The Celestial Tarot by local Melbourne artist Kay Steventon and Brian Clark, is the newest addition to my collection – despite having been acquired in a fairly random way.
This deck is very different from my other decks – it is modern (not a hint of medieval imagery) and dominated by blue hues. At first glance the cards look alike, but one is quickly attracted to the depth of the images. The Celestial Tarot fuses astrology, astronomy, symbols, and myth, so it is not for for the faint-hearted or beginner. When I asked the deck about our relationship, I pulled out the 3 of Pentacles – a collaboration based on hard work.
The cards have blue borders with astrological rulers and constellations written on top, and the traditional tarot card names on the bottom. The back of the cards is stunning and reversible – stars on a mysterious blue background. The deck is populated with mythological figures, ranging from the well-known (Hydra and Mars) to the obscure (Bootes). A good knowledge of astrology and Greek myth sure helps, but the little white book provides a good basis.
The Major Arcana are symbolized by the twelve signs of the zodiac and the ten planets. The Chariot is represented by Hera and Heracles, and displays the most difficult task achieved by any individual – leaving the safety of a mother’s arms.The first nine cards of each suit are associated with constellations and the decanates of the three signs belonging to that suit. Card 10 represents the pure essence of the suit (Fire, Water, Earth, Air). The court card are also very interesting. Princesses (Pages) represent seasons, and Knights, Queens, and Kings represent the mutable, fixed and cardinal aspects of their suits.
Constellations are represented on the suit cards with heroes, gods, and animals. I am particularly fond of the animal cards – the 8 of Swords in Canis major, a large boxer dog that guards our feelings. The 7 of Swords is Lepus, and reminds us of the trickster nature of the hare, dashing in and out of our field of vision. Despite being so airy and filled with swirls of stars and constellations, the deck is grounded in nature imagery.
My favourite card at this stage is the 2 of Wands, Cetus. The little white booklet states: “In myth, monsters are guardians of treasure and symbolize what needs to be overcome in order to claim the wealth. […] The card reminds us that courage and heroism are necessary to move forwards”. This is a significant departure from the RWS image and rationale. The sea monster draws me in, and reminds me of the duality of life: stay with the status quo or slay my inner demons?
I feel this deck is ideal for readers wanting to deepen their understanding of timings and astrological correspondences. Knowledge of the deck, its symbols and mythology can be built slowly. The deck doesn’t display many groups of individuals and physical activities, so it may not be less appropriate for practical and financial matters. I recommend the Celestrial Tarot ideal for intuitive readers. I am already getting lost in the night skies and archetypal images, and the lack of practical details encourage the reader to look within themselves. To me, this is a deck of personal growth and spirituality, guiding the reader to further reflection.
Please stay tuned for more impressions on this deck as we build our relationship!