Tarot for the 21st Century!
The Ancestral Path deck (Julie Cuccia-Watts) is a multi-cultural deck that incorporates many Native American images and beliefs. Do you have this deck, and do you read with this deck? What is your overall opinion of how this deck speaks to you when doing a reading? What is the connection you feel to this deck?
Another beautiful Native American deck is the Native American Tarot, by Laura Tuan, and artwork by Sergio Tisselli. This deck is one of very non-traditional images (meaning non-RW), and beautifully illustrated. Do you read with this deck, and how does it speak to you?
I do have the Native American deck, and though I love the artwork and booklet, being a RW traditionalist, I found it hard to connect with the images. The images in my opinion are very "busy", but are full of detail. I purchased this deck a while back, opened it, looked at it, then placed it back in the box and put it on my shelf. I guess I am waiting for the cards to call to me.
I will have to check out the Ancestral Path deck, I do not believe I looked at that one yet.
I was using The Vision Quest deck by Gayan Winter and Jo Dose for a while, the images are very plain, but the booklet is full of depth and meaning, another RW clone, but it spoke to me more.
One other deck that may intrest people is the Shaman Deck by by Lo Scarabeo, like the Native American deck, it too is filled with beautiful images, though getting used to the names of the Suites takes a little retraining. It is a deck the incorporates South American Shamanistic feelings mixed with modren illustrations.
I am still looking for the right Native American deck for me...I just do not think that it has been made yet. So I just use my all-time favorite deck, The Wizard Tarot by Corrine Kenner. Love the CGG art work.
Something we have to keep in mind is to be respectful regarding cultural appropriation. Who created the so called native deck/book/tool etc. that we may be thinking of using. Was it created by a Native American with approval of their spiritual elders? If there is one thing Native Americans hate its "new agers" using pseudo native spirituality cooked up by non natives. Appropriation of Native American philosophies/imagery/practices into a non native tool/art/business is less than ethical, especially if it makes money that isn't redirected into Native American communities.
Over a decade ago I was doing a photo shoot of artworks by artists represented by a gallery I worked for. One of the artists was designing a deck of tarot cards. One of the cards was appropriating the use of Hopi spiritual icons in an inappropriate manner. I told her I would not allow that image to represent the gallery as I well knew that the use of that archetype in this particular setting would never be approved by Hopi spiritual leaders. She got angry and told me, "you people had better start sharing your knowledge with us or we're just going to take it..." Please try to understand how a "white" telling an "indian" that if you don't give me something of yours that I want I will just "take it from you" is very very very offensive...
I will tell you that Tarot cards or other forms of oracle cards are not a Native American tradition. Nor am I aware of any Native American group that uses runes (although there could very well be some that I'm not familiar with and I vaguely remember hearing about a coastal group that used shells). Most Native American shaman use dreams, visions and the stars for divination. Some tribes use crystals for healing but its not a common practice over all. Animism is prevalent but it is not the naive primitive philosophy described by anthropologists...
These issues are why I don't purchase "native" cards, books or art unless its been recommended by a Native spiritual leader (i do have questionable cards [that I don't use] and books that were gifted to me as well native approved books). To me anything not Native approved lacks credibility and makes the user appear to be a less than believable. I am well aware that many kind hearted, naive and well intentioned followers of a spiritual path are unaware of these sensitive cultural issues as publishers/sellers of these products don't want buyers to be aware of their less than ethical duping of us very trusting spiritual travelers...its up to us to research and make sure that the path/tools/books/practices we take up are accurate and inoffensive to the groups we seek to learn from lest we inadvertently impede our own growth!
A very beautiful, respectful and appropriate shamanic deck that uses multicultural idealogies is the Motherpeace deck. I find the size and round shape too difficult to handle for reading. But I love to study and meditate on the cards themselves.
Patti, I respect where you are coming from with your comments above. However, it was not my intent to say that the decks I mentioned were Native American, by Native Americans. They are no more that, than Pagan Cats being by pagan cats, or cards with images based on the Christian religion being drawn or published only by Christians. They are decks that incorporate Native American images, as well as images from other cultures. One does not have to be a blood Native American to appreciate and understand their culture and beliefs, or to admire their art, or understand their respect for the natural world. I do not believe the persons drawing these decks ever intended to disrespect the Native American people.
All the artwork and Native American collectibles in my home actually came from powwows, which do not allow anyone without NA blood to exhibit or sell their crafts through the powwow. I have a deep respect for the people, and for their beliefs.
I, too, have the Motherpiece deck, and it is not based entirely on NA images, nor is it drawn, or published for the benefit of the NA people. So, what is the difference between this deck and the ones mentioned above? Even the Shapeshifter Tarot is based somewhat on NA belief of shapeshifting.
I believe there is room for all subjects, and all varieties of images for tarot decks. That is part of what makes tarot so diverse and interesting to all people. We each have different likes and dislikes, and we all share the same love for tarot.
The decks mentioned were not the first to incorporate NA designs or philosophy, and probably won't be the last. They should all be appreciated for their art, and their message, regardless of the ethnicity of the author.
I defend what I wrote. I also I do appreciate and respect your opinion, as well as that of anyone wishing to comment, and hope that this group will lead to many more discussions such as this one.
Looking through my decks that I mentioned above, each one states they are Native American inspired, which means they use Native American subject matter without claiming they, the artist or designers, as being Native American.
All Tarotist know that Native Americans do not use Tarot, nor have they ever. Choosing to use a Native American inspired deck by a non Native American, in my belief, only shows respect, a desire to learn from the Native Americans, and love of the Native American Spirituality, something that the Native Americans always wished that the "White man" could understand, and learn to love as much as they do.
Choosing to follow the Spiritual Path of the Native Americans, is like the English, Welsh, German, Russian, or Irish wanting to follow Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, or Taosim. In most cases one follows the Spiritual Path one is drawn to, this in most cases is based on the souls need for connection with a Spiritual teaching that it lacks or perhaps a need to reconnect with it's reincarnated past.
Yes, "New Agers" have had a reputation that isn't the greatest, most being crafty business people looking to exploit various religions, and not just Native American Spirituality, to make a quick buck, but there are those true students of Spirituality that respect and are eager to learn and follow a Path that speaks to their hearts.
I was drawn to Native American Spirituality, when the High Priestess at our Temple first presented lessons on the Cherokee Medicine Wheel, handed down to her from the Cherokee Spiritual Leaders, my current Path embraces teachings from the Cherokee, Oglala, Chippewa, Peruvian, and Hopi Tribes...not out of vanity, but because I have been drawn to this Path because my Soul has led me here.
Each day as I learn and practice more on my Spiritual Path I find something more beautiful and wonderful then the day before.
David, you have expressed my thoughts much better than I have! Your spiritual path is also much deeper than mine, but I do feel the same way. I came into my own beliefs and those I wish to follow very late in life, but I am now my own person. It took many years for me to realize what I always knew as a child--that I was drawn to the Native American way of looking at life, and all that is in the world--respecting the land, the water, the sea, the air, and the animals. Thank you for clarifying my thoughts on the decks. I know you will continue to follow your spiritual path, and we both will find something more beautiful to cherish and love and respect, each day.