New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, the Sevens

Little Baron

Now, first off, I notice that we have very feminine cards depicted here. We have four 'women' shown - one being a mermaid. I suppose it might make sense [sterotypically] that the sevens relate to emotion [in Netzach] as women are often [stereotypically] more inclined to show their emotional side than men. Emotions are shown as they merge with each element. Since Netzach is a hot vessel, characters such as Erzulie la Flambeau become hotter.

In Erzulie La Flambeau, as our first example, flames burn on a more intense heat than the others. They are doubled in the fact that they are fire of fire.
She is a bush fire. Her energy is rage. This is one loa that I would not want to get on the wrong side of.

Erzulie La Fambeau dances or stamps in the picture. She stamps on what looks like corn. We are told that she is the Corn Mother. Her dance provides food. Furiously, she dances and holds two knives. We are told she can grind corn or those who eat it, so I expect that the corn could be used as a metaphor for those that might do her wrong. With her fury, as an opponant, you may very well come off worse for crossing her. Of course, this does not make her bad. We all have moments, when provoked, where we get so angry we want to cause someone else to hurt - whether we kick a door or say a hurtful word to another. For me, this is that moment. Sheer rage. And connected with emotions, for I feel that Ezulie La Flambeau hurts too. It is that emotional hurt which causes her to dance in such a manner. We could look at this card as releasing emotion so that it does not continue to hurt us. That might just be 'it shown swirling around her in greens and yellows.

In the book, we are told 'Rage and hate binds you to your object as closely as does great love'. This may be a card of jealousy and revenge, maybe, depending on when and where it shows in readings.

So, so far, we have emotion shown as fire in it's bluntest and strongest form. It is it's most intense in Erzulie La Flambeau. It is passion that is strong enough to kill.

In water, we have a more calming approach. The emotion of Netzach is teamed with the water it understands. So there is also a little doubling up here as like meets like. It is so extreme that it engulfs us and is depicted by La Sirene literally being submerged within it's depths. She is in the womb of the ocean. In the book, we are told that she is a bridge. A bridge between what lays beneath the waves and those on dry land, so we understand that she is connection - emotional connection. Like other mermaids, we might link her call of seduction to the general attraction or emotional understanding between two people. She is a link. She bridges gaps. In terms of divination, Glassman tells is that the card could indicate a marraige.

But we also understand that the call of the siren can often be deceptive. We know the myths of mermaids calling to men from their rocks. Sailors would be captivated by them and the calls of the beautiful sirens would bring their boats crashing into the rocks and bringing them to their deaths. As much as being a beautiful emotive connection, La Sirene need also handled appropriately, like Erzulie La Flambeau. In this, I see a link to the RWS card - also based on illusion. When I have read this card before, it was in a reading about a friend who was having an affair. La Sirene showed up as her husband. Intuitively, I saw that he was submerged within his own emotional contact and unable to see what was really going on, under his nose [the whale in the background] - that his wife [La Beleine] was having an affair. I also related traditional interpretation to this, showing that he was under the illusion of his own making and possibly didn't want to acknowledge that anything might be wrong.

Erzulie Freda represents tears. They fall from her eyes and produce a river on which a small boat sails. Think of element, this might be where over-analysing an emotional situation could result in deep upset. Emotion has no grounding here. Emotions may be irrational and fly from one place to another. For me, I see this card as 'getting yourself into an emotional state'.

But for some, this is relevant. It might resolve emotional issues by finding ways to release them. Wheras Erzulie La Flambeau stamps on those that cause her pain, Erzulie Freda tries to cry her pain away.

In Santeria, we find Oshun. I like this one. Lovely colours.

Oshun is a goddess of love. Where emotions can be fiery and passionate, emotional and over-thought or shared with the heart, here, they are productively grounded in the earth. There is no rage. No tears. She has grounded her emotions. She takes stock of her 'love' in the same way as the guy in the 'Seven of Pentacles' tends to the fruit on his bush in the RWS. It appears to be a very nurturing card. But one that is physical. I think it represents actual physical acts of emotion - helping someone, making a move towards someone you love.


Grip Dellabonte

These four already feel like I can get a hold on them better than the last group.

Adding to what you've already covered, the intro said these four cards point to movement, particularly of an internal nature. And the subheading for Netzach is emotion, like you said, LB. So I think the general interpretation in a reading might be internal movement of an emotional nature.

The first card is Erzulie la Flambeau I see everything you said about her. But I also like that she is the one that takes negative energy and turns it into something good. They make the comment in one place that construction comes out of destruction. Also it takes the violent act of crushing the corn to make food.
I get the image of the national forests doing controlled burning - which seems destructive - but it clears away dead brush so that a bigger fire doesn't rage and destroy things that are really important.
I think when her card appears its a message that an event or a change in belief is going to be swift and possibly emotionally negative but even though it will appear to be bad in the beginning when everything settles, one will see the good that came out of it.
However, I was a good pupil and one time you asked me to read some of the other posts around the site where you and others had been discussing the Voodoo deck. You had given a reading to a person where Erzulie la Flambeau actually showed up in a relationship spread, and she represented a woman who felt she'd been wronged (and the consequences of that belief). I thought that reading was dead on! In dissecting that reading a little further I think it was good for two reasons: one, because it felt accurate in the reading AND later the person you were reading for said it fit the situation perfectly, and two, the outcome was emotional, negative, and violent (not physically but I believe angry words had been exchanged). In the end the querent believed "something positive" could come out of it because the air had been cleared. I think that whole interchange worked well with this card.

La Sirene (There's that whale again!). My first thought about this card was that the water looks pretty churned up. But her hands looks like they're drawing little patterns in the waves - so she's in control of her emotions. There is movement, but it's slower and gentler.
This may become one of my absolute favorite cards in this deck. She is the bridge, like you said. She is a mediator. She is half land animal, half water animal.
As a sea creature she can go to the depths of the ocean or live just as easily on the surface. As the books says, she goes to the bottom and learns secrets of the deep from La Baleine and takes these secrets to Agwe whose main province is on top of the water. So, she can be empathic because she understands the full spectrum of emotion.
She is the keeper of the sacred Voodoo music, so she is a bridge between the melody and the lyric, the music and the word.
Her positive aspect is that she is understanding where emotions are concerned. So in a reading she would either be a person one could turn to who would lend a kind ear, or the card could be saying a situation warranted a more gentle, understanding approach.
However, she IS a siren. So I could see that in a more "challenging" reading, her understanding of how to use emotions as tools for her personal gain could be an issue, too!
Still, I can see myself using this card as a meditation aid just for her empathic abilities alone...

Erzulie Freda Dahomey: She is a bit harder to grasp. She sits at her vanity table gazing into one small mirror while a bigger one is right beside her. This suggests to me that she may ask questions of her mirror ( a la Snow White) but she is not ready for the whole answer - the big picture - so she takes what she can handle in the smaller picture.
The description does talk of Erzulie's emotional dream world. She would like her dreams to come to pass but her thoughts and her emotions fly all over the place. It's difficult to get them to materialize because she doesn't think them all the way through all the time.
Erzulie has the potential to do and be something that she's dreamed about, but when she "awakens" to reality she is still the same. So she cries to vent her frustrations. But in the crying comes healing - catharsis - as they say. There's still emotional movement in this card but it's not violent and swift like Erzulie la Flambeau.
If I were to see this card in a reading my initial reaction would be that whatever the querent was asking about, it had potential but it is destined to remain a dream unless more firm steps were made to make it a reality.

Oshun - Well she seems a bit coquette-ish, doesn't she?? With her little fan and her Sunday-go-to-meetin' gloves....!
I think this is one of the more straightforward images in the deck - and I like her a lot, too. She looks to be very happy and, is also self-confident given that direct gaze.
If this card was to come up for someone in a reading, I would think it would be a good sign that whatever the person was asking about was going to have positive results.
The love aspect can't be denied, though, since Netzach is also the place of Venus. So it could indicate a happy romantic union....

Little Baron

You read these cards SOOOO well, Grip. You have added so much to my understanding. I really feel I have a better hold on them, after your response.

I had forgotten that reading. I will have to go back and take a look. Better still, I might have to print out all of these threads at some point, or make notes in my journal.

I am so pleased that we are getting something out of this deck. It really does prove how usable it is and sticks two fingers up to all of the pack's many critics.


Grip Dellabonte

Ha! Two fingers! You know I have a bit of Erzulie la Flambeau in doesn't flare often but I do have a flashpoint and a bit of a temper. Luckily, I have the gift of the two-fingered salute - "gift" because around here most people think I'm flashing them the peace sign, and also because that always gets me laughing and I can't stay mad after that.

But I got off the's too bad this deck hasn't gotten more credit. The more I work with it the deeper I think it is.

In your last paragraph I think you pegged it perfectly. Nobody else may get anything out of this deck, but the two of us who each might have questioned whether or not we were wise to begin with in purchasing it have both been pleased that our instincts paid off.

My sister and I are doing a spread off this board (I apologize to whoever came up with it because I can't cite them at the moment) where we determine...well, it's basically a relationship spread. We determine what we bring to the deck and what the deck brings to us. Eventually we have been able to figure out the main thrust of most of our decks.
For instance it appears that while I can use the Revelations deck for anything, its greatest strength in working with me concerns adversarial relationships. I can't wait to do a spread with the Voodoo deck and see where its main strength with me lies. My initial guess would have been that it would be my shadow-side deck. But I get so many healing and soothing senses from it now, that I don't think that's the direction it will go!

I also am going to print up a whole file on our studies. There's just too much here that's too good to summarize. I want all of our comments!

Little Baron

I understand what you mean. I am not sure what relationship I have with this deck. I also saw it as dark to begin with, but as I get to know it, it lightens and lightens. I think it has a lot to do with looking at the cards and making up your own mind before reading up on them. For example, I felt quite bad for judging 'Ogoun Ferraile' before taking the time to understand him. From the picture, I thought he might be a trouble-maker, so it was nice to find out that he was a good soldier. And I think a lot of people look at the deck in this way. They ignorantly decide that it is not tarot because it doesn't look like tarot [even though they can quite easily relate to decks with marching faeries and alien-like elves that have no rhyme or reason]. People also think of what Hollywood movies have passed on with relation to Voodoo and take this as gospel. It is incorrect. Many would not even bother to find out that the deck actually comprises two different religions - the other being Santeria. I think that it is this ignorance that gets the deck a bad wrap on one part, even though I appreciate that some Voodoo practitioners may not like the forcing of Kabbalah into the equation or see some of the spirits in a different way to how they are depicted here.