I promised to post a deck interview when I wrote my first glance impression on the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, and now I am ready to do so. I use the same deck interview spread I always use – dating back to 2005, this spread was posted by FireRaven in the Aeclectic Tarot forum, with the relevant thread HERE. I usually always use this spread or a modified version of this spread, with some changed positions or titles.
I was quite intrigued to interview the NOWT – I have been studying it for a while now and it will be the deck for my weekly challenge and my first-ever reading with this deck is the interview below.
The philosophy behind the meanings is greatly influenced by the overall theme of the deck: once you start shuffling, the loa (spirits) take over, possess you and choose the cards they wish. I interpret the cards as the loas, bringing (or signalling) the relevant topics.
The reading was quite personal, featuring some court cards, and really felt as if I summoned a group of spirits to my desk who were flinging around their trinkets and whispering into my ear. I was a little bit intimidated by the deck before, but it got a lot lighter and more accessible with that first reading.
I disregard all traditional RWS or Thothean meanings with this deck, by the way, and only go with the companion book or Voodoo tradition suggests. For your convenience, though, I will list the traditional titles as well, just for comparison purposes. This deck has elemental suits, based of the four elements, each representing a “nation” of the loa spirits: Petro for Fire (Wands), Congo for Water (Cups), Rada for Air (Swords), Santeria for Earth (Pentacles).
What is your most important characteristic? Erzulie la Flambeau, Petro 7 (Seven of Wands)
Erzulie la Flambeau is a spirit embodying fierceness, rage, passion and the necessary destruction before creation. The companion book says,
Erzulie la Flambeau is the torch that lights the way, burning through all resistance. Destruction oten must precede construction. Sometimes the world and its things must be ground into fragments for the good to be freed. Rage and hate binds you to your object as closely as does great love. Hate and love are both sides of the coin whose denomination is union.
The sigil also pictures a heart, so love is deeply in contact with that card (and deck). Honestly, I had some thoughts running around my head during shuffling that seem to connect well to this card, but the “fire of fire” theme going on rings very true to me. The deck does carry a destructive, trickster, loud vibration with it and it does feel potent to grind through anything.
Less relevant was the connection with corn and food (the spirit is called Corn Mother), but I would interpret it as providing plenty of food for thought and nourishment for the soul.
What are your strengths as a deck? Ogoun Bahlin’dio, congo 5 (Five of Cups)
Ogoun is the healer – and before turning to the book, just looking at the card, what came to my mind was “healing the sick child”. It was very true – that is pretty much what Ogoun does. The companion book writes:
The determination of the Healer. The combination of hot and cool qualities needed to combat disease.
I interpret myself as the child who needs healing and the strength of the deck to be able to heal. And perhaps, if I look at it with the combination of other cards, I must learn again to find the child within me who has maybe been banished to some dark coves in the soul, and must hear the childish truths.
It also looks as if this deck has massive energies and fiery qualities and you can almost hear its furnace roar; but there is something collected, cool and rational about it as well; due to the complexity of the meanings, you are forced to first collect your thoughts, research a bit, and then combine then fire of the cards with the water of their meanings.
What are your limits as a deck? Simbi d’l’eau, Congo 8 (Eight of Cups)
The companion book writes (and this rang so true it made me giggle):
Its words appear in the form of airy Rada Simbis, which leap into the air in all directions from its mouth. These creatures traditionally promise much, yet speak in such convoluted riddles that mischief is almost assured if the hearer does not invest great effort in deciphering the riddle thoroughly.
Riddles they truly are and even if you are well versed in Voodoo and Santeria traditions (which I am not), I bet it would take some work to read with these cards and understand all what they try to say.
I do agree that the main limit of the deck is giving clear answers – there are some decks that for me are razor sharp and very easy to read (like Archeon or Illuminati), there are some decks that give deep and thorough meanings (like Mary-El or Wild Unknown), but this one here is completely different from all the decks. All of them. It makes you jump through the hoops before you get your wisdom cookie.
What are you hear to teach me? Eleggua, santeria 6 (Six of Pentacles)
The companion book is a tad scarce on this particular spirit, but it pictures it as the child who carries the Word and new seed to lands barren with age. She is standing partly behind a door. She is going to let you in, but there is no telling whether you can get out.
Proper care in the matter at hand ensures favourable outcome; the influence of a child or a child-like person.
So I must agree with also the “strength” card that perhaps the lesson to me is to accept truths in a more child-like, sincere way and take things as they are. But I felt unsatisfied with it, so I did some more research on that spirit. It seems like the aspect of Eleggua depicted on the card is of a child trickster; Eleggua is the one who watches you when you are at a crossroads and leads you through the door after your decision; so can it be here to watch me make a decision? Sure seems so. If you happen to be a Voodoo aficionado, let me know in the comments!
How can I best collaborate with you? Houngan, Rada (King of Swords)
King of Swords is my significator, so I was very surprised to see how the loa instruct me to work with them (houngan is the voodoo term for king):
This houngan has gone into possession, leaving the Visible World for that of the Invisible. Courage, swiftness, readiness to attack. Dark hair and brown eyes.
I agree that working with this deck requires courage. I also think it is important to give yourself to the loa, to allow possession, to be overcome by them. This is how you can truly work with this deck – be yourself and let it flow.
What is the potential outcome? Houngan, Petro (King of Wands)
This card is the Fire of Fire – fire issues from the mouth of the drum. This drum is like a hollow tube used to bring down the fires of heaven, a parallel to the story of Prometheus.
If we work well together, this deck will bring me the fire of gods.
I can definitely live with that.