Ancestral Path Tarot

Review by Terri Clement

AncestralPath BOX

Ancestral Path Tarot by Julie Cuccia-Watts

Published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.,

ISBN-13:  978-0-88079-141-0, ISBN-10:  0-88079-141-1

Retail:  U.S. $20.00

With an original debut in 1995 the Ancestral Path Tarot is making another round through the Tarot community with a reprint by U.S. Games Systems in 2013. The Ancestral Path Tarot is a 78-card Tarot deck that weaves through differing beliefs and a variety of cultures.


This deck is housed in a flip top style cardboard box and comes with a 32-page Little White Book with text by Tracey Hoover. The box is sealed in plastic as is the deck. The cards measure 4 1/8” tall by 3 1/8” wide. The images are printed on a flexible card stock with a very light laminate. The deck though is stiff and hard to riffle bridge shuffle but fans nicely. The shuffling issue should work itself out with use.

The card backs are done in a many shades of blue. In the center is an orb and it contains a mirrored be a silhouette of people worshiping the sun with the reflection worshiping the moon. The card backs are not reversible friendly.


The card fronts and backs both have an 1/8th” white border. The card fronts have a banner at the bottom of the deck that hold the card titles. The Majors are numbered in a small circle at the bottom of the banner.

Justice is numbered VIII and Strength XI, and The Hanged Man is renamed The Hanged One. The remainder of the Major Arcana are traditionally named and numbered.  

The Minor Arcana suits are Swords, Staves (Wands), Cups and Sacred Circles (Pentacles). Each suit represents a culture during a distinct historical time frame. Swords suit portrays the feudal Japanese era. The Staves suit is representative of Egypt and the nineteenth dynasty of Ramses II. Cups correspond to Arthurian Britain and the Sacred Circles characterize post contact Native America. The court cards are King, Queen, Prince and Princess and represent Gods, Goddesses and important individuals from each culture and era.


A majority of this deck follows the Rider-Waite-Smith camp and can easily be recognized by those who have experience with the RWS.

The LWB helps tie Ms. Cuccia-Watts' images together with the cultures, myths and legends for each suit. For example:  “A Menominee creation legend of bear and thunder spirit ancestors and a Winnebago holy (medicine) song support the tale of the vision quest in the suit of the Sacred Circles.” It also provides definitions for each card and the traditional Celtic Cross Spread with a small twist on the positional meanings.


One card that stands out as very different from the rest of the deck is the Fool. This card features a Tarot Reader dressed in very contemporary clothing, sitting at a table with the cards fanned out in front of her and she is holding up a mirror image of the Fool card. Behind the reader stands a large mirror framed with jesters and dolls hang from the mirror.

The LWB along with traditional meanings says “Consulting an oracle; paying attention to omens; using divination to clear a tangled path.”

The Queen of Staves is represented by Isis, in traditional Egyptian attire and she is standing on a balcony that overlooks a river. She has her back to the river. Her eyes are closed. There is a panther drinking out of the river.

The LWB in part says “Decisions, laws, rules, regulations, standards…

The Seven of Sacred Circles (Coins) shows abundance from fall harvest in a variety of baskets.  

The LWB says “The rewards of hard work. The bounty of harvest. Communal sharing of food and/or resources…

There is a very small amount of nudity in the deck but not offensive and culturally appropriate. This deck can easily be used by anyone with a RWS background and those who might be interested in studying the particular cultures and stories in these particular time frames.

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