Monday, April 28, 2008


The Bohemian Gothic Tarot* is my newest deck. I’ll go into my responses to it a little after I share a one card reading I did with it on April 21, 2008. I asked: “How can I best let go of being deeply angry at and hurt by [a particular person].” I was especially concerned about having to struggle with wishing this person ill, or at times with wanting to out-compete them in some way. It all seemed like a terrible waste of time and energy, and worse, harmful. Certainly to me, and maybe even in that larger sense to the other person. I got the Eight of Cups:

Well, on first glance it did seem to accurately reflect my mood with respect to my question. I have been slogging my way through this particular long, dark, echoing hallway for a long time now. Constantly looking back over my shoulder, both trying to figure out what I did to bring myself to this pass in the relationship, and fearful of what negative effects might be catching up with me with regard to it. Traditionally, this card does often address “moving on,” and “walking away,” with a sense of progress in that. For example, here’s the Eight of Cups in the Rider/Waite/Smith deck:

But I have been attempting to walk away for some time and I’m still in this same dark hallway. I did not feel traditional meanings were helping me with my question. Nor did what the book says that accompanies this deck offer any new information. Both traditional meanings and the book seemed to be only descriptive, not prescriptive – the latter being what I was hoping for. Or at least something new, something I had not already chewed over, again and again, ad nauseam, that might point me in a new direction.

It took a dream that night to open up this reading and offer a new stance to take, a new way to step carefully for the rest of the distance I have yet to go before I reach that light in the distance seen on this card. Here’s the dream taiga (illustrated tanka) that I made out of the dream and the card:

The impactful part of the dream are the words “Thank you for coming.” Somewhere in the middle of writing this dream tanka it hit me: I need to be grateful that this relationship is giving me an opportunity to grow in some very necessary way, grateful even to the other person. Yes, it’s painful and difficult, and I have a way yet to go. But the voice that said “Thank you...” is that of the person urging me out of this dark house. As if it is time to be moving on, as the initial meaning I recalled of the Eight of Cups also says. So it is gratitude for it all – the good, the bad, the ugly (in everything, not just this relationship) – that is the key, that is the new element I was asking the cards to help me find. (I am considering changing that second line to: she herds me out of her house. Since it's illustrated, I need not describe the hall, and this new wording is less awkward.)

And that’s enough of wandering through my psyche... The Bohemian Gothic Tarot is a deck I have been wanting since I first saw images of it online and pre-ordered it. I have to say when I first went through it I was a bit let down and that feeling has not totally gone away. Many of the illustrations are stunning and highly appropriate, resonating deeply. And the book offers consistently unusual, yet not entirely “off the wall” meanings. But every so often, the faces of the people on these cards are very awkward, even laughable, dropping me right out of the Gothic mood and leaving me rather annoyed. Here are some of the cards I think are highly effective:

And here are some with faces that really disrupt the mood of the card:

My scanner is not the best, so it may be hard to see the face details. Anyway, except for the faces, I think the figures on these cards work quite well within their gothic settings.

Of course, I hasten to add that I’ve never “met” a deck I thought was perfect and there is much in this deck’s art work to be appreciated. I also like that a quote or two from a gothic story is appended to each card’s meaning and background. All in all? If you are inclined to the gothic either in art or in stories, you might really like this deck.

*Written and designed by Karen Mahony; Illustrated by Alex Ukolov, baba studio; Published by Magic Realist Press, 2007.

* * * *

‘til next time, keep being grateful for everything about life, and especially enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry; Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka); and Yahoo DREAMJIN: Group for Dreamku – Haiku-Like Dream Poems.****



Anonymous Ann Cooper said...

Hello, Roswila
This looks like a beautiful deck, I'm thinking of getting it myself. Thanks for the review!
I know exactly how you feel about the relationship you mentioned in your post. Was wondering if a "the hell with it" attitude would work for you? Just a thought.
Keep posting - I really enjoy your comments and am learning alot!
Ann Cooper

5:15 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Yes, Ann, it is a beautiful deck as a whole. Deeply atmospheric and obviously lovingly thought out and executed.

Something I did not mention in my post is that the book's comments on each card refer directly to the card's details. This is not something that is done all the time in books or LWB's (those little white booklets) that come with decks. Too often the meanings are generic and used for deck after deck. So it is always a delight to find a well-produced deck with a book actually written to accompany that particular deck.

This press has also published The Romantic Victorian (which I'm not familiar with beyond a few images) and The Fairytale Tarot (which I've posted about here and really like).

As to "the hell with it," with respect to the relationship: been there, done that. LOL! Seriously, though, it hasn't worked for more than a few minutes. Which tells me I have stuff inside myself yet to be cleared up.

Thanks for visting again. Glad you enjoy it all. After doing this blog for a while I've decided rather than necessarily posting "meanings" for cards (though I will do this on occasion still), it may be more helpful for readers to see at least this reader's way of getting to meanings.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Eccentric Scholar said...

Yes, Roswila, I agree with your approach; documenting your process toward meaning is very illuminating. You write about your personal journey in a way that has universal appeal. Kudos for providing a wonderful and highly useful service!

10:25 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Thanks for the support, eccentric scholar. (It was said once that my approach is "narcissistic," and though I don't ultimately think that, it did shake me enough that I still question my approach on occasion. However, I can even be grateful for that "shaking" as anything we do does need review as we go along. :-D)

BTW, I saw your Port Meirion Tarot listing in the current newsletter and your cool interview. Congratulations!

2:46 PM  
Blogger Eccentric Scholar said...

A self-centered approach? To paraphrase Cormac McCarthy:

It falls to each of us to weigh, sort, and order the events forced upon us in the waking world. It is we who assemble them into the story which it is. We are the bards of our own existence. This is how we are joined to the world.

BTW, thanks for the kind words about my Portmeirion Tarot review and interview over at!

4:27 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

A quote I will do well to remember, eccentric scholar. Thanks.

And also thanks for posting the correct addy for I should never rely on my memory as late at night as I made that comment. :-)

10:25 AM  
Blogger Puddle Duck said...

Hi Roswila,
A really insightful blog, it's extremely interesting as a person, new to Tarot, to see how others interpret the cards and also to learn from this. The deck looks very beautiful, it is a pity that some have faces that do not tally with the deck, maybe these cards that stand out like that are doing so for a reason (not just the faces) and trying to tell you something aswell.
Lovely reading, thank you!


10:58 PM  
Blogger Roswila said...

LOL! Melanie, yes, I probably could find some meaning in those cards that I find the faces on irritating (beyond the faces, as you say). But what's hard for me when that happens when a deck's illos annoy or distract me in some way is that I get "dropped out" of the sort of meditative state of mind that allows insights to come. I suppose one could say, then, that one of my personal issues is learning how to stay with the moment no matter what my emotional response. I can accept that. However, as Tarot art -- which is a separate discussion from finding meanings in the cards -- I just don't think some of those faces work. I hasten to add, though, overall it's a lush, evocative deck.

Hope you are continuing to enjoy developing your relationship with The Tarot.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Puddle Duck said...

Hi Roswilla:)
Yes, I am enjoying the Tarot, however, as a beginner I decided to get the Rider-Waite deck to get some 'grounding' but these just don't really call to me or say a lot. So, I can fully understand your references to the faces and also Tarot art.
I can see how important it is to be able to relate to the Tarot in such a way that the pictures and symbols resound with oneself. The deck I have just doesn't really do this for me.
So, I have been searching and do love the look of the Druidic Tarot which seems to 'fit' more with me. I have the Druidic Oracle which are works of art and I love the imagery and finding new things in there along the way (a little rune symbol here and a hidden animal there). So I think they may fit more comfortably with my beliefs and also my runic fancies!

Having said that I think I may end up collecting a bloomin load!! Haha..there are so many beautiful cards out there. I saw the Art Nouveau set and thought 'ooooo' haha


2:33 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Uh oh, Melanie, I'm afraid you've been bitten by the Tarot collecting bug! I have over 80 decks now. At one time I had 120, and in a moment of poverty induced insanity years back, sold a lot of them. LOL! (Though sometimes it's not really laughable when I realize a deck I sold is no longer available and I really want it.)

Yes, the Art Noveau is lush and colorful. It's in my collection. Are there any particular cards you'd like to see from it? I could post a few here, if so.

I still enjoy reading occasionally with the Rider/Waite/Smith ("RWS") deck -- though I actually use the Albano Waite, which is a more brightly colored RWS. The deck I use the most is The Tarot of the Cat People, or whichever is my newest. :-D

The Druid Oracle is utterly charming; I don't have it but what I've seen online I really like. Nor do I have the Druidic Tarot, but if it's the one I'm recalling, from online images I've come across, it, too, has wonderful art work. I agree that finding little surprises each time one works with a deck is a delight. I have to admit, though, that even after over 30 years of working on and off with the RWS deck, I can on occasion still be surprised at some little detail or relationship I had not noticed before. :-)

There is the occasional deck that is so beautiful that I can't read with it, and wind up using it only for meditation ... which is most definitely a viable use for The Tarot. E.g., The Voyager Tarot (a gorgeous collage Tarot) and The Gilded Tarot.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Puddle Duck said...

Hi Roswila
Yes I think I shall have quite a collection! I looked on the Aclectic Tarot website and they list, what seems like (!), millions of different decks. I haven't searched through them all yet, but the Druid set and Art Nouveau set 'jumped' out at me, probably because my interests lie there.
The Druid Oracle is lovely. The art work is wonderful and I do like the symbolism of the animals and nature. I am interested in power animals (at the moment the Hummingbird is calling me!) and what we can learn about ourselves from the characteristics, strengths and spirit of the animals. So the oracle is particularly useful on a 'daily card' basis.

As for the Art Nouveau set I would love to see The Lovers card (it was the first card I drew out and quite apt). And I had a look into numerology linked with Tarot and worked out 'my' number which was linked to the Heirophant so that would be interesting to see too!

Many thanks

11:39 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Hi Melanie,

I'll post The Lovers and The Hierophant, along with some others from the Art Nouveau Deck, probably tomorrow.

BTW, I'm a "5" also (both numerologically and by birthdate), so we have that in common. :-)

If you like animal oracles, have you heard of The Medicine Cards? I often go to that deck when an animal I know is in it shows up in a dream. (It's not a Tarot.) Really nice system. If you want:
you'll get an automatic free reading with one animal card here. When it's over, scroll to bottom for link to the homepage.

7:26 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home