The Rumi Tarot Kit Cards – 1 Jun 2009
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About the Author
Nigel Jackson is a well-known artist and illustrator who lives in the UK. He specializes in the symbolism of Western esoteric tradition, the traditional tarot of fifteenth-century Italy, and the teachings of medieval-Renaissance astrological magicians.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Jackson includes within his package a guide to the tarot where he gives a brief but satisfying explanation of the Sufi religion, the life of Rumi, the Eastern origins of the tarot and individual pages devoted to the symbolism and possible enlightenment intended for each of the cards. His brief history taking the origins of tarot back to Korean shamans practicing a form of divination with arrows flagged with strips of silk and how through conquest and trade routes, the cards found themselves traveling the Silk Road into the Egypt of the sultans and onward to Western Europe, makes the slightly expensive cost of this package a bit more palatable.
Jackson tells us that the beliefs found embodied within the tarot are the teachings and qualities that were drummed into the king by his four master teachers: the first master teaches the magic and the worship of the gods. The second teaches him to always speak truth, the third master teaches him 'not to allow any pleasure to be lord over him,' and the fourth teaches him to be valiant, 'bold and fearless.' These virtues correspond directly to the virtues of wisdom/prudence (coins), justice (swords), temperance (cups) and fortitude (wands) each of which is representative of what the four suits teach as a foundation for spiritual and worldly well-being. The Major Arcana are based on the above virtues and are representative of the various states of man as he moves along his spiritual journey. His recourse regarding the tarot suits and their development into cups, swords, wands and coins is fascinating in itself and will surely act as a motivator, as would a look at his other tarot Fortuna's Wheel Esoteric Tarot, for any student of tarot or journeyman along the spiritual road to seek further information for more detailed study.
The deck itself is a masterpiece of original artwork by Nigel Jackson rendered in the style of medieval Persian miniatures in jewel tones of emerald, lapis lazuli and ruby. Edging in gold leaf would have completed this deck for me; the further embellishment would have added weight to each card and "gilded" Jackson's depictions like illuminated manuscripts of old. As they stand, the cards are nicely sized, easy to shuffle and manipulate. Each includes a quotation from Rumi which helps to portray the card as one of the 72 names of God (Shemhamphorasch). In particular, I love the Two of Swords, with its miniature of Pharaoh and Moses as aspects of the Self--Pharaoh representing the worldly, self-centered ego and Moses portraying the enlightened prophet. In the Rider-Waite deck, this card is usually symbolized by a woman wearing a blindfold with two crossed swords. The feel of the card is suggestive of being in the middle of two warring sides, resulting in inactivity or procrastination. How perfect is Jackson's miniature, picturing the two sides of Self, causing difficulty in decision-making and an overall dysfunction of the equilibrium? Appropriately, the corresponding name of God for this card is "peace."
There are no divine names associated with the Court cards. Jackson tells us that these cards reflect the "medieval world-conception" and are based on the Mamluk design from the fifteenth century which include flowery phrases and incorporate the hierarchy of the king, the vizier, the second viceroy and a pageboy. (The Rumi Deck uses the Queen instead of the Vizier and the Knight to represent the Second Viceroy.)
All in all this deck in its presentation--a boxed set which includes the over 300 page booklet that far surpasses any of the standard "white information booklets" and a black organza pouch to hold the cards once they are opened and utilized--can become an integral tool in the personal journey of discovering self. With his delicately rendered images, Jackson instructs the seeker that the Sufi beliefs that man is a microcosm of the universe, that all things are part of and reflect divinity, and that losing the ego allows union with the Divine perfectly coincides with the lessons that can be learned from the Tarot. This tarot is reminiscent of the rose of which Jackson speaks: it attracts with its beauty and unfolds countless sublime mysteries.
Bottom line? The Rumi Tarot by Nigel Jackson is the perfect amalgamation of Sufi beliefs, the poetry of Rumi and the self-discovery tool of the tarot. Truly beautiful with miniatures that remind one of the treasured art of Topkapi, this deck will surely please all lovers of the tarot. Jackson's erudite book will instruct on Sufism, Rumi and Tarot in short paragraphs that cram information inside your head in a fast and easy manner that feels like second nature. Wish the deck was edged in gold:) Recommended.
Diana Faillace Von Behren
There are many things to love about this deck, in fact. The colors are sumptuous, and the artist reportedly worked at scale. That is, the original paintings for the cards, done in tempera, are the same size as the cards themselves. This fact only becomes more amazing when you consider the Minors, done in miniature portrait style. I thought the small size of the Minors was going to be a bother, but upon working with them, I have not found that to be the case at all. The Minors are fully illustrated, rather than just being decorated pips, but do know the illustrations are miniscule in relation to the size of the card.
The good- the cardstock is thin and flexible, and lightly laminated, with gorgeous colors and stunning artwork. The backs are equally attractive, in my opinion, and it was obviously a labor of love to sift through the prolific works of Rumi to come up with appropriate matches to tarot symbolism. The gentle words of the poet sometimes hit home rather hard, and sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered. The accompanying Guide to the Rumi Tarot is very good for what it is, and I am so glad it was included. Most of the messages are very upbeat and positive, although there are some that just put it out there, too, which is good. I like to have a balance in my decks, because life is like that, the salty and the sweety combine to make the most flavorful palette.
The bad- Llewellyn packaging is redundant. Black organza bag, useless cardboard inner box. As much as I love Rumi, I do not care for keywords on my tarot cards, and I feel like the poetry on each card is akin to keywords, telling one how to interpret the card. I am having a great deal of trouble reconciling some of the court cards, in particular, to their poetry snippet. In addition, the gold borders on my cards are showing quite a bit of wear for only being used for a week, and I do not riffle shuffle.
I will definitely be holding onto this deck, but I do not see it becoming a main reading deck for me. I think it is beautiful, and I am likely to continue drawing single cards from it, but I am having a difficult time putting the poetry and images into a coherant reading format when an actual spread is used. This is user error, I am sure. *grin*
Each card has quotes from Rumi writings as wel as beautiful artwork depicting all suits. I've done a few readings and found it nice to work with!