While there is already at least one Tarot dedicated to various goddesses (Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Tarot), the Universal Goddess Tarot is a wonderful and unique edition to the Tarot universe. The deck was created by Maria Caratti (Wicca Divination Kit) and illustrated by Antonella Platano (Gay Tarot and Witchy Tarot).
Each card depicts a unique goddess, who nearly always captures the traditional RWS meaning. Isis, for example, is featured on the High Priestess card, and Latona is on the 5 of Chalices. Sometimes the choice is non-intuitive, such as Demeter as the Magician or Pandora on the 4 of Chalices. But, a closer examination of their myths generally proves them to a good fit. The goddesses chosen for the Major Arcana are as follows:
- The Fool – Lan Tsai-Ho
- The Magician – Demeter
- The High Priestess – Isis
- The Empress -Astarte
- The Emperor – Athena
- The Hierophant – Aditi
- The Lovers – Venus
- The Chariot – Eos
- Justice – Maat
- The Hermit – Hecate
- The Wheel – Arianrhod
- Strength – Ishtar
- The Hanged Man – Frigg
- Death – Kali
- Temperance – Anahita
- The Devil – Lilith
- The Tower – Morrigan
- The Star – Pleiades
- The Moon – Selene
- The Sun – Amaterasu
- Judgement – Ceridwen
- The World – Gea (Gaea)
A complete list of goddesses featured in the deck can be found here.
Ms. Caratti has not chosen to rename any of the Major Arcana, although the Wheel of Fortune has been shortened to The Wheel. Strength is XI and Justice is VIII, as in most Lo Scarabeo decks. The suits are Wands, Chalices, Swords, and Pentacles. The names of the goddesses are not on the cards, but they are included in the LWB. The LWB has a couple of lines for each card, introducing its goddess and a few of her characteristics. Be aware, however, that the LWB does not provide card meanings. They can, generally, be picked out of the provided lines.
The card artwork is in Antonella Platano’s attractive comic book-like style. I believe, however, that this deck is much better illustrated then her Witchy Tarot. The figures and backgrounds appear more detailed, and symbols associated with each goddess are plentiful.
The cards themselves are the standard Lo Scarabeo size, being long and somewhat thin. The card stock is very thin, which makes me concerned about how will these cards will stand up over time. They have a slightly glossy finish, and are not too badly effected by glare from nearby lights. They are labelled with a number and name (for the Major Arcana) or suit (for the Minor Arcana) in six languages, as is standard in Lo Scarabeo decks.
Overall, I am very happy with this deck. It has quickly become one of my favourites, both due to the artwork and the to how well suited the goddesses are for each card. The thinness of the card stock is a real disappointment, though. I suspect I will have to use the cards gingerly to ensure they last a long time. I would also love to see a companion book for this deck. Ms. Caratti has a page on her website about the High Priestess card, which looks to me like an excellent start to such a book.
The Universal Goddess Tarot is available in two editions: the standard edition with just the deck and LWB, and the deluxe edition which includes a lovely velvet bag embroidered with a large triquetra and borders of Triple Goddess symbols. (See picture above.)
Maria Caratti’s website can be found at mariacaratti.com.
Summary of Features
# of Cards: 78
Reversable Backs: Yes
Symbol Inspiration: RWS (Rider-Waite-Smith)
Suits: Wands – fire, Swords – air, Chalices – water, Pentacles – earth
Size: approx. 12 cm x 6.5 cm (approx. 4.7″ x 2.6″)
Rating: 4.5 – A beautiful and intuitive if one is familiar with the various goddesses depicted; thin card stock is worrying; may be difficult for beginners unfamiliar with either Tarot or the goddesses