Kris Waldherr's beautiful, wondrous Tarot deck
Triumph, traditionally The World, featuring Ariadne and Dionysus
"Love, the most ecstatic of emotions"
So Kris Waldherr writes in her companion book to The Lover's Path Tarot. I first began using The Goddess Deck designed, drawn and created by Kris Waldherr, as an ancillary deck to the Rider-Waite® deck. It soon became and continues to be my main deck. I use the deck for readings for myself and other people and have found it to be a simple, yet intricate method of divining and exploring. In wondering what there is between and beneath and then, ultimately, beyond the details and importances of daily life, it has served as an illuminating tool in answering the questions posed.
I saw The Lover's Path Tarot in a store and, looking through the cards, was so moved and inspired by the gorgeous imagery and by the mythology and stories called up by both the Minor and Major Arcana. I brought it home and, with the help of the book that accompanied it, learned to read with that deck as well.
Kris Waldherr's words about the deck are below - they are instructive and revealing and offer a glimpse into the creative and romantic path that led to the creation of this beautiful deck. Taken from the Introduction in the companion book to the deck, what follows is an entrance into the magnificent world of this mystical deck.
All love relationships mirror our relationship with ourselves. They ultimately reflect upon our relationship with the world around us - how we think others see us, what we believe we are worthy of. Our beliefs about love relationships can even embody our thoughts about how we feel the universe nurtures and supports us.
This truth is a rewarding but complicated conundrum which all humans confront throughout their lives, for we are surrounded by relationships from our first breath. They begin with our dependence upon our parents for our very existence, and continue as we grow through our friendships. They reach perhaps their most intense expression in the magical, self-contained world of lovers.
In many ways, the ultimate expression of our connection to the world is to fall in love. Daring to love another brings us face to face with whatever is going on within ourselves, for better or for worse. It brings up our hopes about our lives, our fears of abandonment. Love can be viewed as the bravest act of all, for in order to be truly intimate, we must be honest in our vulnerabilities. As we reveal our innermost selves to our beloved with all of our imperfect glories, we are truly exposed in both body and soul.
Experienced authentically, love relationships offer the sweetest rewards and the thorniest challenges. They also present us with an unparalleled opportunity to gain awareness and wisdom.
Love, or the Lovers, featuring Isis and Osiris
Kris Waldherr's mystical journey in The Lover's Path Tarot begins with Innocence, traditionally The Fool. In Tarot, The Fool is a beautiful, adventurous card, not the typical connotations of the fool in American vernacular. This card, numbered zero, begins the innocent fool's journey on a brand-new path. Zero symbolizes the spiritual void that we all begin and end with, where everything and nothing exist. This heady emptiness and purity is grounded in the experiences of the next twenty-one cards of the Major Arcana. The twenty-two-card path ends in Triumph, the card numbered twenty-one, The World, the culmination of all the fool has learned, seen, and become. At the end of the journey, the fool has become more fully him or herself, and with innocence still intact, embodies deeply wrought and hard-earned strength, wholeness and love. In all life situations, romantic relationships the perfect example, we must begin as The Fool, stepping into the unknown to allow what our life is meant to be to manifest fully and beautifully.
Using couples from mythology and literature, Waldherr takes us through the intensely powerful and emotional story of what it takes to love another - the dedication, trust, faith and opening that occur when we truly give our heart to the one we love. The most amazing and constantly revelatory aspect of Tarot for me has been the way the cards always open up to allow for something else to occur - the alchemical process that happens when one reads is transcendent and magical. The best decks are the decks that form themselves again and again around themselves, in a circular labyrinth of interpretation, divination and grace. Grace is the gut instinct that comes to you, the increased beating in your heart when you know something deep within you. The evocative and moving pictures in The Lover's Path Tarot allow for this deep and graceful reading.
- Arielle Guy
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All images courtesy of Kris Waldherr, from The Lover's Path Tarot, and copyrighted as such.