mean you will feel a fire lit under you, propelling you onward. It means you must find the spark within you and kindle it.
And on that note, I should get my butt in gear and get my yoga done. See you tomorrow!