Stars, Sun and Moon

I did a reading for someone earlier this week, using a well-seasoned deck that I really enjoy, but don’t use often enough: the Jolanda Tarot, by Hans Arnold. The Jolanda is a deck that has a great deal of depth to it (it’s a reprint of the Swedish Witch Tarot, created by Jolanda Den Tredjes, who is a famous witch in Sweden). But what I really like about it is that it isn’t a straight clone of any of the ‘tarot schools’. It also has a youthful freshness about it that I really enjoy, but it doesn’t fall into the traps that so-called “young” decks sometimes do, which often results in them feeling a bit shallow. (Absolutely no offense intended for those of you who identify yourselves as “young”. What I mean to say is that many of the decks that try to slate themselves to the young person’s market often come up a bit short, or like they are trying just that little bit too hard.)

In any case, it’s a deck that feels like a young person with an old soul. It’s energetic, good looking, vibrant and unusual. When I first received my copy I found it a little difficult to read with. What to make of the strange gnomelike creatures, the oddly-placed animals, and the interesting (yet symbolically unique) human-animal hybrids? In the end I let it all go and just went with the flow – and wound up with some very lovely and insightful readings as a result. (Oh – and the artwork is fantastic. Simple but much more to my taste than the cartoony style of some of the Lo Scarabeo decks (Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn, I’m looking at you!) with large barbie doll breasted women dripping with water done in a really comic book style – and don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of comics and graphic novels. It just still feels out of place to me in a tarot deck.)

In any case, I was performing a reading for someone using this deck. I gave it another good shuffle and drew:

Jolanda

(O curse thee, crooked scanner image!)

I was really surprised by the cards I drew, and I confess there was a part of me that thought “just go ahead and re-shuffle and re-draw; they will never know.”

But that wasn’t true. For starters, I would know. And even though I occasionally think this when I get weird combinations, I never redraw. I never draw clarifiers.

Why not? Well, I truly believe that the cards I draw are the cards that the querant is meant to see. It doesn’t have to make sense to me, not at all. These cards are meant to be a message for the querant. And it’s up to me to present the message to them. So re-drawing a new set of cards, ignoring the initial message, doesn’t only feel dishonest, it feels amoral. And I’m not doing this to try and make myself look good – I do it because I genuinely love reading tarot, and working through unexpected messages is all part of the game. 🙂

Jolanda Tarot
By Hans Arnold (and Jolanda Den Tredjes)
Copyright © 2008 AGMüller
ISBN: 978-3-03819-322-7
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2 thoughts on “Stars, Sun and Moon

  1. I agree fully with you
    1 Lo Scarabeo should hire other artists for their decks
    2 I feel so bad when I redraw, I immediately pick the original card from the deck to work with. It feels like cheating 😀

    • I used to redraw when I was first learning tarot, but I’ve since realised that having to really tease out an interpretation from weird or difficult combinations made me a better reader… at least a more adventurous one!

      I feel terrible saying that (about the Lo Scarabeo art), because the artist(s) are so obviously talented. I just think it’s an odd style for something so esoteric. But then again, there are plenty of people out there who do love them!

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