The Wheel of Change Tarot
review by Denise Griffith
appeared in Sage Woman magazine #41, Spring 1998
As an on-again/off-again student of Tarot, part of my problem has been finding a deck that really clicked for me. I was recently lucky enough to be introduced to Alexandra Genetti's Wheel of Change deck which was released in November 1997. I've found my deck!
The 79 card deck (one card with the icon of the deck makes a good bookmark!) comes with a 383 page book written by Ms Genetti. This is a wonderful deck for pagan/Goddess-oriented folks who utilize the Tarot as a tool for personal transformation rather than "telling the future". "The goal of the Wheel of Change Tarot is to facilitate self-knowledge and sympathetic understanding of others and of the natural world of which we are a part. . .Each card holds a part of you and is a mirror of self and world. Your job is to find within the card your truth and creativity, so that you may function more completely in the world and facilitate trust, change, and growth in the world around you."*
This is not another Waite-ish theme version deck done in a particular artist's style. Ms Genetti returned to basics to develop her deck -- working with the fundamental associations to inspire fresh images which impart the symbolism to the user. The deck consists of the four traditional suits (disks, wands, cups, and swords) and Major Arcana. The pip cards (Ace-10) are devoid of human images (which I prefer). Court cards are Prince, Princess, Knight, and Queen. Her artistic style is reminiscent of the Motherpeace or Daughters of the Moon decks, but the depth and vivid colors she is able to tease from what appears to be a watercolor medium is phenomenal.
The book is a satisfying read, starting out with her philosophy about Tarot, giving descriptions and possible interpretations of the individual cards, and following up with techniques for use and readings. Ms Genetti introduces us to a key for working with the Major Arcana (The Tarot Tree) and the theory behind the Magic Triangle. She provides us with concise layouts and even gives a solitaire-type game to play with the Major Arcana to learn the Tarot Tree. You have to admire someone who is willing to put herself out in front first, as evidenced by the fact that her book has an Afterword section rather than Foreword.
I imagine that if the Rider-Waite and Motherpeace decks could have a baby, The Wheel of Change would be their Solstice child--well grounded in the past, but a strong, new individual. The imagery is very diverse, drawing on different cultural and geographical sources, as well as historic and present day symbols. Both genders and different ages are represented. Genetti takes us from an ancient Egyptian tomb to a modern laboratory. We spiral around the earth from Australia to the North Arctic Circle and out into the Universe. Her work reveals a philosophy which reflects concern for the environment, pleasure in diversity, and a reverence for the interconnected web of life. Genetti repeatedly introduces Goddess lore and themes sacred to those on a Nature-oriented path. For me, she fixes some of the problems I've had with other decks--for example, it bothers me when the High Priestess is young. I believe the title of High Priestess would come with time and experience, not just youthful aptitude. I want to climb into The Wheel's High Priestess card and sit with my head on this crone's knee.
The amount of detail that makes The Wheel's artwork so rich can be a bit small at times -- luckily, the book describes the cards very well. Absent from her book is a discussion of reversed meanings. After contacting Ms Genetti, she explained that she does not use reversals, expressing the opinion that there are plenty of possibilities with 78 cards. This position on reversals should have been at least mentioned in the book, considering the amount of discussion in Tarot communities spent on the subject of reversals. These are minor criticisms compared to the deck as a whole, and I rate The Wheel of Change as excellent.
It is difficult to describe something so visually abundant in written words. I invite you to check out The Wheel of Change deck. Ms Genetti has a good web page (wheelofchange.com) which includes both images and text for several of the cards. Also included is an essay on the structure and features of the Wheel of Change Tarot. I look forward to Alexandra Genetti's future contributions to the resources available to students of Tarot.
See you around the Universe. - Cygnet (Denise Griffith)
BACK to the Wheel of Change REVIEWS page