The Wheel of Change Tarot Deck
1997 review by Michele Jackson,
creatrix and webmaster of "Michele's Tarot Pages"
I collect Tarot decks and my collection currently numbers a little over 200 decks, so it is not often that I get really excited about a new deck. I am very excited about this one. The Wheel of Change Tarot is the best combination of mythology, Neo-paganism and traditional Tarot that I have ever seen. Ten years in the making, this deck\book set is beautiful to look at, and has a well thought out and explained underlying structure.
The Major Arcana maintain the traditional Tarot deck names, but have no numbers. This is because the creator of this deck saw an underlying pattern that was different than the linear pattern we are used to. Artist/author/Priestess Alexandra Genetti started with the Tarot pattern described by Ouspensky in his booklet The Symbolism of the Tarot . Briefly, this pattern has The Fool in the center, with the 21 remaining Major Arcana Cards arranged around it in a triangle. This triangle is surrounded by a square which represents the Minor Arcana, one side for each suit. Genetti started with this pattern, but had an "ah ha" experience where she saw the Major Arcana arranged in the triangle in such a way as to tell the story of the Great Goddess. Her triangle places The Magician at the top and The Fool at the bottom. The Magician at the apex of the triangle represents the original creation from the womb of the Goddess. It represents her son. The next line of the triangle has The Lovers and Temperance, both cards of duality. This group of cards represents the relationship between opposites. The next line consists of The Star, The World and The Moon. These are the cosmic cards and Genetti sees these cards as the Goddess in her aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone. The next line contains The Sun, The Emperor, The Hanged Man and The Devil. Four is a number of completion and represents the seasons, the elements etc., but Genetti also sees this group as representing the story of the living and dying God. The next line consists of Judgment, Strength, The Empress, The High Priestess and Death. Genetti feels that this group describes the five ages of women. Judgement is the birth card, Strength represents the menarche and the beginning of fertility. The Empress is card of motherhood, fertility and abundance. The High Priestess, is wisdom - attributed to the Crone - and finally Death is the end of life. The remaining cards represent our life lessons: The Wheel of Fortune, The Hierophant, The Tower, The Chariot, The Hermit and Justice. At first glance it might seem that these cards were just left over and are not related, but Genetti divides them into two groups of three. Space constraints prevent me from providing a full explanation here, but the first three cards from this group, reflect the theme of a live not lived to its potential - a life unlived or wasted. The second group represents the experience of a valuable life. These six cards can also be divided into three groups of two, which represent the Christian virtues of faith ( Hierophant and Hermit), Hope (Justice and the Tower), and Charity (Wheel of Fortune and The Chariot). Again, space precludes a thorough explanation here, but Genetti's book does an excellent job of explaining this pattern.
Aside from her genius in discovering this underlying pattern, Alexandra is an accomplished artist. Her art is detailed, colorful and culturally inclusive. Myths from all cultures are incorporated into this deck and the accompanying book explains her use of symbolism. This well written book is the longest ever included in a deck\book set at close to 400 pages, but don't let that put you off. Genetti's art is very evocative and she recommends her book be used as an aid to interpretation, not as the authoritative source.
I could go on and on singing the praises of this deck. I have been using it for my daily readings since I got it at the International Tarot Conference in Chicago, Columbus Day weekend (1997). I also got to meet Alexandra and to see her presentation on how she developed her Major Arcana pattern. There have been some good Pagan oriented decks released during the past few years and I have discussed several in previous columns, but in my humble opinion, this deck is the best synthesis of traditional tarot and Neo-paganism to be released so far. Don't take my word for it. If you have access to the Internet, check this deck out on the Genetti's web site. The URL is: www.wheelofchange.com.
Do yourself a favor and check this deck out. Even if it is not what you are looking for, try laying your favorite deck out in the triangular pattern described above and experience the beauty of this pattern for yourself.
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