“Unlike their contemporaries in Babylonia or Middle Kingdom Egypt, the Bronze Age people of Crete did not exalt kingship, war, nor death, nor did they conceive a vast distance between Gods and humanity. Instead these people celebrated the presence of the Goddess, the beauty of the natural world, and their own sexuality and creativity. This work shows that a lively, peaceful, sacred, and technologically advanced society is no fantasy, but a part of our history.” (pg 5, Minoan Tarot booklet)
Ellen Lorenzi-Prince has created another stunning tarot deck: The Minoan Tarot. The Minoan culture centered on the island of Crete, off the southeast tip of Greece, ranging from 8,000 to 1,100 BCE. Ellen based her art on the original work of the painters, sculptors, jewelers, and potters of that era. I don’t know much about the Minoan culture, so I read the booklet that comes with the deck (literally, a small book, printed in color) from cover to cover before I used the cards. It is fascinating. You don’t need to have great knowledge about their culture to read with these cards, although it does enrich the reading. Each card offers a glimpse into a story, and it is easy to translate that into our modern world.
Here is a reading I did, using the Snake, Lion, Dove spread Ellen included in the booklet. The Snake represents “power that comes from the deep, from below and within. Your wisdom.” I dealt Sky Three. “Follow your powerful instinct for creation. Let your home keep you grounded, not captured.” Look at the joy in that card! Birds soaring, flowers blooming. Light, fresh air, the scent of flowers, bird song for mirth — Nature at its most encouraging. It does reflect the things that are most important for me to feel nurtured and grounded, to grow and to best express myself.
Next is the Lion, “power that comes from the exertion of your energy and will. Your achievement.” I dealt Art Ten. Here we have the Minoan Goddess and her priestesses in sacred dance. One of the priestesses has achieved transcendence through the joyful movement of dance, and “inspires them to dance with more fervor and grace, that all may achieve transcendence.” One of the primary goals of my life has been growth as a human being, as a soul, including spiritual growth. It also includes a desire to help others grow to be themselves at their best. This card is very encouraging.
Finally, there is the Dove, “power that exalts your spirit toward heaven. Your guiding light.” I dealt Earth Master. “Lead, and let your leadership be respected.” As a Capricorn, I crave the earth and have a real need to be out on it and in Nature, to feel grounded. The most spiritual times of my life have been in Nature. The several planets I have in Libra make me crave balance, fairness. And while I do not seek leadership, I often find myself in that role, usually because no one else has stepped forward. The times that make me rejoice are when I’ve been a leader as in Art Ten above. I seek power with, never power over.
As you may have noticed, Ellen has made a few changes to some of the names of conventional tarot, but they all make sense: Sea = Water, Art = Wands, and so forth. The court cards are Worker (physical, practical), Priestess (spiritual direction and action), and Master and Mistress (God and Goddess). In the major arcana we see the Lily Prince instead of the Fool, Singer instead of Hierophant, Ancestor instead of Death, et cetera. In each case they make sense and enhance the reading. The cards measure 5-1/2″x3″, and are flexible enough that I can shuffle them without too much trouble. (I have small hands.) The colors are vivid but not glaring, and the images firmly but delicately drawn. It was published by Arnell’s Art, and she always does an excellent job.
The Minoan Tarot is becoming one of my favorite decks. It is easy to read with, but even more there is something about the joy and basis in Nature that resonates with me. To read more about the deck, see more images, and to order, you can go to http://www.darkgoddesstarot.com/minoan.htm .
* All quotes from the booklet that comes with Minoan Tarot.