This week, I’m going to write about a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: the Tarot de St. Croix, that is, the version of the Tarot deck originally designed by the French occultist Eliphas Levi. I’ll use this post to share a deck I’ve been using lately, as well as some thoughts on the cards and a little about the history of the deck.
Anyone who has ever taken an online tarot reading will know that different decks share the same name and even have the same titles and symbols. This creates a lot of confusion, since readings from different decks can give quite different results. However, this is about to stop.
We have been busy, busy, busy lately. We have been working on the Tarot de St. Croix for the past few months and are excited to finally release it. If you haven’t seen the images of the upcoming book you have been missing out!
Lisa de St. Croix’s Tarot de St. Croix was previously reviewed here. This is a demonstration of the most recent borderless edition, which is really stunning. The Tarot de St. Croix is a deck that never goes out of style, in my opinion. The intuition is energized by these warm, vibrant oil paintings.
The First Edition “orange box” variant is seen to the left. Lisa’s deck is fondly referred to as “the orange deck” by her tarot pals. Its…well… orange-ness… was either something you liked or something you didn’t. If the orange was too much for you, you’ll love this new borderless version.
I also like how the package has been updated. The previous version came in a two-piece top and bottom lid box with a very shiny finish. That plasticky covering would cling to itself in the summer. The new matte version features a magnetic flip top.
The captions have been moved to a low-key bar at the bottom of the cards. The orange borders surrounding the card backs have been removed, and the artwork work has been slightly expanded so that the artist’s meticulous work may be properly appreciated. This new edition’s matte finish is definitely a big plus for me.
The borderless version has been updated to make the artwork shine even more! While I didn’t dislike the orange borders that framed the previous version, when compared to the current edition, those borders clearly boxed in and constrained the image. The artwork now seems so much bigger sans the boundaries.
The Fool card in this deck is based on the Pueblo Indian holy clown Koshare, who wears the trickster’s mask. The Magician is Rumi, a Sufi mystic; the High Priestess is Isis; and there are contemporaries on The Hierophant card, such as the Dalai Lama. The Hermit card depicts a curandera, and Themis represents Justice.
Inside the box is a full-color handbook, and the deck is well-packed. It begins with tales of the artist’s upbringing in Johannesburg before moving to New York for art school and eventually settling in Santa Fe. I followed part of the card spread directions in the handbook, then checked up the meaning of each card in the guidebook one by one– it worked. Very nicely done! As a result, even a novice tarot reader may use the deck.
The handbook contains these succinct divinatory aphorisms. Gain a fresh viewpoint on The Hanged Man. Death is the first card in the deck, and it represents the beginning of anything new. Temperance is the ability to create something new via the joining of two or more people. The Devil: Face the darkness, and you’ll be able to liberate your soul.
A burst of lightning illuminates Shiva, the deity of destruction, who sits in the Tower. Nut, the Egyptian sky goddess, is shown on the Star card. I like The Moon’s famous allusion to the High Priestess card, while The Sun pays homage to Isis. The World card in this deck was inspired by an image of Anima Mundi from the 14th century.
This deck has an autobiography with an accidental story. The artist’s likenesses are a recurrent motif across the cards. She is being carried away by a raven in The Tower. You saw one aspect of her in Strength, in the Nine of Pentacles, and so on. She appeared as the alchemist pouring water and wine over hot embers in the Temperance card, with her son as the heavenly figure behind her.
While each Major gets a two-page spread in the handbook, the Minors get a single two-page spread for each set of four numbered cards. If you’re new to the game, the top of each page spread has some information on the topics highlighted by the numbered pip card. Consider the significance of the first. Then go on to the significance of the card. The Three of Cups depicts a group of friends playing a tarot game: value your connections since they will give you with the assistance you need. The triad of successful endeavors is represented by the Three of Pentacles: the full moon represents intuition-guided inspiration, the artist painting represents talent, and the Isis symbol represents heavenly direction.
There’s a lot of personal history in these cards. The artist’s late brother is shown in the Four of Cups. The artwork in this deck is also quite dynamic, which I like. There’s a lot going on. People aren’t simply posing for the camera like rigid portraits. The interpretations for some of the tarot keys, such as the Six of Cups and Seven of Cups, are wonderful.
Tarot de St. Croix is notable for its flawless integration of portraying everyday human events with myths and gods. Epona, the Celtic horse deity, is featured prominently in the Four of Wands. Brigid is included in the Six of Wands.
This is one of my favorite cards from the Five of Pentacles deck. The Great Mother Guadalupe is seen here. The idea is to strike a balance between hardship and hope. You observe a queue of hopefuls braving the bitter cold in the hopes of finding job.
On the Eight of Cups, there are also representations of real places, such as the Havasupai waterfalls in the Grand Canyon. Wish fulfillment is shown in the Nine of Cups in an innovative manner, with angels filling the woman’s cup one by one. By the way, I like the Ten of Wands, which was inspired by Camille Flammarion’s L’atmosphère météorologie populaire’s Flammarion Engraving (1888).
This deck was given to Lisa de St. Croix during a shamanic trip in which she traveled to an Upper World temple and met the goddess Isis, who is shown in Key 2 of the deck. As a result, throughout the cards, you’ll find recurring but distinct emanations of Isis, as well as the artist herself.
The artist’s son is shown as a college student in the Page of Swords, while her boys’ father is depicted in the Knight of Swords. The sadhu or holy man symbolizing Shiva’s energies in the Knight of Wands, or the Green Man in the Knight of Pentacles, are blended with more archetypal characters in these highly personal depictions of the tarot courts.
The Queen of Cups, which is contrasted with the Queen of Sheba in the Queen of Pentacles, is one of the artist’s close friends. The idea of Athena as the Queen of Swords appeals to me. King Solomon is the King of Pentacles, coupled with the Queen of Pentacles, while the artist’s father is the King of Cups. In the King of Swords, Arthur is presented with Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake. Hermes Trismegistus is the King of Wands.
Lisa de St. Croix is also the designer of the Oracle and Action cards Invoking the Goddess, which I previously reviewed here. I appreciate that the Tarot de St. Croix deck imagery was hand-painted in oils, which is becoming more rare as we go into the digital era.
The Tarot de St. Croix is a rich, gorgeous deck that you should add to your collection. The emotions portrayed in each work of art, the layers of tarot symbolism, and the resonant connection to the divine and the mundane that blend seamlessly throughout the deck art narrative are just a few of the reasons why the Tarot de St. Croix has remained so sought after and beloved over the last decade or so.
As an example:
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This new edition is a cardless edition of the popular Tarot de St.Croix. The Tarot de St.Croix is an ancient divination, in which the Tarot deck is used to tell a person’s past or future. It is a form of divination that studies the past lives of a person, and utilizes the cards and their meanings to predict the future. The twenty-two cards of this deck feature past and future imagery in the form of the best-known scenes from the history of the legendary life of St.Croix. Her life story can be described as a miraculous story of love, where she overcame strife and triumphantly brought peace to her family, friends and in the process she saved the world from destruction. Read more about lisa de st croix and let us know what you think.
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