Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Times of India

Divine your future

Nandita Sengupta Aug 15, 2011, 09.44pm IST

(Divine your future )

The Sacred Indian Tarot
By Kiren Rai

Illustrations: Zoe Collington & Team

Pages: 101; 22 cards
Click to read the full article
It is said that a deck of Tarot cards must reach you. So when The Sacred India Tarot, which the author says is the first 'Indianised' version of the ancient divining tool, came to me, it was a pleasant surprise and almost on cue, a dozen questions welled up in my mind. So, without wasting any time, the pack was opened quickly. After much sighing over the illustrations, I got down to the serious business of seeing whether it worked.

For the passionate follower of Tarot, the Major cards are where the action is. And to them one returns through all the twists and turns, ups and downs in life, as much for prediction as for perspective, a grip on unfolding circumstances. On the fun side, you can turn to Tarot also when you're bored — nothing beats the question of what makes life so incredibly dull.
Apart from the real direction a perceptive reader can find, the pleasure of handling the cards — the fun part of Tarot, may be why no other divining tool can claim to be so popular across the world. The illustrations burst with symbolism, and every person will 'connect' with a deck of her choice and temperament.

This is where the set of Indianised cards, with the 22 cards of the Major Arcana alone, deftly steps in. The structure and card names remain the same, only the symbols are Indian. The symbolism is drawn, writes the author, from the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, Upanishads and the Mahabharata. So the High Priestess is Shakti; the Empress, the mother goddess Shasthi; Death is a flamboyant Yamraj in black and gold. The lovers are Radha-Krishna and the Judgement card shows a metal Buddha statue almost as a watermark in a sweep of blue.
Though totally irrelevant to this review, I must add that my favourite illustrations were the Magician (Usha, the goddess of dawn), the Hermit (sage) and Temperance (Ardhnariswara) and the Tower Card (Qutub Minar would never have dreamt it will find itself on a Tarot card).
Although no names are given for the illustrators, the cards have been made with true Tarot aesthetism. In her acknowledgment, Rai thanks her illustrators and names graphic designer Zoe Collington for "so beautifully translating my thoughts into form".
Now to the deck. It is said that Tarot cards must be handled with care and respect, that you must allow yourself to be comfortable and familiar with the pack of 22 before you get down to interpret what the cards are saying. Once the initial play is harmonised, I followed basic card spreads. The book is simply written and easy to follow. And that is perhaps the only quibble about this Tarot deck.

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