Psychic Kathleen

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

By Julie Cuccia-Watts

When I read that Julie Cuccia-Watts had created a new deck and book set rooted in Egyptian history, culture and lore, I promptly surfed over to her web site to order a set.  I have been a fan of Julie’s Tarot sets for years and felt confident this recent production wouldn’t disappoint me. Indeed it didn’t.

The cards in the deck are larger than average; colourful, well coated and sturdy.  This deck is constructed in a similar architecture to her MAAT tarot.  Built to last many shuffles and readings. There is no border (also typical of Julie’s product design which I love) making them look like a lovely and substantial pile of mysterious, perfect little paintings. Even the painting she did for the back of the cards is detailed, exquisite, rich in symbolism and well…perfect! They are quite simply beautiful to behold.

The Guide book however is where I really felt the love.  Rich with stories, personal reflections shared from her own journeys to Egypt and historical/geographical lessons, this book is a must read for novice and experienced Tarotist alike.  Julie is never shy about referencing magic, mystery and the esoteric realm in her Tarot projects.  The combination of mysticism with enthralling mythic stories and a myriad of historical, documented facts, is a delicious elixir for mind and spirit.  This is a book I will read several times knowing I’ll always grasp something previously overlooked.

Organizing the Tarot with New Structure

So characteristic of this hard working artist/author, she has planted astrology and Tarot interpretation on a different foundation: One that grounds our present understanding of western astrology in Egypt.  Most cavalierly, she’s mixed up the typical elemental and directional associations of the Tarot: for example, Swords are fire from the west, Wands are air in the east, Cups are water in the south and Coins are earth in the north.  She organizes the Tarot according to this new structure and orders them according to the phases of the moon. Despite turning the traditional interpretation on its head, it makes perfect sense in the context of the Egyptian world view which is where she begins the story with the World card.  I’m not an astrologer by profession, but like most Tarotists, I have more knowledge of astrology than the average person.  Julie however, is an astrologer virtuoso so if astrology is your other love with the Tarot, you will appreciate the astrological complexities explored in this Egyptian Tarot.

In most of her card interpretations, Julie has boldly altered the meaning or at the very least shifted the focus.  For example, she describes the 4 Swords, “Traditionally this tarot card means rest, getting rest. It can also relate to a war memorial.  In The Journey into Egypt Tarot, this card suggests germination and rejuvenation; planting seeds, mourning their loss to the earth, and watching as they return from the dead.”   Keeping in mind that Swords in this deck are fire, not air, her definition makes you think about this card from a very different perspective.

There are other card meanings that are so different from the way I’ve been interpreting the card, I really had to ponder Julie’s methodology; such as, in her description of the 3 of Wands,

“The 3 of Wands in an adventure into unknown territory using new technology; it is the discovery of new ideas.  This card says “your ship has finally come in” and what you have been waiting for has finally arrived.  Because this is a card of air, inspiration, and seeing things from a new perspective, you are likely to be coming into new ideas rather than making monetary gains.  Put the past behind and move boldly into the future; it is coming home to yourself.” 

If we consider the 3 of air (normally a sword) then this represents the mourning card and if we consider the classic meaning of the 3 wands as waiting for your ship to bring home the goods, how do we make the leap to putting the past behind and coming home to yourself? The answer lies in her accompanying Egyptian story of Hatshepsut’s ships returning from the “mysterious land of Punt” that we are able to glean the rationale for this new and delightful interpretation.

Court Cards Really Shine

Her stories about the characters depicted in her court cards are helpful memory keys.  Most novice Tarotists struggle with court card interpretations and this is where The Journey to Egypt Tarot especially shines.  The stories and descriptions of the characters depicted in the court cards will help you recognize and interpret the meaning of these mysterious cards.  I especially appreciated her description of the Prince of Wands (not typically one of my favourites fellows!),

“This card represents a man who has had some lucky breaks; he may have cheated death and has had a great deal of help along the way.  This is a man who is not afraid to reinvent himself; he is a prolific writer and reader; he has a hard time shutting his mind off; he needs little sleep.  He is a teacher, a community leader, strong willed; he is defiant of authority, holds his own counsel, and very charismatic.  He is not afraid to take the law into his own hands if he thinks an injustice has been done.  He has a brilliant mind, but at the same time he may feel inadequate as he has a constant need for someone to admire him.”

Notice how well rounded her description of this Prince is?  He is complex with delightful assets as well as areas in need of maturity and advancement.  You have a sense of where he needs to go to develop into a fully mature individual, yet his impetuous youthfulness is immediately appealing.

I highly recommend this set with a caveat.  You can’t possibly appreciate the depth and sheer magnitude of this body of work without studying her Guide Book and as a set this is an expensive proposition for most people.  I found it well worth the investment but it is a hefty one.  For serious Tarotists, you simply cannot ignore Julie’s work but for those who are not yet fully initiated, this Tarot set would be costly and possibly confusing when considered alongside your alternate, ongoing studies.

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