The Mary-El Tarot by Marie White, has been a long time coming, but well worth the wait. Over 10 years in the making, Author and Artist Marie describes her journey during the decks creation as her magnum opus, spiritual education, and obsession.
Please join me as I embark on my own journey through the Landscapes of the Abyss, with help from the Mary-El.
Author & Artist – Marie White
Copyright 2012 by Marie White
Publisher – Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
ISBN – 978-0-7643-4061-1
The deck itself is like having my very own personal art gallery. The detailed imagery in each and every card has the ability to draw me into their depths. What better way to navigate in the Abyss than with the companion book, Landscapes of the Abyss? White’s definition of the abyss is: most simply, but not only, introspection – looking within yourself. The Abyss is the world of life and death we jump into as the fool so we can experience all of this glorious beautiful life.
In part V, Using Tarot, you will find several great spreads to try. There is a 3 card daily reading spread; a Relationship Spread; Yes or No Spread; Past-Life Spread; and Tetractys Spread. I’d like to share the Past-Life spread and you can see first hand how beautifully these cards communicate.
The Past-Life Spread
From the book: Use this spread to explore ideas of having a past life and how it is affecting you now in your present life.
Card 1: Who were you? Who were you in a past life? I would specify that this is the most significant past life, the one that has the most bearing and affect on who you are now and the life you have now. You could also specify the oldest, or the most current.
Card 2: What was your Pleasure? What gave you the greatest pleasure in this life? What was your greatest love and joy?
Card 3: What was your Disappointment? What was your biggest disappointment? Your greatest fear or tragedy?
Card 4: Unfinished Business. What went unfinished in that past life that is affecting your life now?
Card 5: Advice. What would your past life like to tell you now in the present? What does it want you to pay attention to? Keep in mind? Work towards? A message from your past life.
In my most significant past life I was a wounded healer. Able to teach and heal others, but never able to quite heal myself. The beautiful unicorn wears the key of Chiron. Chiron was a great tutor of Greek Mythology who was a learned scholar and great healer who was never able to heal himself.
My greatest pleasure was in being a messenger of hope. (a quote White uses for the Star…“You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.” ~Nietzsche) Possibly the chaos in my soul was unable to give me comfort, but made it possible for me to bring it to others.
My disappointment is represented by the Page of Cups whose strength is unconditional love both for self and others, and non judgment. I don’t believe that as a healer and a bringer of hope that my ability to love wasn’t there, just where loving myself was concerned. For whatever reason this was something I was unable to overcome and therefore felt unworthy enough to heal myself.
Unfinished business? My present life is centered in ‘transformation’. (Death) In my past life however, I believe that was the exact opposite. The Mary-El 4 of Wands is all about the fire. The fire of passions, creativity, sex drive, libido, the fiery essence of life force. The ability to burn away the old life or self and use its power and energy to fuel the next part of your life. “Also, a fiery demon you will battle, you and your life going up in flames and being dragged down into hell. Don’t worry! You can and will triumph when the old you is released and you transform!” (pg. 90)
What advice and message from this past life to the present? The King of Swords is a warrior, both physically and mentally. He has faced many battles and has the battle scars to show for it. He is confident in himself and his abilities, and although he shows the marks of a hardened soldier, he has not allowed that to make him bitter. His energy is strong and true, his focus unwavering, and he has overcome any unfounded fears and doubts. Well, that’s a lot to live up to, but, I’m giving it my best shot.
Wow! Wow! and Wow!
The companion book is 192 pages of delightfulness. Each of the 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana are illustrated in black and white with a detailed description, keywords for upright and reverse orientation, and keywords for traditional divinatory meanings. It’s a volume of poetry, quotes, history, mythology, philosophy, spiritualism, of birth, of life and death, and every thing else in between.
The images are framed by a black border and each card measures approx. 3 3/8 x 5.5 inches. The backs are reversible. Being a little over sized make them more difficult to shuffle, but on the other hand, the larger canvas gives the expansive artwork plenty of room to express itself. On each canvas I noticed a symbol, an upside-down triangle within a circle, usually in plain view, but then I found myself looking for it where it was not immediately noticeable. I asked Marie about the significance of this symbol. Did it hold a special meaning for her? This was her reply:
“The triangle in a circle is what I use for a signature. It was a symbol I was always fascinated with, I dreamed about it as long as I could remember and I had no idea what it meant at first. I know now its a pretty widely used occult symbol for water probably because it is so feminine in relation to fire and the upside down triangle resembles womens genitalia. At first I used it on everything but as time went on I started tucking it away more in the painting and sometimes left it out altogehter. I think because I felt that the work wasn’t mine alone but more something that came through me not just from me.” ~Marie
Thanks for sharing this with us, Marie. Even though we know you have put your blood, sweat, and tears into each and every painting, this symbol gives them a personal touch we can actually see.
The Mary-El Tarot is based on the traditional old Marseille, the mystical Rider Waite, and the occult Thoth, the three pillars that have upheld and fed the modern Tarot structure. The suits include, Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks. The court consists of Page, Knight, Queen, and King. The Major Arcana have retained traditional titles and in the Journey-of-the-Fool, Justice is visited at the number VIII position and Strength at XI.
This book and deck kit come together in a beautifully designed, very sturdy, signature Shiffer box that is perfect for storage and safe keeping when they’re not in use.
I have been spending some time in the gallery of the Abyss and I know I have only scratched the surface in what is yet to be discovered.
Here are a few more examples that I find particularly intriguing. All of the images can be seen at this link, but, the very best way to experience them is up close and personal. So, get your very own copy today. I highly recommend it!