Dreams of Gaia Tarot: A Tarot For a New Era, by Ravynne Phelan
Llewellyn Publications, 9780738763612, 308 pp., 2019
Ravynne Phelan is a writer and professional illustrator. She has been painting since 2000. She is also the creator of the Messenger Oracle. She is currently working on a dragon oracle deck and several colouring books.
The beautiful Dreams of Gaia Tarot: A Tarot for a New Era was 10 years in the making, and the love and care that Phelan put into it are revealed in every last detail. This is a larger than average tarot deck. Each card measures 13 cm x 8.5 cm. The cards are printed on quality stock with a glossy finish. Each card has a visually stunning image on the front, framed in black. At the bottom of each card is the symbol of the suit element and the number or name of the card. The back of each card has a fractal symbol on a starlit background, framed with a gold band. The deck comes in a gift box along with a 307 page guidebook.
“Dreams of Gaia Tarot is for those who desire unity in themselves, their relationships, and between heaven and earth. It is for those who wish to explore and develop a deeper understanding of self, as well as those who seek to commune with the spirit realms and the Divine,” writes Phelan.1 This quote from the opening of the guidebook perfectly sums up the ethos behind the creation of this deck, and it does not disappoint.
The deck differs from a traditional tarot deck in the major arcana. The Dreams of Gaia Tarot has 24 major arcana cards, instead of the traditional 22. It also has some new characteristics such as Destiny, Abundance, and Perception. The four suits of the minor arcana are also different. These are air, water, fire, and earth.
Each card is a delight in itself, with sensual images and vibrant colours. For example, card XXII, Intuition, depicts a cloaked woman sitting on a golden throne. In her right hand, she cups a sphere. Inside the sphere is the cosmos. Sitting atop the sphere is an owl. In the foreground, there is a spider’s web which contains a spider and a full moon. This is the card of the unconscious mind and intuitive skills and feelings.
The Dream of Gaia guidebook it one of the most in-depth tarot guides I have come across, and it has four to five pages dedicated to each card. For major arcana cards, the meaning and significance is explained in several categories: general meaning, present, past, future, and when the card is a potential blockage (reversed or in the blockage position in some spreads). For the major arcana, each card has a detailed general meaning and potential blockage meaning.
The guidebook also describes several tarot spreads. There is a one-card guide spread and a three-card union spread. More detailed spreads include the Dreamers spread which explores the subconscious and the Dreaming Tree spread that extends into the past and the future.
The Dreams of Gaia Tarot is one of the most beautiful and unique tarot decks I have seen in several years. Phelan’s artistic talent and spiritual influence have combined to make a stunning tarot deck like no other. I love the way she has replaced the traditional suits with the elements of earth, air, fire, and water. This elemental touch adds to the whole enchantment of the deck. The revamped major arcana is also easy to relate to because the cards focus on figures or characteristics which are immediately accessible through the images. This makes it a great deck for beginners.
Experienced tarot readers will also enjoy this deck because the detailed images lend themselves to meditation and divination. I particularly enjoyed working with the Dreamers spread. As well as past, present and future, this spread explores the subconscious and the conscious minds. It also helps to unveil repression and to provide a guide to help resolve any issues.
I would definitely recommend this deck to anyone with an interest in the tarot, both beginners and more experienced readers. The Dreams of Gaia Tarot particularly lends itself to tarot readers who like to delve into cards which hade detailed symbolism, which can reach deep into the subconscious.
- p. 9 [↩]