The Cosmic Tribe Tarot breathes new life into tarot imagery. Far to many decks seem to be pale imitations of things that have come before. Some decks try to draw us into the past or mythology but most simple repeat older designs without reflecting on their meaning in our modern world. The Cosmic Tribe Tarot seeks to restore the bond between spirituality and sexuality
Initially I was struck by the beauty, the movement, the startling images of the individual cards. I enjoyed looking at them and admired the time and thought that went into their creation but I put them away thinking they were striking but most likely unreadable. I was very wrong on that point; the deck is incredibly easy to read, meaning and insight seem to flow out of the images without strain. It is now the first deck I reach for when I'm reading for myself.
Cosmic Tribe Tarot is based on designs by Alister Crowley it is a refreshing departure from the Rider Waite design that has saturated the market. The pip cards are expressed not is storyboard scenes, which limit their possible interpretations, but in abstract designs that provide feeling of the mood of the card without forcing an explanation. The Wands are rowdy and energetic; they done in are deep reds and oranges, fire and a feeling of expansion dominate. The Swords run the gambit from light to disturbingly dark, they are done in cool blues and green; the swords are all sharp and their wielders fly among the clouds. The Cups have a dream like quality are depicted in deep blues; they are fluid, magical, and merfolk abound lending a fantasy feeling. The Disks are both somber and lighthearted and decorated with flowers, trees, gemstones and even mud. The court cards all express individual and unique personalities.
The Major Arcana cards are of course magnificent. The Magician is a more playful and less serious than he is in most decks, giving this card a slightly different twist. The Hanged Man is seen from below giving the impression that he is reaching for the reader. This Hermit is one of the most evocative cards in the deck. The Hermit stands at the doorway to the underworld with Cerebus, the three headed dog at his side holding his lantern aloft, casually, but he himself is the doorway showing us that the path lies within. The Tower is a tall construct of burning televisions. Of special note is the Lovers, the deck includes three separate variations of this card, one with two men, one with two women, and one with a man and a woman. The simple acknowledgement that different people have different romantic orientations puts this deck far above any other. The reader can choose from the three versions, or use all three and assign different meanings to them.
The deck uses nudity as one of its primary elements and as a key part of its design. Nudity should not be confused with eroticism. The nudity is artistic, tasteful and within the context of the cards. All genders and body types are portrayed. The use of live models serves to make the images personal. At first glance this would seem to take away from the archetypal imagery that one expects from a good deck of cards, however in use the fact that the images are personal provides more immediate meaning. The models are of all sizes and ages and all are extraordinarily beautiful, my only complaint, and it is a small one, is the lack of racial diversity among the models.
No collection of tarot decks would be complete with out the "Cosmic Tribe Tarot."