From time to time, I receive copies of tarot or oracle decks to review. As a tarot nerd, this delights me and this week, the postman brought me the Chakra Wisdom Tarot deck by Tori Hartman, published by Watkins Publishing on 14th May .
I’ve been a fan of Tori for quite a few years now and I’ve been watching her progress with the deck through Facebook. So I was quite chuffed to have a pre-release copy.
The thing I love about Watkins decks is the quality of the materials. The boxes are sturdy and the card stock is good. There’s nothing worse than getting a deck and after a few shuffles, the corners are peeling or the cards are bent. This isn’t the case with Watkins publishing.
If you own a copy of Tori’s Charkra Wisdom Oracle deck then you’ll immediately notice that there are no similarities between the artwork of the oracle and the tarot deck. The oracle was illustrated but the tarot cards are photo manipulation-magic. As a (somewhat, part-time, wannabe) artist myself, I love the possibilities that can be conjured up with digital art tools (I created my Sea Whispers Oracle digitally).
The artwork is very pretty – the characters on the cards, mainly all female (it’s a female orientated deck), are gorgeous. Instagram gorgeous. You won’t find the portly, happy dude of the Rider Waite Nine of Cups. Instead, you’ll find a long-haired redhead who wouldn’t look out of place on renaissance Vogue. I must admit to having a hard time connecting to the artwork because I can’t see myself in the cards. I see what I would have liked to have looked like 25-years ago (and didn’t). Anyhoo, let’s not dwell on that.
When you first open the Chakra Wisdom tarot deck, you’ll notice that the cards are in chakra colour order and not by suits. Out of the complete deck, there are 11 cards in each chakra and The World stands alone as encompassing all colours. Each chakra colour has two groups of minor arcana (for example all the Aces and all the Eights are in the root chakra) plus three major arcana cards.
In the little white book (which is really a not-so-little, non-white book), Tori mentions that she was curious about whether chakras could fit nicely into a tarot deck and found that they did. It’s an interesting concept and it’s obvious that time and attention has been put into the deck.
The LWB organises the minor arcana by colour, not by numerical order. Each card is given a title (for example the Eight of Cups is ‘the card of a new reality’), a description, chakra message, indication, keywords, reversed meaning, meditation and contemplation.
The major arcana follow the Fool’s Journey, which is taken by a female Fool. Each card has a summary of the journey, a chakra message, indication, keywords, reversed meaning, planet, meditation and next steps. Like I said, a lot of thought has been given to the deck.
I did get a bit confused with the LWB as the tarot deck combines traditional tarot reading with chakra manifesting. Manifesting wasn’t mentioned on the box or the back of the LWB. Surprise! I was left wondering is it a divinatory tool, a manifesting device or both? The chakra manifesting kind of felt out of alignment with the deck – it would probably be better, IMHO, to have chakra manifesting as a separate, stand-alone product or service.
You’ll also find four tarot spreads in the LWB. I really like the concept of the first spread in the book: centring yourself to read for others. This three-card spread looks at where you’re coming from energetically, which means you can get a quick overview of how your current energy could influence your interpretation for your querent. I also like that the card meaning in two of the spreads can change depending on whether the card is upright or reversed.
I took the cards for a spin and threw down three cards for a general life overview. The cards that came up – 8 of Swords, 8 of Pentacles and the 5 of Cups – reflected some inner stuff going on right now. Pretty good. I used the LWB rather than read intuitively partly because I’m not connecting with the artwork and partly because I wanted the author’s uptake on the cards.
If you’re an experienced tarot reader, you won’t have any trouble picking up the cards and reading with them without relying on the book (but that’s the case for most decks). If you’re familiar with the chakras then the card colours are useful to quickly gauge the flavour of the reading.
Overall, I missed the quirkiness of the Chakra Wisdom Oracle. The tarot deck felt a little sterile in comparison but having said that, it’s a good deck if you want something a little different, particularly if you want a deck for self-enquiry or self-reflection.