The Sacred Circle Tarot

Deck by Anna Franklin and designer Paul Mason
© 1985 U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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The High
                Priestess in The Sacred Circle TarotQueen of Cups in The Sacred Circle
                Tarot3 of Wands in The
                Sacred Circle Tarot
The Moon
                in The Sacred Circle TarotPage of Swords in The Sacred
                Circle Tarot4 of Discs in
                The Sacred Circle Tarot

The Sacred
                Circle TarotThis is a beautiful set of Tarot cards, rich in detail, with stunning images that are done in digital collage and photography, with drawings blended in.  This deck remained one of my favorites for a very long time.  It's precisely done with beautiful photos of realistic people, surrounded by lovely landscapes. 

The Sacred Circle Tarot was published in the mid 80's, and I think it was one of the best of its kind in terms of the collage, drawing, and photography effects used at that time.  Things have come a long way in the past quarter century, but this was truly a brilliant and popular deck in its era.

Despite how long the Sacred Circle Tarot has been in circulation, it's still readily available on the market, as of this update in October 2011.  This is one that has not gone out of print as a lot of older decks tend to do. At least not yet anyway.

Anna Franklin and designer Paul Mason wanted to create a Tarot deck that would be rich in Pagan and mythological heritage of the British Isles and Ireland, using collages of photographic imagery.  According to Mason, "The final aim was to produce a tarot that had some of the naturalism of photography, but also had a magical realism that did justice to the subject." 

Through the use of modern computer imaging technology (modern at that time), they finally accomplished their dream, and I must say . . . What a beautiful success it turned out to be!

Although the deck is presented with a Pagan or Wiccan flavor, one does not have to be Wiccan or Pagan to read with this deck or to get a reading done with it.  It's a lovely deck that can work for most anyone.  In addition, this is a good deck for readers who use elemental aspects in readings.  The elaborate borders on each card vary in color according to the suit: 

  • Cups have a lavender-like shade with the appearance of flowing water on the borders, and this corresponds to the water element.
  • Wands are bordered in orange and red flames, corresponding to the element of fire.
  • Swords have a gold border with clouds to represent the air element.
  • Discs are done in a mossy green border, representing the earth element.


Also, the corners of the borders are formed into cornerstones with a celtic knot, which match the corresponding color of the rest of the card's border.

The Major Arcana cards are renamed in accordance with the Celtic Pagan Theme, but the titles are easily recognized by those who are experienced with Tarot symbolism.  The Minor Arcana include a one-word key meaning for each card.  They convey a generally accepted definition for each card, but certainly if one did not agree with the keyword offered, he or she could use a substitute that is more meaningful to them for that particular card.

I don't think this deck is geared toward a beginning level of Tarot study, but for those who already have a working knowledge of Tarot, this is a beautiful deck to work with.  Both reader and seeker will enjoy the visual delight in these cards.

This deck is available as a boxed set which includes the book, "The Sacred Circle Tarot:  A Celtic Pagan Journey" by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason.  The 322-page book is filled with valuable information for each card.  Three to five cards are dedicated to the explanation of each card, including upright and reversed meanings, as well as symbolism.  A number of useful spreads are also presented at the beginning of the book.

From the back cover of the book:

"Dance the Circle of Life:  Enter the powerful dreamscape of the The Sacred Circle Tarot.  Walk the spiral path of wisdom.  Seventy-eight haunting images draw your spirit into Britain and Ireland's most sacred places, linking you with the spiritual legacy of the Pagan Celts:  their reverence of the great web of being, the cycles of life, the divine energy of the Goddess and God, and the land's ancient magic.

This book explains the imagery of the Sacred Circle Tarot cards and how to use them to enrich the circle of your own life.  Divine the meaning of the currents, energies, and events surrounding you when you lay out the cards in the Zodiac Spread, the Circle Spread, the Planetary Spread, the Romany Spread, the Web Spread, or the Celtic Cross.  Expand your spiritual reach as you meditate on mysteries such as the Goddess in Her aspects, the Season, the Eight Festivals, or the symbolic battle between winter and summer.

Join the dance of the sacred circle.  These mystical cards will attune your inner rhythms so they vibrate with the pulse of the earth itself."

The accompanying book takes you through the Fool's Journey in easy-to-understand terms.  However, one must keep in mind that this deck is far from being a Rider-Waite clone, so there can be a bit of a learning curve.  Give yourself time to absorb the symbolism and inner messages of the cards . . . and the rewards will be forthcoming.





Deck Details - The Sacred Circle Tarot

Number of Cards in Deck: 78

Size of Cards:  3-1/4" x 5"

Major Arcana:  Green Man, High Priest, High Priestess, Lady, Lord, Druid, Lovers, Chariot,
Warrior,
Shaman, Wheel, Web, Sacrifice, Death, Underworld (card 14), Tower (card 15),
Initiation (card 16), Star, Moon, Sun, Rebirth, World Tree

Suit Names: Cups, Wands, Swords, Disks (Pentacles)

Court Cards:  King, Queen, Knight, Page

Back Design of Cards:  The Sacred Circle
                  Tarot Card Back

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