Review: The Alchemical Visions Tarot

Review: The Alchemical Visions Tarot February 19, 2020

I am exhausted. Our dog hasn’t let us sleep past 3:00 a.m. at all this week. I’m a terrifying morning person. Once I’m awake, I can’t go back to sleep, as my mind starts zooming with all the things I need to do, the state of the world, and all the embarrassing things I said in the third grade. It’s ten to 5:00 a.m. as I write this. A nap, a nap, my kingdom for a nap. Feeling overwhelmed by the day ahead of me, I went to stare at my altar for a bit.

A few months ago, I received The Alchemical Visions Tarot by Arthur Taussig, PhD. My husband explored it first and loved it. As I read other books and messed with other decks, he asked me when I would give Alchemical Visions a try. I finally did this past week, while recording an upcoming episode of my podcast. Immediately, I understood its appeal.

You may find you’ll lose yourself in The Alchemical Visions Tarot, and then find yourself while you’re down there.

Creator Dr. Arthur Taussig describes the deck as “78 Keys to Unlock your Subconscious Mind.” It’s an apt description. Each of the cards is backed with images that could be culled from an old newspaper clipping or the visions in pre-sleep. The cards are large–it would be tough to do a riffle-shuffle. A standard Celtic-cross spread would likely take a whole table. Perhaps this is part of the plan. The deck needs more care to handle, more space to use, and more time to reflect. I’m sure it could help with a standard, “How is work going to fare for me this week?” kind of reading, but I suspect most readers will find this deck is best suited for the bigger questions in life: “Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What am I doing?”

Related content: Review: “The Witch’s Oracle,” 2nd Edition by Marla Brooks.

This morning, I went to my altar feeling frustrated. I wanted to call in sick to work, but knew I had too many deadlines to justify it. I haven’t been writing much this week. I’m deep into early spring-cleaning of closets, but far from done with it. All I want to do is sleep. I pulled out Alchemical Visions and asked: “What do I do with today?”

I received “The Moon.”

From the accompanying book: The two moon goddesses form a balance, not unlike what is happening behind the figure in the Justice card. While one Artemis oversees the bringing forth of positive forces from the depths, the other oversees the negative forces. We cannot tell them apart. The Moon is telling us that both are necessary for growth. The purpose of the card’s twin goddesses is to bring forth these forces in their proper proportions, in balance….As Jung said, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious (pgs. 45-46). 

As in many Tarot readings, the message isn’t fully clear. And that’s okay. What I immediately take from it is that the challenge of being sleepless and facing a heavy workload is multi-faceted. There are blessings in this challenge, and there are challenges in this blessing. I also take from it that like the moon, which is constantly changing, this period is temporary. My dog will eventually learn to sleep again. I’m sure I will too find a way. As one of my good friends said, everything is preparation for something else.

The Alchemical Visions Tarot: Highly Recommended

I’m a high-volume Tarot reader whose clientele usually asks for direction on regular lifey things: career, health, love. Most of my responses are direct, objective, focusing on the future. I love having this deck in my collection because it doesn’t focus just on where life is going, it explores why we might be going there. Like the rich images packing each card, it fills out the details of our experiences, when we might be going too fast to see them, otherwise.

The Alchemical Visions Tarot is available through Red Wheel/Weiser Books.

 

About
Courtney Weber is a Witch, author, Tarot adviser, and activist. She is the author of "The Morrigan: Celtic Goddess of Magick and Might", "Brigid: History, Mystery, and Magick of the Celtic Goddess", "Tarot for One: The Art of Reading for Yourself", and the forthcoming "Hekate: Goddess of Witches". She is a co-host of That Witch Life podcast. She has been featured in the New York Times, Maxim, Playboy, Huffington Post, Vice, and the Thom Hartmann Show. Visit her online at www.courtneyaweber.com. You can read more about the author here.

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