Navigators Tarot of the Mystic SEA

Illustrated and written by Julia A. Turk
Book and Deck Set ISBN1-57281-023-8
A review by Lady Lorelei, CTR

When I saw the 3 of pentacles with the person looking intently into the computer screen, one hand on the keyboard, the other on a book; straight back chair, card table for a desk, books strewn across the floor; I had to buy the deck. The image was so accurate and compelling of modern life, skilled labor, telecommuting, the home office, etc. And that's what I find most important in a tarot deck: real life images and symbols. The images must be something I can read or see. They must be of symbols that have meaning for me. I study and use the Smith Waite deck, but I've never seen a Page in real life. Is a court page something like a White House intern?

The deck is 78 cards arranged in the traditional 4 suit, pip, court, and trump fashion. Turk's commentary provides a new innovative approach to the Tree of Life meanings of the Hermetic Cabala. This may offend traditionalists, but those who question and challenge in the name of the search for truth will rejoice at Turk's well reasoned and explained approach. The pip cards are colored in correspondence with the 10 spheres and each has a list of associated colors, metals, stones, words, etc.; making each card's illustration rich with meaning and reference.

Likewise, the court card illustrations are nicely organized and packed with symbology from the height of a page's boots or the queens' magical weapons to the breed of a knight's horse or the kings' headresses.

In the Navigators Tarot a great many position changes have been made in the Major Arcana cards to tie in more closely with the current philosophies of individuation. Part IV is a chapter explaining these changes to the trumps' positions in the Tree of Life, and the reasoning behind them in great and elegant detail. As for the trumps themselves, Turk has made a few changes; Universe rather than World, Suspension, rather than Hanged Man, Destiny rather than Justice, and Art and Aeon without a correspondence to the Temperance and Judgement they replace.

The book is a definitive modern treatise on the tarot, but I was most impressed with the rich symbolism on each individual card. The rainbow linking the microwave communication dishes of the future to the fighting dinosaurs of the past on Fortune, the two man crew rowing across the river on Lovers, the array of battleships on the sea of history as unrolled by the Arch Priestess; are all modern images that mean a great deal to me and thus can reveal much in a reading. However, my favorite has got to be Suspension taking the place of the Hanged Man. He has tied one foot to a bar so that he can hold himself under water and reach the pearl offered by sea horses. This is the point behind the Hanged Man's sacrifice. Others see only that he is upside down or twisted inside out, when actually, he has gained a great pearl of wisdom and experience that can be gotten in no other way. If you are looking for a deck with a modern, real-world take on traditional tarot, this is the one.

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© Lady Lorelei 2000