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If you are interested in the rich stories and mythology of the orishas and are already familiar with tarot, the Orisha Tarot is a wonderful way to learn. One of the great benefits of tarot is that once you know the basic language, you have a kind of Rosetta stone for learning other things by using themed decks.

The art is fresh and lively and draws upon the layered symbolism of the orisha tradition. The book tells the stories, provides interpretations, and includes solutions to various situations represented by the cards. Let’s take a look at one of my favorites, Oshun as the Lovers card.


The king of a town wanted to wage war on the town of women. He asked his warriors to go and capture them. Shango, Babaluaiye, Ogun, and others all went and were turned back in defeat. The king then asked the female orisha to go. Yemaya said Oshun should go first, but Oya (being proud and fierce) insisted that she go first. Returning defeated Oshun was then sent. Being wise, she divined before going and was told to bring a calabash, a kind of gourd, she could play and sing along with. She made offerings and went singing about how she did not know how to fight. As she sang, the women in their town came to see what she was talking about. They put down their weapons and joined her in song. Together they all left the town of women. She walked them right into the city where the men were waiting outside. Together they all lived and became the followers of Oshun.


This is a card where we need to be clear about what we want. We cannot suppose that others know what we need or how to go about getting it. We cannot rely on traditional roles either. It may be that only through divination is the way forward known. It is also important to not fight. Confrontation won’t win the day when this card shows up.


Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...