By David Higgins
I bought the original majors only Sacred Isle Tarot when it
was first released and occasionally carried it around with me. It was compact yet sturdy making the perfect
deck to put into my purse. But there
were problems with it as a divination tool which I describe later in this
I Lost the Sacred Isle!
Following a show one evening I realized I didn’t have
it. It had vanished. Stricken, I searched everywhere for it. Often
I would ponder that little deck with regret, like an old friend who had simply
disappeared. I couldn’t order another
one because I couldn’t for the life of me recall its title and considering that
there are more than 500 decks in print, it would be like finding a needle in a
hay stack to search it by its imagery alone.
Then one day while perusing new decks here on aeclectic.com,
I stumbled across the new Sacred Isle which looked vaguely familiar. I was drawn to the imagery and promptly
ordered the full kit off the Sacred Isle web site. To my
delight, the kit included the small majors deck I had lost years ago! So nice to see an old friend and I was
immediately inclined to like his full deck as well.
For Love of the Celtic
Sacred Isle falls in line with a classic tarot deck meaning
that it doesn’t attempt to redefine the Tarot in any unique way such as the
renaming of the court cards. I’m
confident it will grow to become a favourite among those who love the old
Celtic legends. Castles, men in tights
and women in long gowns abound. There is no need for an accompanying book
because any book on the tarot with references to the Waite-Coleman will suffice. The artist has followed the symbolism and
structure of this early deck to a tee.
The images are strikingly colourful and detailed. For example, in the four of cups a woman is
depicted sitting by a tree wearing an expression of discouragement, chin
sitting on her folded right hand while gazing off into the distance at
something we cannot see. Around her there are four cups, three sitting on the
ground in front of her and one cup shimmers, floating close to her right side. She is of course completely unaware of this
cup which frankly would be hard to do. You glean the meaning of the card
In the seven of pentacles he depicts a man with his hand on
brow, wearing an expression of pale exhaustion.
He has a basket of peaches suspended over his left arm with four visibly
abundant peach trees behind him. In
front of him a vine sprouts golden pentacles which he doesn’t appear to be noticing. The nuances and subtleties suggested in this
card are delightful! An abundance of
fruit in an orchard he has obviously worked very hard to plant and nurture now
has grown to maturity and the work just never ends! Physical development, expansion and
development can mean just more work and the fruits of our labours seem
irrelevant by comparison to the effort.
Abundance comes at a price.
Physically the cards themselves are constructed with a hardy
cardboard stock that should hold up well under regular use and a reasonable
degree of care. The cards are a robust
size however there is a fat, white border surrounding the image which is
distracting. I may just cut it off which
I’m inclined to do when the cards require no title. This deck’s imagery and symbolism is familiar
enough that I would have little need for labelling as I’m sure most experienced
Tarotists would agree. Minus this white border, the cards will have a distinctly
lovely appearance of a set of paintings from antiquity.
This is a Tarot for Young, White Folks
The downside of this deck, in my opinion, is its distinctly
masculine and youthful orientation. The feminine characterization always depicts
young, pretty, dainty, white girls. Typically
fair haired. The male characterization
is along the same lines possibly appealing to a teenaged girl in his
visage. Possibly. Even the Empress,
High Priestess and Temperance
depict girls apparently in their mid-teens suggesting the best audience for
this deck is young people. I’m not convinced
that even young women wouldn’t find these depictions after a time rather
disconcertingly uninteresting and insipid.
Perhaps even a tad too removed from their own experience. Sadly but truthfully the deck lacks boldness
and dare I say, originality.
But for the sake of young, pretty white readers who are
reading for just the same, they would find this deck easy to read and lovely to
behold. Unfortunately for an aging feminist crone like myself, the deck is a
little too exclusive and youth oriented for use. Now I carry a much more inclusive, unique,
small deck in my purse and even at the return of an old friend, it will not be
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