ABOUT SHEKHINAH'S TAROT DECK
Hi, welcome to the cavelet about Shekhinah's Tarot Deck. Here is where you can find out how it first got started, how it is constructed, and a little about its unique woman-centered approach. Also scroll on down to view six of these special cards.
"Shekhinah's Tarot" began as a project created by a womanspirit circle. Shekhinah facilitated some of our earliest circles back in the '70s when she was living in the woods and falling in love with Goddess and women. These were held in the Moonhut, a yurt beneath the trees in a redwood forest near the central coast of California. Each circle met for nine months, practicing magic, feminist process, and building sisterhood.
In most of these
groups a pact was created for the purpose of developing ethics for the new world
women envisioned. These were signed in menstrual blood at midnight, on
Hallowe'en, with serious intent and ritual. You can see the final version
The members of one group in particular, Lillith, decided, instead of writing a pact, to create a feminist tarot deck. (Back then none others had appeared, though Sally Gearhart and Susan Rennie were soon to publish their classic "A Feminist Tarot," which uses the traditional Waite patriarchal deck, but gives new interpretations.) Ethical material would be built into the cards, along with many new concepts and images.
Years and many changes later, three tarot decks emerged from the original project: "The Book of Aradia Tarot," by artist Djinni Van Slyke (self published on occasion), "The Daughters of the Moon" book and deck, by Ffiona Morgan, Djinni Van Slyke, Shekhinah Mountainwater, and a number of other artists (widely available), and the yet unpublished "Shekhinah's Tarot."
Many of the concepts and designs first created by Shekhinah are present in all three decks, such as: the round shape, the greater emphasis on fiery, watery, airy, earthy, and spirit elements, the move away from the old heirarchy of "Major and Minor Arcana" found in traditional decks, and the introduction of Maidens, Mothers, and Crones to replace the old "Court cards." There are concepts and designs created by all the original contributors present in all three decks. And, each has gone on to craft decks containing their own visions as well. "I call them sister decks," says Shekhinah. "There is room in my tarot universe for all of us, and for acknowledgement to all."
"Oceana, Mother of Water" from Shekhinah's Tarot,
"Shekhinah's Tarot" is based on a circular system, beginning with the roundness of each card. If represented as a grid of concentric circles, the image of the individual round card would be at the center. Surrounding it would be a circle representing the cards numbered one through ten from the four suits of fire, water, earth, and air. (Flames, Cups, Pentacles, and Blades.) Surrounding this circle would be a tripartite circle representing the Maidens, Mothers and Crones in their elements. (Fire Mother, Air Maiden, Water Crone, and so on.) Outside the MMC circle would be the circle representing the 21 Spirit Cards which replace the 22 Major Arcana cards of traditional decks. Finally, the outermost would be a circle representing the Five Elements, which encompass and permeate the entire deck.
The Spirit Cards are understood to represent energies and experiences that effect us on a soul level; rites of passage and initiations. The remaining four suits are considered to be about more mundane daily life phenomena. Blades (instead of Swords) represent mental and communicative experiences and the element of Air. Cups (Water) are about the emotions and subconscious levels. Flames (instead of Wands) are about action, energy, interaction, and will. Pentacles (Earth) are about the material plane, money, practicalities and matterful things. However there is not a solid division between suits in this deck, and all inform one another. An earthy experience can also be spiritual, a watery event (emotional) can have airy (mental) consequences, and so on.
The circular approach to the tarot is a central part of Shekhinah's thealagie and politics. This deck is meant to be a roadmap to a new consciousness, a non-linear woman-positive archetypal system that can lead to the creation of a peaceful world.
"Amatarazzu" (Japanese Sun
Shekhinah's Tarot is filled with Goddesses of many cultures and imbued with her love and devotion to all things female. There is one male card named for her son Frey who was named after the Norse God of Sunlight and Lifegiving Rain, consort and twin to Freya, Goddess of Love and Beauty. The deck depicts a reality that is passionate, sensual, magical, and woman-loving. Says Shekhinah: "I believe the Female is the Root Form of all creation, and the Male is a part of Her and emerges from Her. 'Men are women too,' I am fond of saying. Our loss of this understanding explains much of the tragedy of patriarchy... our regaining of it is crucial for universal healing." For more details on Shekhinah's take on gender and spirituality, come to the THEALAGIE Cave. Shekhinah gladly uses her deck to read for folks of every gender, and the cards work just fine for all.
"I couldn't draw at all when I began to make my cards," says Shekhinah. "But it was such a joyous experience that it didn't matter." Tarot art is not necessarily about technique and skill in drawing. It is more about a spiritual process of learning and deepening. While Shekhinah's drawings are childlike and unskilled, they have impact and charm. Many people are waiting for this deck to become available.
"Medicine Womon" the Crone of Earth
A few sample cards can now be seen here at Moonspell. Soon we hope to have the entire deck available for viewing in readings and for sale by download. Shekhinah is working on a book to go with the deck, to be made available in Goddess time...