Psychic Kathleen

Confessions of a Psychic - the life of a psychic practicing off and online in Canada for more than 30 years.
Gaian Tarot Review

by Joanna Powell Colbert

I bought the original, self-published, Majors only Gaian tarot in 2005 just after it was first released. I was delighted with this treasure.  Feeling slightly frustrated that it wasn’t a full deck and was accompanied with a small book, I used the Majors to answer single questions typically posed after a full reading. This original self-published treasure has a permanent spot on my reading table.  It’s so beautiful!

There was a promise however, of a full deck in the making along with a complete text. Joanne, a generous and wise woman, launched a web site that did more than merely promise.  She posted her unfolding artistic renditions on her site as her work was progressing so her fans could be assured there would be a complete Gaian tarot one day available. The anticipation built over the following five years and undoubtedly there were many who, like myself, could hardly wait to hold and work with the complete set.

I favour decks which are inclusive in their characterization, mindful in the interpretative work, and complex in their artistry.  The Gaian is all that.  The Gaian Tarot is a compilation of intricate, miniature paintings expressing an exquisitely intelligent interpretation of the tarot’s meanings.  A celebration of creativity, nature and spirit, Joanna’s tarot set a new standard in Tarot creation.

A Conversation I Love to Have with Myself and the Tarot

I enthusiastically recommend this deck to all my Tarot students, many of whom have purchased a deck and were effusive in their praise and awe.  What we all noticed however, is that it became one of those treasures we brought out for our own use only.  I still rarely reach for this Tarot deck to do readings for others and honestly I have a difficult time explaining why that is so.  I do however, use it for my own readings and meditation.  It represents a conversation I love to have with myself and the Tarot.  Each card depicts such a complete story that it becomes somewhat complex to weave a full reading out of several cards.

What do I celebrate the most in this deck?  It would take more than a simple review to sing all my praises!  The Priestess with half her face depicted as a young woman and the other side the crone, is original and so apt that when I first beheld it, I wanted crow and cry all at once.  Finally someone had painted the High Priestess just as I would want to see her.  In fact Joanne’s appreciation for the ancient stories of the Goddess and Her connection to earth is celebrated throughout, hence the name the Gaian Tarot.

Although challenging to categorize this deck since it really does stand alone in its complexity, Joanna’s deep and spiritual love for the natural world, ancient rites, and family abound throughout.   Rich in stories and guidance, you’ll feel as though you’ve taken more than a simple course on the Tarot when you’ve fully absorbed the wisdom offered in this deck/book set. 

A Tarot Treasure that Will Prevail for Decades

Joanna has taken inspiring liberties in altering the names of many of the cards such as the Seeker for the Fool, The Builder for the Emperor (lovely!), and Lightening for the Tower.  She’s altered the names of the court cards to better reflect their essence and activity, such as, the Child for the Page, Explorer for the Knight, Guardians for Queens and Elders for Kings.  Staunchly adhering to her obviously high regard for the power of the feminine, uncompromising in her perspective as a naturalist, and love of the sacred, Joanne reflects all of these throughout this truly lovely body of work.  She’s worked hard to give us Tarotists a treasure that will prevail for decades.

I would be remiss in not acknowledging the plethora of riches offered in her accompanying text.  Alone, it is an impressive body of work.  I’ve read a lot of Tarot books over the years so rarely do I expect to read something new.  This book offered much more than a typical accompanying text for a deck!  Her descriptions of the cards (including Shadow Side, ways to deepen your understanding of the card, symbols used in the card), ideas for working with the cards, layouts, suggested affirmations and how to read the card when it turns up in a reading are included.  For example in the Builder (the Emperor), she describes him,

“The Builder is strong and comfortable in his own authority. Yet unlike most historic emperors, he does not destroy life for his own power or benefit. Inspired by the Green Man, the spirit of the wildwood whose face he has carved into the post, he works in harmony with nature and honors Mother Earth’s animals and resources.  The kestrel, a small falcon who hunts with speed, grace and precision, watches and waits as the Builder focuses on his task.”

Normally not so enamoured with the Emperor, I would like to know this Builder.  He would be a welcome guest in my home and as Joanne has pointed out, a true leader.

Joanna hasn’t simply thrown an amazing Tarot deck out into the world, years after its publication she continues to offer courses, workshops, lectures, ezines and all sorts of support to her faithful followers of this deck.   I am humbled by her dedication and inspired to work hard to do her deck justice.  Who knows?  I just might start sharing this lovely deck with clients and friends by doing readings that I’m sure will heal, uplift and provide just the right guidance, at the right moment.

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