For those who do not know, Raven Grimassi has been providing the pagan community with books on hereditary witchcraft, Italian witchcraft and Wicca for many years. Stephanie Taylor is a Third Degree Initiate in both the Italian Witchcraft Tradition and the Celtic Wiccan Tradition.
They have paired together to present us with a deck that reflects the mysteries specifically of witchcraft and Wicca.
The deck is comprised of 40 cards that do use witchcraft and Wiccan symbols, derived mostly from the European traditions. Images of cauldrons, wands, athame, pentagrams, the four elements, Summerland and more are, as I see them, derived from Wicca and witchcraft more than any other cultural or spiritual path. There are elements that are specifically Wiccan in nature, such as the Rede and the Wheel of the Year. But it does not detract from the nature of the deck. It was designed specifically with this in mind, and the images fall right into the intended place.
The imagery is illuminated by the very talented artist Mickie Mueller. Her figures are lifelike, and her impression of the Crescent-Crowned Goddess and Initiation (portraits of Grimassi and Taylor) are typical examples of her style. Very stylishly executed, and a she is a good choice as illustrator for this deck.
This is not a tarot deck. Its use would be similar to a tarot deck; to seek inner counsel regarding your own personal path or to be used to illuminate the personal path of someone you would read for. The accompanying book gives you insights into the use of the deck and interpretations.
After the introduction of the book, a discussion on the theme of the deck and a general overview on the use of the deck, the authors go into Divination Spreads for use with this deck. The cards are then examined one by one. Each card has a "Meaning", "Teaching" and an "Alignment". The cards are also illustrated in a black and white format. The "Meaning" is obvious; it is an interpretation of the card by the authors explaining their idea and intent for the card. The "Teaching" is a deeper examination of the card itself, going into symbols, design and background and other associations. The "Alignment" is alternative meanings found via a meditation you do on the card to find the cards connection to yourself.
The idea is original. Rather than trying to find meaning in the Qabala associations of the tarot that could carry over to the practitioner of witchcraft or Wicca, the deck speaks directly to those practitioners.
But it does fill a niche here, and it does it well. As I read through the meanings and teachings, I found the deck to be very positive, well developed and intriguing enough to actually work with it. And I was pleased with the readings I had. I would also consider using this deck for some of my clients, especially those who are new to the Wiccan path. There is a learning curve here, but if you are a practicing Wiccan, the cards speak for themselves very clearly. A little practice will yield some good results.
Overall, this is a lovely deck, original in content and purpose, well designed and the accompanying book clearly lays out the uses and meanings so anyone can pick up this deck and use it. It is a nice addition to the fine art of divination that speaks to a particular spiritual path. boudica