Author: Laura Tuan
Artist: Massimo Rotundo
Book and Cards Set
Publisher: Llewellyn (Lo Scarabeo)
Publication date: June 2003
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The Native American Cards are a small Tarot-like divination deck based on Native American symbolism. The artist, Massimo Rotundo, did a nice job. The artist has a soft pastel touch that makes some of the cards seem somewhat otherworldly. As the cards are smaller than the average size of divination decks, Rotundo has less space to work with. However, with a few exceptions, he makes good use of what space he has.
There are only thirty-three cards in this deck, far fewer than in a Tarot deck. Combined with the smaller card size, this makes the Native American Cards a good choice for someone with small hands -- provided they don't mind the smaller symbol set. The deck is made up of a card for the heavens, a series of twelve cards devoted to totem animals, a series of seven cards depicting deities selected from a number of tribal pantheons, a series of twelve cards showing ritual objects, and a Shaman card. Some of the animal and deity cards have particularly nice art.
This deck comes with a 48 page 4 by 6 inch booklet describing the cards and how to read them. The print is fairly small, but this is still a somewhat thin book for completely new system. The author, however, does make good use of the available space. The book starts out with a one page description of the deck, just over half a page on using the deck (including consecrating and consulting it), and about two thirds of a page on each of the two four-card spreads used throughout the rest of the book. (Eight additional spreads are briefly described in the last four pages of the book.) The remainder of the book is devoted to the cards. On average, each card receives a page and a quarter of description and divinatory information. Each card is pictured and its symbolism, teachings, general divinatory meaning, and time for realization are described. Then specific divinatory guidelines are provided for the card in each of the four positions it could fall on in the two spreads discussed in the introduction.
This deck really doesn't impress me all that much. I suspect that the reason it does not is a combination of the small symbol set (only thirty-three cards) and the fact that Native American symbolism just does not speak to me. It is, however, a nice deck for collectors, for those who have trouble handling full-sized Tarot cards, and for those who like Native American symbolism. The accompanying book is concise, but there probably is enough information in it for someone who has never read cards before to look to read with this deck. The "guided interpretations" given for each card in two spreads are a huge help in this. The small type size may be a problem for some people.
Reviewed by Randall