The Wheel of Change Tarot
Reviewed by Diane Conn Darling
featured in Pangaia Magazine #15, Spring 1998
I looked at Alexandra Genetti's Wheel of Change Tarot deck several ways: by suits, by numbers, and in the very interesting "Tarot Tree", a spread of the Greater Arcana which demonstrates compelling patterns of interconnection amongst the cards. Genetti offers a reasoned, magical discussion of these that provokes insight into the inner nature of the symbols.
As in the oldest decks, Wheel of Change deck has no human figures in the numbered cards. In these, Genetti cleverly utilizes perspective to bring the reader right into the card, as if we are personally sitting at the edge of the carpet, gazing through the piled offerings of food and fire to the fierce face of a strange Indonesian deity just beyond. Very engaging.
This card is Genetti's Seven of Cups. I compared it to the same card from my Hansen-Roberts deck and found they have very little in common other than that there are seven vessels on both. Genetti gives an interpretation of offering, reward, creative and destructive passions. Laura Clarson, in The Tarot Unveiled, calls the Hanson-Roberts card "Imagination" with attributes of confusion about choices and a leaning towards fantasy.
What is one to make of this considerable disparity of interpretation? I laid out a spread with the Wheel of Change deck, read it, then laid out the same cards from Hansen-Roberts and read them again. I found both readings concise, intelligent and not contradictory. However, each deck offered a rather different set of insights and patterns, both useful and hopeful.
All the older and many of the newer decks have interpretations for reversed cards, giving equal time to their shadow sides. I'm mistrustful of a deck or a system of interpretation that has no way to give a heads up about impending trouble. Alexandra Genetti's interpretations are upbeat and soothing, and no interpretations for reversed cards are offered. In other cases I might write off the deck as being hamstrung by the New Age, but Genetti's painted images are so exquisitely fascinating, even disturbing, so exotic and deeply familiar, that they trigger insights in the reader that are apt and useful.
"I wanted to create a new Tarot that was intellectually rigorous, yet consistent and straightforward. I wanted this new Tarot to express elements of the modern world of science and of our contemporary life, but also to relate to our history and evolution. I also knew that it should be traditional; it should keep to the ancient form as much as possible...."
Alexandra Genetti's fine Wheel of Change Tarot deck is often achingly beautiful to behold. Her symbols are well-chosen and her execution always good, sometimes great. Her book is warm and intelligent, itself a remarkable accomplishment of scholarship of the lore of Pagan folk worldwide and across time. For longtime classical readers, the Wheel of Change Tarot is stimulating and challenging.
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