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The Universal Goddess Tarot
by Maria Caratti

English Version Versione Italiana

We would like to speak to you about our journey.
The journey of two women searching for other women.
A journey that led us across the milleniums
to breathe the fragrance of the most distant countries,
to admire enraptured the colors of ancient civilizations,
to live other lives.

We came across legendary witches, dangerous sorceresses,
seductive nymphs, invincible heroines,
and masters of creation and magic.

During our journey, however,we also met ordinary women,
daughters, wives and mothers
with the weakness, fears, dreams and hopes of us common mortals.

We got to know them and listened to their voices.
Voices of ancestral cousins,
of women who are our contemporaries and of our descending line.
Foreign voices that seemed familiar to us.
So many voices that they become one.

One voice that reveals what we were,
what we are and what we will be.

My "Tarot of the Goddesses" travel journal is full of memories, research, emotions, joys and difficulties which I'm pleased to share with those who are already familiar with this new Tarot deck, as well as with those who have not yet heard of it. This is how it came about…

The idea was conceived in the fall of 2004. The project I initially presented to Lo Scarabeo was entitled "The Ladies of Magic," which consisted of a deck of approximately forty cards. This was clearly a Wicca-inspired oracle focusing on the Divine and Feminine Magic. Piero Alligo (Lo Scarabeo's artistic director), rather, gave me a challenge: increase the number of cards and create a Tarot deck.

At first, matching 78 different Goddesses with 78 Tarot cards, rather than just with the Major Arcana (as done with a deck in the past, "The Goddess Tarot" by Kris Waldherr, and the more recent "Triple Goddess Tarot"), seemed an arduous (if not impossible) task. Thus began the lengthy and difficult research… exploring classical mythology and legends, folklore and tales far and wide to find the female divinities that best represented the traditional archetype of each card.

As I gradually proceeded with the research, I realized that the life of each Goddess, the character, personality, strengths and weaknesses of each one, narrated, through the centuries and continents, the history of the feminine character and life in general. Goddesses, yes -- but most of all, women. Women who were newborns and then became playful and carefree children, who grew into young girls and fell in love, then became thoughtful and loving mothers, finally filling the role of wise and discerning old women.

Birth, life, death. Beginning, journey, end. I had achieved and conquered the cyclic nature of the universal rhythms, the Tarot's essential principle, which became my guideline for creating the subject of the Tarot of the Goddesses.

The deck took shape on 13 May 2005, the day in which Riccardo Minetti (Lo Scarabeo's Editor) "officially" put me in contact with the extraordinary artist who created all of the illustrations of this deck. Yes, none other than: Antonella Platano.

"MagicaAntodalleManidOro" (this the nickname I affectionately gave her -- it translates to "MagicGoldHandsAnto") is a talented illustrator of comic strips who has created other magnificent decks published by Lo Scarabeo (including theWitchy Tarot, The Gay Tarot, and the Tarot of 78 Doors). I immediately felt an extraordinary affinity and complete mutual understanding with Antonella. A sort of mystic alchemy was established between us that transformed, as if by magic, ideas into images.

We decided, right from the start, that the Goddesses would have a "real and earthly" appearance, far from the evanescent and ethereal images with which they are often depicted. The Goddesses needed to relate the life of our dimension, material and tangible, so that every woman could identify with each of them.

We tried not to leave anything to chance: every detail was carefully evaluated, from the iconography of the Goddess to the card's setting, to the details of a jewel and the creases of a dress (and here, to give credit where credit is due, Antonella did a truly great job! She told me how she took entire days to understand and interpret as best as possible the ethos of each individual Goddess, including her clothing!).

Once the Goddess was identified, I closed my eyes and imagined the scene in my mind: the main figure, the background, the surroundings. I spent time in that image, trying to take in the essence, the emotions, the sensations. I identified with the woman I had before me. I perceived her joy, her pain. I spoke to her. I listened to her voice. Then I translated into word what I saw and experienced.

Thanks to Antonella, these words became images, drawn in black and white, the same images I had seen with my mind's eyes. The penciled images were then replaced by the splendid colorful cards you might already be familiar with.

Allow me just one piece of advice for those who will be using the Tarot of the Goddesses for divining: do not be in a hurry. Take the time necessary to become attuned with each woman. Listen attentively to the voice of the Goddesses. They will reveal the symbolism and meaning of each card. If the words they whisper are not enough, search for all of the information that can help you understand them better. There are a lot of books on the market (the same I used too!) that address each of them in depth.

The better you get to know them, the better you will be able to understand them. The better you understand them, the better you will be able to understand yourselves.

My journey and Antonella's has ended. But this is just where yours is about to begin.

Love,
Maria Caratti

INTERPRETATION OF A CARD: THE HIGH PRIESTESS &endash; ISIS

I am the guardian of occult knowledge and magic.
I am mystery, intuition and female consciousness.

The Myth

Isis is the universal Goddess worshiped in ancient Egypt under numerous names such as "The Lady of Ten Thousand Names," "Queen of Heaven," "Mother of the Gods," "The One Who is All." The most fascinating myth about her recounts the death of Osiris, her beloved husband, killed by his evil brother Seth, dismembered into various pieces and scattered across Egypt. Isis wanders a long time in search of the remains of her loved one, who she manages to bring back to life after thousands of adventures. With her magic, Isis makes Osiris immortal and with him has a son, Horus.

Isis and the High Priestess

The decision to use Isis for the High Priestess card was almost obligatory. No other Goddess, in fact, could have represented gentleness, fidelity, married love, feminine intuition, secrets, mysteries, divining and magic as well as Isis (she is also attributed, among other things, the secret of the rite of mummification).

The cult of Isis influenced pagan religions so much that the iconography of this Goddess can be found in the figures of many other godheads of distant civilizations and different periods. In Egypt alone, Isis is associated with the goddesses Hathor and Nut.

Isis is depicted seated on a throne with a solar disc on her head (symbol of cosmic divinity). At her shoulders is a pyramid (the temple, a sacred and occult place). Her hands are raised toward the sky in the sign of prayer, invocation, and at the same time, affirmation and command. Sirius, the brightest star, shines at the top of the pyramid.

The meaning

Upright card: The magic of Isis and the feminine divine are with you. The light of her star, Sirius, illuminates your heart and mind. You possess wisdom, intuition and the sixth sense necessary to evaluate situations and interpersonal relationships with clarity and lucidity. If the object of the consultation concerns a choice that must be made, be certain that the decision is the right one. The card can also indicate an older woman, a spiritual guide, an initiate to turn to for good advice.

Upside-down card: Isis denies you her support. The card, if upside-down, threatens superficiality, ignorance, deceit and mistaken insights. Inability to understand our inner self. Total lack of judgement, points of reference, equilibrium and harmony.

The Tarot Garden
Library

The Universal Goddess Tarot


A personal journey report from deck creator Maria Caratti


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