Summary:The Yoga Tarot combines two powerful tools of self-discovery into one. This deck encourages a turning inward, a self-examination, and a questioning that may, for a while leave the reader with more questions. But then, eventually, the path will lead to truer answers to deeper, unanticipated questions. This deck is a gentle and surprising experience.
Review Yoga and Tarot are tools that, ideally, lead to balance and knowledge. This deck combines these two paths into one very interesting tool. Must one be knowledgeable about yoga to use this deck? Not really. Such knowledge will undoubtedly add to the experience. However, the deck and Little White Booklet together provide enough to springboard any user into a really powerful experience.
First, let’s discuss the structure of this deck. The Major Arcana are all named in the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith manner on the cards. In the booklet, we also see an association with yoga. For example, Dhyana (meditation) is the High Priestess, Karma is The Wheel of Fortune, and Pratyahara (the withdrawal of the senses) is the Hanged Man. All of these associations and the images connect very nicely and recognizably with the RWS Major Arcana cards.
The Minor Arcana has the suits and numbers of the RWS format, but the suits are named differently (Mandala, Vajra, Lotus Flower, and Trishula) and the images and meanings do not follow the common RWS meanings. Each suit illustrates a path of yoga. The suit of Pentacles (Mandalas) is Hatha Yoga. It is associated with the phrase "to live" and is a path of physical healing. The suit of Wands (Vajras) is Karma Yoga. It is associated with the phrase "to create" and is a path of freedom. The suit of Cups (Lotus Flowers) is Bahkti Yoga. It is associated with the phrase "to love," and is a path of connection with the Divine. The suit of Swords (Trishulas) is Raja Yoga. It is associated with the phrase "to be" and is a path of meditation.
Instead of trying to match yoga postures or tenets to the common RWS images and meanings, this deck uses the structure of the Minor Arcana to show the development of the practitioner along the various yoga traditions. Each suit is a progression; it makes sense. While some people may be uncomfortable with the deviation from what they are accustomed to, it might be worth the discomfort to experience this journey.
You'll really appreciate the guidance provided by the booklet, especially if you're not well versed in yoga. The booklet includes the usual keywords for divinatory purposes, but it also includes a short phrase that kind of turns on the light so that the image makes sense. Let’s look at the Cups as an example. It begins with the Ace, of course, and says "All experiences come from a single source." The three of Cups says that "the path of the heart has been traveled and the act of love becomes meditation." Other phrases in the Cups include: "Which emotions emerge from my past to confuse me?" and "Feelings that have nourished me up to now have become encumbrances that hold me back."
This deck is certainly an interesting study of the paths of yoga and of how Tarot can be used very effectively as a map of systems of belief. This is important because the RWS deck and its derivatives are essentially mapping out the same system of belief. This shows the Tarot’s beautiful flexibility (good pun, there, yes?) in mapping other systems.
The Yoga Tarot is also a challenging journey for the user. It asks questions of us that we may not be ready or able to answer. It may raise more questions. It suggests that the answers are less important than the process of questioning. This is not a comfortable assumption for most Western minds. At the same time, though, this deck has gentleness about it, an honoring of discomfort and limitations. It does, really, feel a lot like practicing yoga.
As a reading deck it works frighteningly well. Really. The "Four Energies" spread included in the booklet is quite nice. It is both self-reflective and practical. That is, you can use it to reflect on your state of being or you can use it to answer a question. Even though this deck is designed to encourage more questions, you'll be surprised at how it can lead to practical answers born of deeper reflection. Impressive.
Name of deck: The Yoga Tarot Publisher: Lo Scarabeo ISBN: 9780738713885 Artist’s name: Adriana Farina Name of accompanying booklet:Yoga Tarot Number of pages of booklet: 63, 14 in English Author of booklet: Massimiliano Filadoro Available in a boxed kit?: Yes, it includes a red velvet bag for the cards Reading Uses: general divination, spiritual readings Ethnic Focus: Indian Theme: Yoga Tarot, Divination Deck, Other: Tarot Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Somewhat Does it have extra cards?: No Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: No Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: Yes Pentacles = Mandalas Wands = Vajras Cups = Lotus Flowers Swords = Trishulas (tridents) Why was deck created?: To combine Yoga and Tarot, two different paths that lead to a profound knowledge of the self.
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