Dark Goddess Tarot

Review by Sheri Harshberger

20131020 122036

Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince

Published by Arnell's Art and available at www.darkgoddesstarot.com

ISBN: 978-0-9894739-0-3

Retail U.S.: $35.00

I have to be honest, I am a real fan of Ellen Lorenzi-Prince and her work. I like to think of her as a "spiritual archeologist," as her deck work transcends themes and systems. My introduction to her work was through her groundbreaking Tarot of the Crone, which brought the ethereal and ancient spirit of women to readers and collectors everywhere. I have her ancient and spiritual Majors-only Paleo Tarot, too. So, I was thrilled to discover that she has just released her new Dark Goddess Tarot, which brings out the proverbial "big guns" goddess energy and spirit, and melds them to the Tarot. These aren't warm and fuzzy versions of Goddesses, but the realistic and complex Goddesses of culture, myth and legend. Several cultures are represented in the deck, including but not limited to: Mayan, Egyptian, European, Celtic, Greek, Aztec, and Roman.

The deck comes packaged in a heavy cardboard box with slip-on cover featuring La Santa Muerte, the Mexican Goddess of Death. A little white book (LWB) is included with the deck. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince is currently working on a companion book. The LWB includes a brief introduction to the deck, suggestions on how to work with Goddess energy, card meanings and a couple of spreads. One is a 2-card Substance and Shadow Spread, and the 5-card Goddess Be With You Spread. The card meanings include a line describing the Goddess and a one-line meaning. These one-liners are very powerful and multi-dimensional!


The 78-card deck is somewhat larger than what I consider the traditional size of 2.75 inches by 4.75 inches, coming in at 3 inches by 5.5 inches. The coating is glossy so the cards slip around easily. I have large hands and found the deck slightly too long to comfortably fit in my hands for shuffling like playing cards. The deck "stack" also appears thicker as the card stock seems thicker than say, a Waite-Smith deck or playing cards, but they are very flexible and shuffle nicely when a method for shuffling the larger cards is worked out. I adapted easily to these cards and I normally use a deck that is quite a bit smaller.

The deck follows the traditional 78-card structure with 22 Majors and 56 Minors. The Majors are numbered from the 0 Fool through XXI World, with XI Justice and VIII Strength. All of the Courts are feminine as well, with Amazon, Siren, Witch and Hag representing Page, Knight, Queen and King, respectively. The backs of the cards feature a "fish" scale design in muted colors. The design is not reversal-friendly and there are no reversal meanings in the LWB. However, that should not be a hinderance if you are a reader who uses reversals anymore than using any other deck, it might just take more work on your part to develop your own meanings.


Ellen Lorenzi-Prince is a gifted artist. The imagery of this deck is very stylized while still making use of elements that are recognizable. Each card features a Goddess image bordered in the gray base color of the deck and includes the title of the card centered in the border at the top of the card, and the name of the Goddess centered in the border at the bottom of the card. 


One of the stand out images of the deck for me hit me right out of the box. It was Sheela Na Gig, a spiritual entity of protection, which represents the 0 Fool card. The image on the card, which is true to the existing sculptural representations throughout the U.K., features a figure holding open a gaping vagina. Yes, I said the "V" word. The meaning is "Dare to come back to whare you began." I cannot even begin to describe the power of the imagery and meaning of this card. Here's my attempt at just one of the levels this card connected to me on. Many people believe that we have a truly ethereal connection with the Universe before we are born and through the trauma of birth, we "forget" or abandon this connection as we learn to cope with things in the physical realm of humanity. Some of us, the lucky ones, feel the draw back to our spiritual connections, like salmon compelled to return to their origins to spawn. Some of us struggle with letting go of the human realm that we know to be "birthed" again in the opposite direction, reinstating the ethereal and spiritual connections that we lost. Wow… and that was the FIRST card I saw in the deck! 

Another great card among all the other great cards is Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Resurrection, and is the Goddess portrayed on the XX Liberation (Judgment) card. The meaning she brings is "The past is not forgotten, yet life begins anew." Powerful stuff on a whole lot of levels. Every card in the deck is the the same, a lot of meaning on a lot of levels.

This is a powerful, insightful deck that I see being used with very specific clients and for a reader's own personal work as it brings intensive energies to bear. 

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