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The Cathar Tarot: The Secret Wisdom of the Perfecti Cards – December 20, 2016
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About the Author
John Matthews is the New York Times bestselling author of several successful divinatory systems based on early spiritual beliefs - including the best selling Arthurian Tarot (with Caitlin Matthews), The Wildwood Tarot (with Mark Ryan) and the recent Byzantine Tarot (with Cilla Conway). He is widely known as the author of books on the Grail and Arthurian legends.
Wil Kinghan is a writer, artist and explorer of the Celtic traditions. He studied Archeology at University College Dublin and Environmental Design at NCAD before working in advertising and commercial television. His successful partnership with John Matthews has included The Lost Tarot of Nostradamus, The Oracle of John Dee and The Steampunk Tarot.
Top customer reviews
The deck and book are housed in a hard, sturdy box that opens drawer-style. There is small, blue ribbon loop that acts as a handle to allow you to easily remove the “drawer”. The box is satin finish with gold foil on the stars and subtitle. These touches make it feel like you are getting something special and magical! The book is also satin finish and includes color pictures of each of the cards. For me, the color pictures add so much value to the book, because it’s easier for me to study the card as I read about the meaning. The cards are nice thick card-stock, with vividly colored, sharp, detailed images and a shiny finish. The deck measures 4 1/2” x 3”, and because the card-stock is heavy, the stack measures just shy of 1 1/2” high. I have small hands and I thought I wouldn’t be able to shuffle the deck, but I can shuffle it pretty easily. Every single card is illustrated with a unique artwork, instead of just the major arcana like some decks; again, for me, that is another mark of care and quality.
Now I’ll describe the book and the deck. I was really interested when I saw that there was going to be a tarot based on Cathar teachings. I know very little about the Cathars, and I didn’t need advance knowledge in order to fully enjoy this deck and book set.
Wil Kinghan’s artwork has a medieval feel that sets a certain tone for the deck. The images are very brightly colored and also have a sort of cracked texture, as if they are frescos that have been painted on walls long ago. I found that as I looked through the deck, I reacted to the artwork with emotion as well as intellect. The card backs are a dark gold color and feature the Cathar seal which is an equal-armed cross.
The guidebook by John Matthews provides an introduction to the Cathar people, and leads the way for the reader to comprehend basic Cathar principles through the use of the tarot. To greatly paraphrase, this tarot overlays the Cathar beliefs and archetypes onto the corresponding standard tarot ones in order to add another layer of understanding to a reading. The suits as well as the cards themselves have been changed to Cathar-based ones.
The cards are individually described. Each of the major arcana cards begin with a phrase that summarizes the basic meaning. Next, the Cathar teaching that is expressed by the card is explained, followed by the divinatory meaning for both upright and reversed cards. The beautiful color rendering of the artwork for the card is slightly larger than the card itself. I love this feature! The minor arcana cards are individually described with small color illustrations as well.
There are instructions for three spreads included and I found one to be refreshingly unique. There is a helpful chart in the back that lists the traditional tarot card archetypes and the corresponding Cathar ones. In summary, the book contains everything needed in order to fully appreciate the deck. I can say that I am having a new experience with the Cathar Tarot.
p.s. I received this advance print in exchange for my review. It didn't change my opinion at all. These are my true feelings about the set.
I love to collect Tarot decks, and aesthetically this is a beautiful deck. I would not recommend it as a beginner's deck because it is so differently labelled to the traditional system. But I am very happy to have it in my collection. Although I'm a Pagan, I love the Middle Ages and the artwork of the time - a style that has been used in this deck. And I really loved learning a little bit about Cathar beliefs; I'm sure I would've joined this group if I lived in France around the Thirteenth Century. The Cathars had very progressive ideas, and I think the authors of this Tarot did a great job of presenting those ideas to a modern audience. Very nice tool for exploring the Fool's Journey.
It is a very clear reader and I love the way the tarot system has been adapted for the Cathar tradition. It takes a while to get used to the new suits of the Minor Arcana and the re-named Major Arcana, but the messages are very clear - the pictures are also very evocative and beautifully illustrated. This deck is also so affordable considering how thick and sturdy the cardstock is, and how beautiful the art is. Just A+ all around, I'm so so happy I bought this beautiful, wise deck.