Deck Review - Tarot of the Crone

By Sheri Harshberger
The new Tarot of the Crone is the second edition of Ellen Lorenzi-Prince's original deck that was self published and limited to 100 decks. This new edition is being published by Leisa ReFalo and is available on her Tarot Connections website. It comes packaged with a stunning embroidered bag that is available in several colors. There is a 22-page, downloadable PDF file available on the Tarot Connection site that serves as the little white book (LWB). A book is currently in development and a sampling of its pages are also available for download.

I wasn't lucky enough to have known about the deck at the time the premier was offered, but I do have the new edition of this powerful deck. What I really like about it is that it gathers and shares the ancient feminine with its owner. There are several woman-oriented, woman-empowered decks out there that are amazing decks, but they have a beauty to them that puts me off a bit. This deck has forsaken "beauty" imagery for a frankness that is stunning. As I looked through the cards in the deck, I felt as though I was tapping into something that was ancient and mysterious. It was a bit disturbing - but in a cool way.

The cards are a bit smaller than a traditional Tarot deck. It is a very easy size to shuffle and otherwise handle. The original Tarot of the Crone was a borderless deck with no card titles. This new edition has a small white border and area at the bottom within which the card title is displayed.  The backs are shaded purple with gray-white spider web. I imagine if someone concentrated, it would be possible to tell whether a card was reversed or not by noting the orientation of the spiral, but if no attention was paid, it wouldn't be immediately apparent if a card was reversed or not, so I think that this deck would work well for someone who uses reversals. The card stock is very flexible and seems resilient.

The deck is structured as a traditional 78 card Tarot deck with twenty-two Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana. The Minors are comprised of 40 pips and 16 court cards. In the accompanying LWB (more about that later), Ms. Lorenzi-Prince assigns the imagery of the Majors to conversations with the soul and the imagery of the Minors to "aspects of our magical, emotional, mental and mundane lives." 

While the number of cards and structure of the deck fits with the traditional expectations of a Tarot deck, there is a distinct separation with respect to the imagery in the cards in the deck. Many of the more traditionally known cards and titles have been replaced with mystical and ancient ones. In all cases, the stunning and resonant original artwork of Ms. Lorenzi-Prince has replaced the more traditionally known illustrations generally attributed to each card. The most apparent difference is in the courts, in which the traditional  Page, Knight, Queen and King have been replaced by Beast, Witch, Grandmother and Shadow. The Fool card is titled as such and is numbered as 0. Justice is numbered as 8, and Strength is 11. Death is also numbered (as 13) and titled. Some of the Majors that have different titles in this deck are:

5 is Tradition, rather than the Hierophant
6 is Crossroads, rather than The Lovers
12 is Sacrifice, rather than The Hanged Man
20 is Calling, rather than Judgement

The traditional suits of Cups, Disks, Swords and Wands are used and represent the elements Water, Earth, Air, and Fire, respectively. As I mentioned earlier, each suit is assigned to a distinct two-color combination that almost asserts itself to the reader before an acknowledgment of the card title using the suit name can be made. The color assignments for the suits are:

Cups - Water - Red and purple
Disks - Earth - Green and brown
Swords - Air - Blue and yellow
Wands - Fire - Red and yellow

These are not the only colors used in the deck, by far. The coloration of the original artwork in the cards is stunning and bright. Color is a language throughout this deck. The Majors have all colors available to them. The use of color in this way adds to the oracular depth of the deck - I've experimented in the past with using numerology and Tree of Life aspects to connect Majors and Minors cards together - I'm very excited to try the connections with color!

As I mentioned previously, the Tarot Connection website offers a 22-page, downloadable PDF that is functionally the LWB for this deck, although it is hardly "little." The PDF is a comprehensive, yet efficient discussion of all aspects of the deck, answering questions of "who" the Crone is as well as "what" she is made of. The color language of the deck is described, and there are detailed meanings provided for the colors, the numerology, the elements and each card of the deck. It's very well written. I can't imagine how impressive the upcoming book will be! 

Ellen Lorenzi-Prince was interviewed about the Tarot of the Crone (the premier limited edition) by Debbie Lake in the October 15, 2004 issue of Tarot Reflections. Click here to check it out!

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2008

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