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Aura Wolf  Aura Wolf is offline
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Join Date: 20 Sep 2002
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I would love to see a review and/or some more images from this one!
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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The deck arrived and I'm duly off to start writing down my impressions. However, I'll write a review only after some readings when I get a feeling for the deck.

The cardstock feels lovely and smooth, not thin, not thick, it's matte and flexible and feels just fine. Unobtrusive, just the way cardstock should feel.

But remember: my cardstock tolerance is immense :-) and I'm not overly critical.

It's easy to shuffle although it's still a bit too slippery, I have to break it in. But the cards don't stick to each other (which I dislike although it also disappears after use). It fans very nicely.

My first impression is very good, I'm so glad I bought it.

ETA: Am I really the only one here who bought it? Out of the woodwork, friends!
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Starshower  Starshower is offline
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Are the skies shown visible from the northern hemisphere?
I ask because I was disappointed to discover that the Celestial Tarot depicted southern hemisphere constellations which I can't see from the UK. Thanks.
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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I confess that I disagree. I think one of the strong points of the Celestial is the emphatic inclusion of Southern constellations. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to see references in so many books, websites and card decks ONLY to Northern constellations. I read a lot of books about stars and find it exasperating myself. Shouldn't Australians be able to use the same decks as we Northerners do?

From the UK, you see relatively few constellations because you're up North. You never the the complete Scorpio for example. Nevertheless, it's an important constellation and a zodiac sign. I can see Canopus, you can't, and I can never see the Cross of the South but Nisaba can. And isn't that wonderful? I'd love to go by ship to Australia and see Ursa Maior sink into the sea... and Polaris... and I love the idea of having a deck that relates to all points on earth.

We're on this Earth, and if there's one thing that's universal, it's the fact that we're small in comparison to the cosmos around us. And that's why I love to see all constellations considered because they're all there.

But I can understand it's frustrating, I'd love to see them all, all 88 of them, and seeing their pictures rubs it in. It took me some time to love the idea.

The Constellation tarot definitely uses constellations you don't see in the UK, like Horologium, Phoenix, Pavo and Centaur. Oh, but I checked, you can see Menkent, theta centauri, from the UK.

The Constellation deck uses actual constellations, stars and planets only in the majors, the minors are pip cards. I'll have to get the Celestial, too, because Kay Steventon uses constellations and stars for the minors, too.

The choices are a bit inconsistent. There are Northern constellations (Pegasus, Libra, Cetus, Capricornus), Southern constellations (as mentioned above), planets (Venus, Jupiter) and stars (Sirius, Polaris). There are also the Moon, Sun and Earth for their respective cards (Moon, Sun, World). Oh, and there's Halley's comet, too.

The creator of the deck doesn't really explain her choices. I'll have to study the deck a bit to find an opinion about her choices. She obviously thought about them a lot. And since there are 88 modern constellations, loads of planets and stars and comets, I can understand that the choice is difficult and personal.

I'd have preferred if there were celestial bodies on all the cards but I knew there are not, and thinking about it - the pip minors have their advantages, too. In too many decks, there is no real difference between minors and majors, and that waters down the archetypical power of the majors without really empowering the minors. Here, they are clearly different, and I like that.

I also work on my pip-reading skills, so I correct myself. I'm glad the deck is the way it is. It conveys beautifully the feelings when looking at the night sky, I like the technique (mix of water colours and wax pastels, I think), I even like the borders.
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Starshower  Starshower is offline
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Hello, Nemia. Thanks for your full & interesting reply / review.

I am glad that you enjoy having constellations that you don't actually see in the sky in your deck, knowing that they are visible from somewhere on earth, and are part of our experience as a species, if not individually. That's a lovely idea, indeed, though one I don't share when wanting a deck to actually read with and relate to my whole life's experience of star-gazing.

Of course, it would be great if Australians could find or create another deck featuring skies they can see! But since I am English, I too would like one relevant to us.

I have not had your experience of finding books, star-charts etc that omitted constellations that I could see - except in Tarot. Having been disappointed with the terribly complicated Celestial deck, with its difficult-to-trace, non-intuitive symbolic allusions, I have been looking out for a deck featuring skies I know intimately over decades, but so far have failed to find any. So I shall give this one a miss, since I was particularly hoping to find an astronomical deck that I & my friends could relate to personally & visually (rather than just in abstract theory.)
I have found it very frustrating never finding one thus far.
Here's hoping we all find what we are longing for!
Thank you again, and enjoy your lovely new deck!
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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Well, there is the Ptolemaic Constellations Oracle with all 88 modern constellations; you might use only those you know and can actually see. More beautiful is the Compendium of Constellations; again, the modern constellations and two clusters (iirc Hyades and Pleiades). These are on my list :-)

I use the Night Sky Playing cards as an oracle - and I think it has mostly Northern Hemisphere constellations, just a second, I'll check. Yes, I've seen all of the constellations in this deck, except for Scutum and Sextans.

It's a very simple deck and intended for card playing but I like it. I still didn't finish the oracle meanings I'm writing myself, based on myths and history of the constellations, but I can use it nevertheless. The only thing that I find disturbing is the idiotic pronounciation guide. Which is for English speakers, obvious. If you explain how to pronounce Latin names, why not explain it's Draaako and not Drayco? Otherwise let them say it how they want. Fortunately, the pronounciations are printed unobtrusively in a low-contrast colour.

Well, and the backs are unlovely.

There are two astronomical playing card decks on sale in British shops with motifs from the Urania atlas and another German star atlas, I think in HolisticShop.

Yes, the Celestial is too purple-pink-sparkly-murky for my taste, and the interpretations of the constellations run counter to how they appear in the skies. Why depict a swimming swan for Cygnus? Truly puzzling. You can't even recognize this most easily recognizable constellation on the card.

The Quantum - I don't know it but will sooner or later buy it. And the Light Grey Art Lab Cosmos deck looks great. Again, iirc, both have also Southern constellations.

But check out the Night Sky playing cards. They're cheap, they're simple and all the constellations are well known and recognizable, and I like the way the suits are associated with seasons. Hearts are spring constellations, Spades Summer, Diamonds Winter and Clubs autumn. The higher cards are the big guns of constellations, the lower cards the small, dim and difficult to find ones. Nice idea. But not tarot :-(
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Nemia  Nemia is offline
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Just fyi: I wrote a review for this deck which will, I hope, sooner or later appear here on AT. I looked a bit more closely at the deck and did some readings with it. I'm very glad I have it, it's interesting and the choice of constellations is intuitive-based-on-mythology, NOT Golden Dawn or anything else. I like that. The pip minors are quite easy to read, too. They're painted in a way that gives intuition quite a lot to chew on (colours, background, composition, brightness contrasts) without prescribing a narrative. I like that.

I'd like to hear from others who have this deck, too. It went so quietly under the radar - a pity actually.
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