Friday, December 10, 2010


Several weeks ago a dear friend gave me The Transparent Tarot, by Emily Cardings. If he weren’t already a good friend, he would have been when he handed it to me; I have been lusting after this unique deck for some time. I’ve now done many readings with it and find it both pretty much the same as working with most other decks, and quite different.

If you have not read about or seen this deck, it is literally transparent plastic, with evocative simple line drawings. Here’s a few of my favorite designs in the deck:

[left to right, top: Judgment & Two of Pentacles; bottom: Seven of Cups & Eight of Swords]

The spaciousness of this deck’s designs allow for layering of the cards so that they produce composite images that add to the richness and depth of a reading. Here’s an example of four cards layered – i.e., placed one on top of the other – from the first reading I did for myself with this deck (the slight greyish color is due to the layering):

I was inquiring into the bout of isolating from my friends and community I’ve been in to for some time. The first card I pulled at random after shuffling was the Nine of Cups (figure with cups in middle bottom). This confirmed that the relief (“wish fulfilled”) that isolation affords from my social conflicts is only temporary.

Then I got the Nine of Swords (figure with swords on left). This suggested I do dream incubation on this inquiry for some help. On occasion I see night dream issues in this card since the traditional RWS design implies a dream scenario. In fact, revisiting this particular Tarot reading is part of responding to something I saw in recent dream work that I’ve done since doing this reading. And around it goes … :-D

The third card I pulled was the Nine of Pentacles (figure holding a pentacle on the right). This gave me a bit of hope. In the traditional RWS design the figure is very contentedly alone in her lush garden.

I was now struck by the “cup” these three nines make together. And wondered what would fill it when I drew the fourth and last card. Another nine! The Hermit, IX (both the mountain at the top and the clouds/sea foam/smoke at the very bottom). So maybe some sort of wisdom will eventually come out of what I somewhat pejoratively refer to as isolating. Maybe even an ability to be more content within myself (my individual “garden”) whether I’m with others or not. I also hear this combination saying to continue to share whatever little light comes from my search and journey. Even if at times I feel as if I have ground to stand on no firmer than clouds. Ah! “Standing on clouds” might be a good way to describe the experience of right brain work. Its ephemeral nature, how elusive and difficult it can be to bring through into language and art. Yet this is the cup I drink from, the one that most nourishes me and my garden.

Oh, and that all four cards are nines? I think of the number nine as “nearing completion.” Some cycle or change is almost over. Of course, in matters of the inner world “almost” is an even vaguer measure than in physical time and space. That is, much more relative and far less exact. But all that said I’m hopeful I’ll be more centered and purposeful soon, no matter where I find myself -- alone more than being social or vice versa. Or even (now there’s a thought) some healthy balance between these two.

It can sometimes be informative to note what is not present. In this case, the fourth minor arcana nine, the Nine of Wands. I just realized this on drafting this post and will need to examine it further later as I have several different responses to the “missing” Nine of Wands.

So there you have it, my first reading with The Transparent Tarot, done a few weeks ago. I find this a unique and extremely pleasing deck to work with. It’s also a pleasure to handle. I’d wondered how it might shuffle and what it might be like to draw cards from. Both are easy to do, once I adjusted (and quickly) to using a little bit of caution with its slight slipperiness. (Hey, 78 Pick-Up’s a fun game, too!)

The deck comes with a well-thought out and lovely book in a hard “tray.” There’s also a large white cloth on which to lay out the cards. (A white background is necessary to be able to see the details and colors of the images, especially when layering the cards.)

Lastly, I’m agog at what I imagine must have been the planning that went into the placement of each card’s design to accommodate and maximize the effectiveness of the layering. I highly recommend this deck. Even for enthusiastic and patient beginners, as I would imagine it would facilitate seeing how the cards are frequently best read in relationship to each other. (See the link at top of this post for more images and purchasing information.)

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‘til next time, keep making connections and 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.****