As with every new deck I get, I want to handle the cards first and read the book later, usually much later. This time, I restrained myself enough to open the book first, and discovered I actually liked the book. Author Isha Lerner provides just the right amount of explanation to interest me in reading further.
The book begins with three sections of background information to orient the reader to the cards. Tribal Art and the Symbols that Shape our Consciousness gives a brief overview of art and symbols, and how nature was seen as sacred in many early cultures. The Magic of Numbers, Form and Color includes a section on the archetypical association of numbers. The numbers one through ten are explored for their sacred and archetypical meanings. Ms. Lerner makes reference to this information as she explores the meanings of the minor arcane. This was a great way for me to learn and remember some of these connections. I found that the author integrated her initial concepts throughout her work on individual cards. The subtle repetition helped me remember certain thoughts as I read further, and as I began using the cards. Using the Tarot: Encountering Tribal Wisdom has suggested layouts appropriate for this deck.
Amy Ericksen’s art is vibrant and propels the card reader into the intuitive realm. Her images appear “simple” at first glance, but I found layers of meaning as I began reading with them. My only slight disappointment was that the cards are uncoated, so they will bend and crease if you’re not careful. I was surprised at how well I liked this deck. The art is very much nature-based, as you would expect from a deck entitled Tarot of the Four Elements. The four suits are Earth (pentacles), Fire (wands), Water (cups) and Air (swords). The explanations and art are particular to this deck, although the explanations run somewhat similarly to traditional tarot meanings. The Major arcane are wonderfully fantastic images capturing devas, goddess and nature spirits as the reader goes through a Sacred Journey. These images seem to look right into the reader and I think this is one of the reasons I found the deck easy to read with. This is a deck and book I would recommend to anyone interested in exploring tarot, whether it’s your first deck, or a very good addition to your collection.
~review by Karen Phillippi
Artists: Isha Lerner and Amy Ericksen
Bear & Company, 2004
pp. 198, 78 card deck $35.00