Deck Review: The Sirian Starseed Tarot
Website: Sirian Starseed Tarot
Author/Artist: Patricia Ciri/Alysa Bartha
Publ. North Atlantic Books
This deck and its small paperback companion book arrived in a sturdy, glossy box which contained 78 oversize cards – by oversize, I mean 15cm x 10cm/6’’ x 4’’. The cards are quite heavy and stiff, with the lamination making them somewhat ‘sticky’ and difficult to shuffle, as appears to be common with decks printed in China.
Each card has not only a narrow white border, but also a secondary border of a starry night sky: pleasant and unobtrusive, a permanent reference throughout the deck to the theme of the deck; the backs of the cards are also pretty, but the image is not a mirror-image, so this might be an issue for readers who use reversals, but don’t wish to know a card is reversed until they turn it.
The deck’s art is collages of digital photos and digital art; this has great clarity and detail, but lacks warmth and humanity – somehow it seems to add a remote, cold aspect. This may be compounded by the predominance of dark colors and the color blue - even fiery cards seem to lack heat. The deck makes plenty of use of Eastern imagery, mainly of Buddhist and Egyptian origins. The amount of imagery varies from card to card – sometimes it is quite stark and naked, others are stuffed to the brim with details to look at, like a ‘Where’s Wally’ picture.The quality of the images, despite that they are ‘’spirit faces and beings that simply materialized in the scenes’’ is generally good, although every now and then there is a jarring sensation when the photoshopping appears to have been inserted clumsily:
Many of the Major Arcana have been re-named to allow for the removal of ‘’the restraints of past authority structures and the icons of their influence’’; thus, we find 0 The Fool becomes The Starseed, I The Magician becomes Indigo, II The High Priestess becomes Higher Self, and so on, including XIII Death as Transition and XV The Devil as The Shadow.
In the same way, the Minor Arcana suits have been re-named: Pentacles is Crystals, Swords is Orbs, Cups is Chalices, Wands is Flames. As you would therefore expect, the Courts have also been re-named: The Page becomes The Seeker, the Knight is The Adept, the Queen is The Sage, and the King is the Master: it seems the Sirians are not quite yet liberated from the out-dated Terran patriarchal structures. The unfortunate Seeker of Chalices even looks like a bearded lady through an unlucky slip of the stylus:
The Sage of Orbs is, interestingly, the only ‘impersonal’ person card – all the other people cards ie. Court cards are real, but she is a mosaic; the only people cards with vaguely traditional poses are the Sage of Crystals and the Master of Orbs:
The suit of Crystals is a modern expression of traditional images; the imagery of the Orbs departs from the traditional until we reach the 8 and 9; the Flames and Chalices suits are the easiest to see the reference and link to the traditional RWS images.
Despite the companion book claiming a bright new approach, and explaining the deck’s specific imagery quite well, the interpretations are exactly what we are used to for RWS clone decks; except for the Court Cards, which get short, non-Suit-specific shrift from the author – surprisingly, as she says that when she began to work with the tarot, she would ‘’find herself lost when one of these cards appeared in a reading’’.
My two favorite cards in this deck were two traditionally difficult cards: XV The Devil/The Shadow, and XVI The Tower:
I loved the immediacy given by the angle from which we view The Tower, the portrayal of the lightning and flames gives this card an urgency that it has but that is not depicted in other decks. And I loved the subtlety of the entrapment of The Shadow being portrayed as a cobweb, delicate yet stronger than steel.
The aspect of this deck that I really struggled with was its overall theme, one about which the author Patricia Cori has written several other works: that the Sirian High Council is working through special humans who are related to them in some way (Starseeds) to bring enlightenment and ultimate Ascension to human beings. According to various sites I found with Google, Sirius is not the only source for Masters and their wisdom, I found mention of the Pleiades, Andromeda, Betegeuse and others listed as locations of friendly aliens who may send their progeny to live on earth to help us evolve spiritually. This makes me glad that I have personally matured almost enough not to burst out laughing hysterically at other people’s deluded craziness and how it is facilitated by the internet.
I am reminded of the Osho Zen Tarot: many people struggled with the Master card, Osho himself; if one disregarded this card, it was a perfectly workable deck; I believe this is also the case with the Sirian Starseed Tarot: if you like digital photography and art tarot decks, this is a pretty decent one, and the size of the cards means the deck lends itself easily to meditational or visualization work. However, for me this only applies if one can ignore the basic premise and/or theme ie. alien beings directing us from Sirius – and if one can ignore the premise, then it begs the question of whether an overall theme is at all important to using a deck. Many people don’t like to use Crowley’s Thoth deck because they perceive it as being as twisted as its creator, I wonder if people would avoid a deck like this because its creator, as a Starseed herself, has almost literally been dropped here by the Mothership.
© Vivianne Kacal, 2012.