I’ve worked with Tori Hartman’s Chakra Wisdom Oracle cards since 2014 when it was first published, and the oracle deck is lovely. So I’ve been greatly anticipating the release of Chakra Wisdom Tarot. The Chakra Wisdom Tarot presents a fresh, contemporary, and innovative Western interpretation of the Eastern chakra correspondence traditions.
An understanding of Hartman’s interpretive approach might help lend context to both the Chakra Wisdom Tarot and her previous Chakra Wisdom Oracle cards. Hartman is a psychic and she approaches cartomancy as a magnifying tool for clairvoyance and claircognizance. A near-death experience over 20 years ago awakened clairvoyant and claircognizant abilities within her, transforming her life purpose. Since then, she has been a teacher of the spiritual and metaphysical arts. Once you understand the defined scope of Hartman’s approach, her cards and even her chakra interpretations make a lot more sense.
In the first grouping of cards, color-coded red for the First Chakra, as it’s referred to in this deck and book set, or Muladhara, relates to “The Route Taken.” These 11 cards center around the theme of family beliefs and shifting old ideas (per the guidebook). The element is Earth and in terms of planetary correspondences, Hartman attributes the First Chakra to the Sun, which is a provocative interpretation.
There are many surprising assignments in the deck, which I appreciate because they push the limitations of my preconceived notions. For example, the Ace of Cups is assigned correspondence to the root chakra. While that may be a significant divergence from my classical understanding of the tarot and my native Eastern metaphysical practices with the chakra systems, it’s certainly groundbreaking and revolutionary. I like when deck creators walk toward the cutting edge, and Chakra Wisdom Tarot certainly does that.
So how does one go about integrating chakras and the tarot? Hartman has taken on the challenge fearlessly. Here, the popularized seven-chakra system when blended with the architecture of tarot produces color-coded sets of 11 cards into 7 groupings, for a total of 77 cards assigned to the 7 chakras, while The World card features all the chakra-corresponding colors, i.e., rainbow-bordered.
The card back design also works for the deck’s aesthetics. It’s in the digital art style with a starburst of white light at the center, featuring an array of the chakra colors. It isn’t reversible per se, but even if you read with reversals, this particular card back design shouldn’t present too much of a problem.
Hartman teaches a powerful and intuitive card reading technique, which I describe as talking story. Her cards are intended to be vision-inducing scrying boards and to that purpose, are potently effective. When you work with Chakra Wisdom Tarot, approach each card in the reading as a blank slate and let a story unfold from the imagery on the card. What is happening as depicted on the card? Why are the main figures in the card wielding the sacred tools or symbols that they are? How does the color correspondence on the card make you feel?
Above you’ll find the grouping of tarot that Hartman attributes with the Second Chakra, or Swadhisthana, i.e., the Sacral Chakra, which in planetary correspondences under her system is the moon. I also like the short titles of each card provided in the guidebook. For example, the Two of Coins is “The Card of a New Vision.” The Two of Wands is “The Card of a Magical Manifesting.” The Nine of Wands is “The Card of Igniting Inner Fire.”
What I appreciate about Chakra Wisdom as a tarot deck is how it challenges you to be a more psychic-intuitive reader. It’s an effective training tool for improving your clairvoyance and claircognizance. Integrating chakra wisdom, one that is inventive and more attuned to Western cultural perspectives, the cards can help to activate the inner energy bodies that amplify clairvoyance and claircognizance abilities.
The Third Chakra (not to be confused with the Third Eye Chakra), or Manipura, is also known as the Solar Plexus Chakra, which Hartman corresponds with the planet Mercury. Also, the three Major Arcana cards she assigns to the Solar Plexus Chakra is The High Priestess, The Hermit, and The Tower. The guidebook teaches us that the Third Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) is “where our gut instinct lies” and produces the “fight or flight reflex.”
I do like the card titles for the Three of Wands and Three of Swords, in comparative contrast with each other: the Three of Wands is “The Card of Intentional Thought” while the Three of Swords is “The Card of Painful Thought.”
The fantasy-inspired digital art in this deck is done by Swiss CGI illustrator Katarina Sokolova, giving the deck a sensual high fashion editorial aesthetic. You get the distinct vibe of haute couture meets Age of Aquarius lightworker glam. Sokolova’s art style impresses an ultra-feminine point of view to the cards, and so those who resonate with the New Age Divine Feminine are going to love Chakra Wisdom Tarot.
The cards bordered green correspond with the Fourth Chakra Anahata, or better known as the Heart Chakra. I’m intrigued here that the Wheel of Fortune card is attributed to the Heart. The corresponding planet for this grouping of 11 cards is Venus and the element is Air.
The Fifth Chakra Vishudha (or Throat Chakra) is color-coded blue and corresponds with the planet Mars. The element is Sound. Interesting! Here, I like the fresh approach to interpreting the Five of Cups and Five of Coins. The card title for the Five of Cups is “The Card of False Appearances,” which I think really works. The Five of Coins is “The Card of Moving On” (in the RWS deck, that’s the Five of Pentacles, with the indigents trudging through snow outside a church, with the stained glass window illuminated). I also find associating The Moon card with the Throat Chakra to be an interesting choice.
In the grouping of Sixth Chakra Ajna cards (the Third Eye Chakra), corresponding with the element Light and planet Jupiter, includes among the Majors The Hierophant and The Hanged Woman, which again are innovative choices for chakra-to-tarot assignments.
Renaming Key 12 to The Hanged Woman (rather than The Hanged Man) is another interesting choice and reveals a theme I had noticed in the deck: it’s heavily feminine, with the majority of cards depicting women. Doing a quick tally, about 18% of the human figures depicted in the cards are male. So in terms of the thesis of the deck, it’s decidedly feminine.
The guidebook will be instrumental in laying the foundation for your understanding of Hartman’s approach to the chakras and how they are assigned correspondences to the tarot architecture. For instance, Key 6: The Lovers card in the Majors corresponds with the Seventh Chakra, or Crown Chakra, and according to the guidebook, the complete interpretation of The Lovers card here is rooted in desire, passion, and love. Other keywords offered for The Lovers include “clarity, enlightenment, knowing, cosmic consciousness, and union.” In reverse, this card indicates “divorce, disharmony, separation, opposition, disillusionment.” I do like how the guidebook provides both upright and reverse card meanings.
All things considered, I am obligated to point out that I’m surprised at the publishing house, Watkins, for not being more sensitive to current tarot and oracle card trends. For example, I have it on good word that several of the major tarot and oracle publishing houses these days explicitly convey to their deck creators that they want to see diversity representation in the cards. How amazing and compassion-filled is that! So I confess that it’s a bit peculiar that a major player like Watkins hasn’t yet gotten on board with the inclusivity movement.
Do I think Chakra Wisdom Tarot needed to feature a more diverse cast of human figures? No, I don’t think so. The point of view of the deck is definitively Western New Age, with the art style inspired by nouveau-Celtic and neoteric interpretations of Arthurian iconography syncretized with the chakra concept, so for this deck specifically, it all works out. If anything, the disproportionate representation of femininity in a deck premised around inner balance stood out more.
Overall, I’m a fan of Tori Hartman’s work and she brings an important, influential, and unique perspective to the world of tarot. If you enjoy the works of Collette Baron-Reid, James Van Praagh, Gabrielle Bernstein, or even the late Louise Hay, you’re going to get a lot out of Chakra Wisdom Tarot by Tori Hartman.
Order your copy of The Chakra Wisdom Tarot here.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255, “Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising,” I received the Chakra Wisdom Tarot from the publisher Watkins Publishing for prospective review. Everything I’ve said here is sincere and accurately reflects my opinion of the book.