This deck came to me most unexpectedly. It has actually sat on my wishlist for months and my interest was stirred up when Little Red Tarot hosted a guest post about this peculiar little deck.
I was not around in late-70’s California when this deck was created, but I still have immense respect towards the power and momentum of the social movements back then, which literally changed the course of history. I didn’t plan to get this deck anytime soon, but as I was going to my local metaphysical store to get the Dark Grimoire for my friend as promised some time ago, I found this little gem in its original, 1993 printing in the Mini-edition.
Bear in mind I have never actually seen or held the full-sized version, and I understand that might feel completely different. In this deck glance and interview, I will only rely on my experience with the mini-sized version.
The box is a rather flimsy tuck box in coral tones and featuring the Star card on the back of it. It also says that the cards have been printed in Belgium, by Carta Mundi, which explains their excellent quality. Seriously, despite of a small size (smaller than a tea mug in diameter), the cards are very sturdy and have the right amount of gloss to fan out beautifully. I am quite impressed with the quality – the cards also feel amazing to hold and shuffle (I’ve tried both overhand and wash shuffling). Obviously these are not cards you would riffle shuffle, but I guess it could work if you tried.
The cardbacks are really funky and make me feel grounded instantly – they look like coins and/or seeds, or little shields (although this is more of an afterthought).
The cards are large enough to appreciate the artwork, but small enough to carry with you even in your pocket (tried out yesterday successfully).
Here you can see the size next to the deck box and my Tarot journal and one notebook. The card on the top is The Moon card.
I randomly fanned out the deck and pulle out some cards just to get an overview of the artwork, which uses its own language entirely. There is a lot of symbols embedded in the deck, and even the supertiny LWB surprisingly packs a punch when it comes to offering cohesiveness to the interpretation methods – it even lists numerological meanings. A lot of the cards use geometry to signify the numerology – 6 of Swords and 4 of Swords are particularly good examples of this.
The court cards do not use traditional names, but instead use Daughter and Son instead of Page and Knight, and Priestess and Shaman for the Queen and King. See, this is something that I really like, as they have emphasized the elemental affiliations very strongly: Daughters always represent Earth, Sons represent Air, Priestesses Water and Shamans Fire. In this sense, it is an extremely good deck for beginners, as you get used to using the court cards as elemental pairs – which will make learning them so much easier than the RWS system of “you will meet a tall, dark stranger…”
Deck Interview: My second reading with the Motherpeace.
I actually tried to do a reading yesterday for my ferret’s situation, as I feel overwhelmed and felt I needed some advice. I found it doesn’t flow like some of my other decks, and it definitely needs a few extra steps to connect with this deck. I very often feel that I can work with a deck even when I have not looked through all the cards and symbols – it just welcomes me, invites me into its world and we can start immediately. With this one, I feel I must respect its heritage first, understand its moods and then gently ease myself in. Hate to bring misogyny up in the presence of such a feminist deck, but honestly, this one is a little bit moody!
Here is the deck interview spread, same one I used interviewing the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot and which I found on the Aeclectic Tarot forum. I have been using this spread with all my new decks and it seems to work wonderfully. As you can see, the cards look pretty amazing on the table, like little gems that will offer you insights soon.
I was very surprised to see the first card (Two of Cups), as this popped out in the book store as well when I was going through the cards. Love me, love me! she seems to be saying.
What are your main characteristics as a deck? Two of Cups
Union of opposites felt in the self; a promise to come together.
Well, this is certainly a very good way to start the conversation – I do find this deck as a “coming together of opposites”, in the sense that it feels quite fuzzy and warm, naive and hippiesque, but upon a closer look, it has a deep, primal energy to it that I actually find reminiscent of the New Orleans Voodoo Tarot – weirdly so. It takes a little bit of effort to chew through the images, but everywhere you look, you see the “coming together” of seeming primitivity, mixed with aeons of wisdom and deep insight.
I guess it is also a signal to me – I am not a Cups person, let me tell you. As I mentioned, I actually went to the store to get a Dark Grimoire, a deck which I adore, and I was interested in the Motherpeace purely professionally, not particularly in the aesthetic sense or because I felt a connection to it. If you look at the Two of Cups, you will see that the black and white woman are bound together, and they are both drinking from a respective cup (the white one from the black up and vice versa). It is a beautiful rendition of the Yin Yang, and to me also signifies coming out of your comfort zone – where they drink looks kind of like an ocean floor. So we can come together with this deck, as it invites me out of my comfort zone.
Here is an image of the rest of the reading. I have turned all the cards upright, as I do not use reversals, but I guess the fact that they are round opens up a dozen possibilities of interpreting their meaning.
What are your strengths as a deck? Extra card, “Charge of the Star Goddess”
I did not expect there to be any extra cards in the deck, so I was surprised to see one pop up in the reading. There are actually two: Charge of the Star Goddess and a card about the authors. I really loved the fact that the star goddess poem came out as the “strength” of the card, so I will put it here, as I chose to interpret it AS the strength of the deck and not pull another card:
I who am the beauty of the green earth,
and the white moon among the stars
and the mysteries of the waters,
I call upon your soul to arise and come unto me
For I am the soul of nature that gives life to the universe
From Me all things proceed and unto Me they must return
Let my worship be in the heart that rejoice, or behold –
all acts of love and pleasure are My rituals
let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion,
honour and humility, mirth and reverence within you
and you who seek to know me, know that your
seeking and yearning will avail you not, unless you know the Mystery;
for if that which you seek, you find not within yourself,
you will never find it without
For behold, I have been with you from the
beginning, and I am that which
is attained at the end of desire
What are your limits as a deck? Son of Discs
Force, determination, hypnotism, lightness and penetration, says the instruction booklet, and I agree. I think this deck will not be one that offers clear and penetrating answers. We see an archer in the image for this card, who tries to hit a target through a forest. Alright, I will not be expecting clarity then! And again it signals that effort is needed in order to access the meanings.
What are you here to teach me? Son of Swords
An idea, tendency to be too mental, detachment from the heart
Well, I guess this deck will try to persuade me not to be too mental, and deal with the detachment from the heart.
How can I best collaborate with you? 7 of Swords
Strategy, guilt, predator-prey dichotomy, planning a way in
I have to really think about how to use this deck, agreed. Sort of a “Catch Me If You Can” thing going on here, I suppose – the truth and messages in this deck seem a little bit elusive, and perhaps I am the fox trying to get into the coop…
What is the potential outcome? 8 of Swords
Thinking you are boxed in; approaching something too directly. Be like the crows of folklore: they are able to laugh at human affairs.
But, alas! Once I get in, I will feel trapped. I am pretty sure it is because I will try to find too literal meanings or approach it too methodically, like I usually do in Tarot.
I am going to study this deck and let it be for a while – will probably be a wonderful deck to use come spring.