This is an oldie but goodie, and I thought I’d share a walk-through of the deck now that collaborative tarot deck projects are gaining in popularity. I mean, like, every third deck launched on Kickstarter or through a crowd-funding campaign these days has been a collaborative deck. Which is very cool!
The Cosmos Tarot and Oracle is per the namesake– a two deck and book set, one deck being tarot and the other an astronomy-based oracle deck– that comes in a slim, handsome keepsake box.
The deck showcases modern constellations and celestial bodies in our universe, with many of those astronomical phenomena personified through classical mythology. These representations of our skies, in picture form, illustrated by over 100 different artists, produces a work of oracular potential.
The guidebook is superbly done. You have the images of the cards for quick reference, elemental correspondence, and for the tarot deck portion of the set, the tarot card correspondence, though here it can get interesting. For example, The Fool card in the tarot is associated with the element Fire in this deck, and the constellation Sagittarius. The Magician card is Aries.
The Lovers card corresponds with Water and the constellation Cancer, while The Chariot card isn’t Cancer, but Libra, corresponding with the element Air, and The Chariot card represents “arbitration, diplomacy, and achieving balance,” cards a more basic, unoriginal tarot reader might associate with the Justice card. =)
I do find the use of space, in terms of the graphic design layout, to be genius. You’ve got the tarot card correspondence up top for the tarot deck (for example, Phoenix above is Key XXI: The World card), plus you get three divinatory keywords to help with your readings, and the artist is given credit, with the byline in the bottom left corner.
While I don’t think I purchased this, I can’t recall whether this was sent to me as a gift or as a review deck, and I apologize to the sender for my hazy memory. It must have been years ago, though. I was sent this, and I guess it didn’t really make it onto my inner circle radar, or whatever you’d call it, and eventually, it moved into storage without ever being opened.
Earlier this year during a major spring cleaning event here in this household, I stumbled upon this deck and was intrigued! And so here we are. Discovering this deck years and years after its publication date.
The Minor Arcana suits are named after the four elements, and then numbered. So, for instance, above to the left you’ll see 7 of Water (I guess the Seven of Cups equivalent, but I don’t know for sure), and 8 of Water (Maybe Eight of Cups?). The 7 of Water correspond with the constellation Centaurus, and when you pull this card, it means “misdirected aggression” and “mistakes” or “pity.” The 8 of Water corresponds with the constellation Equuleus, for “hiding from judgement” and “insecurity.”
One more example– the 5 of Fire, which does give off very resonant Five of Wands vibes. The correspondence assigned here is Cygnus. When this card comes up, it means “keeping up appearances” and “tactical finesse.” Oh hmm. I’m starting to think I might be wrong about the Fire = Wands thing. Sorry about that.
The art styles showcased in this deck run the full spectrum. In just the examples of cards featured above, for instance, Coma Berenices and Ara feel like I’ve grabbed two cards from two totally different decks and smashed them together for this photo op.
Even more so than most collaborative tarot decks I’ve encountered, these cards are really a diversity of art styles, and no one is going to confuse the Cosmos Tarot and Oracle as being by a single individual. It feels like a chorus.
I do love how the concept here is to flesh out into pictorial forms the actual constellations. So, for instance, in the above snapshot of photos from the deck, you can see the gold “connect the dots” outline of each constellation, and then the scenic narrative the artist has envisioned for that constellation.
This deck set is a 78-card tarot deck plus a 22-card oracle deck, where you can use the Cosmos Tarot in tandem with the Cosmos Oracle. The Cosmos Oracle is intended to supplement by deepening the meanings of your readings with the Cosmos Tarot. (I’m citing that from the guidebook.)
I appreciate how much info is packed into the guidebook. I love that there are informative paragraphs on the myths that the cards are depicting, along with how to interpret the cards, upright and reverse. I love that the artists are prominently credited, and I can look up my favorite ones because their art website addresses are provided.
Here’s another snapshot of a guidebook page spread. I think this is from the Oracle deck section. A paragraph describing the celestial body inspiring that card is given, along with some fun astronomy trivia. The Jupiter card “holds influence over the art of conversation and contracts.” In traditional astrology I think that descriptive is more often associated with Mercury, but it can work as Jupiter, too. The next part definitely works as Jupiter– “In situations of political or social marketing, this card points to a boost of positive public support.”
Each card in the Cosmos Tarot and Cosmos Oracle deck set represents a cosmic or astral body, symbolic of how the universe has an influence over your mind, body, and spirit. I love how much insight, history, background info, and mythology the guidebook dedicates to each card entry.
And I’m really loving that Pyxis card for some reason (Page of Fire).
Collaborative decks can be hard to review or comment on, because they often lack a cohesive point of view, and they’re supposed to lack a cohesive point of view, because the whole point is to showcase many different voices. It then becomes a question of, are the voices working in concert with each other, in harmony, or do the voices feel like some are speaking over others, and there are too many variances.
Here, the astrology/astronomy theme worked well as the connective tissue tying these cards together. I also think it was a good call on the part of the hosting creators of this deck set to include keywords, because it enables these two decks to be operable for total beginner card readers.
The sense I got from the totality of these cards, though, isn’t that they represent interpretations of the solar system from Earth, but rather, we are looking at the constellations and the celestial features of our solar system from many different occupied planets. Yes, as in this deck feels interplanetary.
Collaborative decks are always fun to collect. And what’s even cooler about this one is it’s like getting two indie decks for the price of one. =)