Tuesday, September 11, 2007

WAY OF THE HORSE (Review of A New Non-Tarot Deck)

THE WAY OF THE HORSE: Equine Archetypes for Self-Discovery
— A Book of Exploration and 40 Cards
Author: Linda Kohanov; llustrator: Kim McElroy
New World Library
Product Code: 15138
ISBN: 978-1-57731-513-1

I've been a horse lover since earliest childhood, not only drawing them as soon as I could hold a pencil but collecting horse figurines well into my 20's. Horse is, of course, one of my power animals (Tiger being the other), so I was inclined to like this deck, Way of the Horse, from first seeing it's slip case cover. But it has induced in me a completely unexpected rapt and delighted attention only equaled by special Tarots.

Before I share from my personal experience of one particular card, I would like to say that this set does not relate to the horse only as a symbol. But as a real animal, with real characteristics, and as individual lives with unique personalities. Each card shares stories of actual horses the author has known, worked with, loved, learned from, and cared for. And these stories are the heart of each card's meaning and wisdom. Then there's the art work. Stunning. Gorgeous.

I've begun pulling a card a day a random and will continue to do so through the entire deck. The one I pulled on first opening the deck was #20:

Close to Shore

On looking at this card, before reading anything about it, I thought: "Looks like where I'm at in my life; an old horse looking for something new, something beyond this life I have now, beginning to leave a lot behind in my search; with the world of spirit watching over me and maybe not always being aware of this." Once I read what the book had to say, I was in tears. It is a card of transition, much like Death (XIII) in the Tarot, both of which include the possibility of bodily death in their range of meanings. But, as with XIII, this card addresses much more than that. Such as: "A new life is calling, but the form it will take isn't quite clear. In the meantime, your challenge is to stay [in what] you've outgrown, yet avoid becoming a 'lame duck' or a frustrated and manipulative old codger." Pinned me there, it did! However the deeper part of this card's pages, and where I began crying, is devoted to sharing about the graceful death of a beloved horse, that has much to teach us all about living.

From the ending of #20's pages: "...but few of us consider that fertile time between letting go of the old and embracing the new, the crossroads where knowledge gained can be passed on to the children of the future. If we call forth the Crone's detachment in the face of our own discomfort, old age ultimately becomes an opportunity to share the fruits of a life well lived." Perhaps my 64 years have not been so well-lived. I have made many wrong turns and bad decisions. However, I have still managed somehow to gather a lot worth sharing. This deck is one of those fruits that just fell into my hands along the way.

Here's a few more cards from the deck, illustrating a little of the range of art-style and approach. There are also cards with mythological horses, and even the occasional human :-D.

Suffice it to say, I cannot recommend this deck highly enough for those who love horses and animals, but even for those who don't. There is a great deal of wisdom and encouragement in this set. Ultimately, each time I pull a card, savor the image, then read what the book has to say, I am left feeling ... how can I put it ... pulled together. As if spirit and body have been properly re-aligned. This, in addition to all I learn about horses themselves. I would also say Tarot lovers can also appreciate this deck. Its spirit is so clearly aligned with that which informs the Tarot. It would also make a wonderful gift, as it is beautifully produced with a slip case for the hard cover 156 page book and 40 card deck.

* * * *

‘til next time, keep enjoying the Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing or poems, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)****My other blogs ROSWILA’S DREAM & POETRY REALM and ROSWILA’S TAIGA TAROT.



Blogger Scruffyhippo said...

What fantastic cards, I could look at them all day :)

1:57 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Oh, yes! I agree completely. They are incredibly evocative. And, I didn't put this in the review because it was getting pretty long. But for months prior to receiving this deck as a surprise, I'd been remembering my childhood drawings of horses, printing out online horse images I liked and taping them by my computer, wondering about doing some horse drawings again and so on ... which is largely why I chose a horse head as the image for the Knight of Wands in my Taiga Tarot. So the deck sent waves ahead of it to me through the ether, so to speak. :-)

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! Once again, after a long time away, I stop by your site to find something that connects... I love the book, Tao of Equus, and have recommended it many times. I didn't know about this deck, and now will need to get my hands on it somehow. Thanks :)

Mary Pat

3:37 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Yes, oh, yes, Mary Pat, get this deck! As I say in the review I'm doing a random card a day and finding it amazingly synchronistic. :-) E.g., the first painting on Kim's (the artist's) site I was blown away by when I visited today was phoenix horses. And the card I pulled later from the deck, Fire Horse. Which when I read the text about it was even more appropriate to what's been going on in my life.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Troubadour said...

What a wonderful concept! Horses are the most emotional of creatures. We use them in healing/therapy on the farm, and breed that most gentle of breeds, the Icelandic (if I am permitted, www.kdfarms.com). We now have 24 horses and seem completely unable to sell them (they're just too wonderful to selL!) No creature is more emotionally in tune with humans. The ancient Greeks considered the horse the most sacred and beautiful of animals (created by Poseidon when Zeus instructed him "to create the most beautiful of animals.") In my recent tarot-themed novel The Last Troubadour (again, if permitted, www.lasttroubadour.com, otherwise, please remove my link!), I have 22 horses (coincidence?) who are living characters in the novel. I am rushing to Amazon to buy this deck and book!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

I'm delighted you are getting this deck. It continues to amaze, move and teach me. You raise horses. Sigh. What lovely entities to be around.

I've read about your book with Tarot underpinnings (so to speak :-D) on The Tarot Channel, and will be responding to your email about it today.

BTW, I am certain your links in your comment aren't booby-trapped with viruses, etc. as I visited them on receiving your recent email. :-) I just had an email today about some folks out there putting noxious links in blog posts. What a waste of time and inventive energies!

Thanks for visiting.

10:08 AM  

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