Everyone has a type: a type of house you like; a type of food you don’t like; a type of clothing and music you like; and of course, a type of tarot deck you like, or don’t like, to read with.
Before, I was not a type who used collage decks much. Before, I was not a type who liked key words on her cards. But the operative word here is “before,” and typecasting got a reality check when Journey of the Sacred Bee came into my life. This deck is amazing, the art is amazing, and it’s an amazing reader for me.
I know next to nothing about sacred geometry and I would call myself an untrained but enthusiastic student of astrology. So given the nature of this deck, in which both disciplines are used, I wasn’t sure how well the deck would read for me. But as it turns out, it’s a great intuitive reader and not having knowledge in those areas doesn’t affect my ability to read with this deck or to appreciate it.
And how did my previous bias against collage-style weigh against this deck? Gone. With many collage decks out there I feel as though it’s a bit of a “Where’s Waldo?” to cut through all the images to get to the central meaning of the card. The message simply gets lost in all the layers. But this isn’t the case with Journey of the Sacred Bee. The visual message on each card is laser-focused, the eye is directly drawn to the main idea and the meaning is crystal clear.
If I had to describe this deck in one word, I would say “Luscious!” If I had to describe how it reads for me in one word, I would say “Bam!” It’s as powerful as it is pretty. With its high-quality matte card stock, its vibrant colors, and its brilliant turquoise edging, this borderless deck is like a long hike through an exotic, lush landscape filled with archetypes and iconic images.
Although the cards follow the Rider-Waite-Smith template, deck creator Kelly Burton adds an extra dimension with the key words in the Minors, which follow the Thoth. Burton makes just enough changes to the key words to successfully make a perfect fusion where the key words enhance the RWS-inspired imagery, and therefore become a help and not a hindrance in a reading. Another “type” notion gone.
Despite having the very specific theme of bees, I find it’s a great all-rounder. Not only does the deck speak to me when I read for myself, but I’ve also used it to read for four people and all four readings were spot on in both breaking down the issue(s), as well as advising how to overcome and understand obstacles. And despite having such a specific niche, the art resonated universally with all four querents.
I would be hard pressed to pick out favorite cards. It’s an unusual pleasure to be able to say that every card in a deck is a stunner, but I will spotlight a few: In the Majors there’s the mystical Priestess, the vintage Empress, the playful Lovers, the shamanic Hermit. In the Courts there’s the hot Knight of Cups (yeah, I said it, he’s hot), the mythical Queen of Disks, the majestic King of Swords, and the just plain awesome Queen of Wands. In the Minors there’s the evocative Two of Swords, the haunting Eight of Cups, the pained Nine of Swords, and my stalker card – the Three of Disks -- “Effort” “Mars in Capricorn” -- where a flower sends out its seeds or blossoms from a foundation of green disks. I personally am making some big changes in my life that are, at the moment, requiring much effort and a lot of Mars energy. Oh, and my Moon and Ascendant are in Capricorn.
I can’t recommend this deck enough. While the art is dazzling the messages are straightforward and direct. And if that’s not enough, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the deck go to The Bee Conservancy.
You can learn a lot working with this deck, it’s certainly opened doors in my mind that previously were closed and had limited my view of not only what can work, but what can make a deck great.