The Relative Tarot is a beautifully designed eighty two card deck and booklet that comes in a sturdy hinge box. The ninety one page saddle bound booklet is highly illustrated and explains the tarot blueprint, how to find your birth card, your soul card, how to select a significator card and how to calculate the birth cards for yourself as well as your relatives.
The deck contains eighty two standard sized cards with gilded edges. Although done in Waite Rider style, the archetypes for each card are what make this deck so unusual. The characters are reproductions of photographs of people from the early Twentieth Century. Some of the cards are relatives from Ms. Paris' readers; while other cards depict well known people such as Geronimo, Queen Victoria and Harry Houdini (who is not the Magician, but the Hanged Man) as well as various silent movie actors.
There are extra cards in the deck. The Lovers have three different depictions. One is the traditional heterosexual couple, the second is a lesbian couple and the third is a gay couple. Between them is a woman in vaudevillian costume with a bow and arrow. The extra cards provides the reader with choices suitable to the querent.
There are two Justice cards; one for the eighth position and the other for the eleventh, depending on whether you prefer to use the astrological or numerological card order. I personally prefer Justice in the eighth position. Strength is the same way. Just choose where you want to place this card in your deck when you set it up.
The archetypes used in this deck also gave me a new perspective on the meanings of the cards. The card that stuck with me most was the Five of Pentacles. In the Five of pentacles, Paris uses a picture of a Native American woman with her baby standing in front of the church windows. Usually, I interpret this card as help is available for anyone who needed it. All the seeker has to do is step inside the church. But this depiction, knowing the history between the church and the Native population, gave me a chilling perspective on this card. Yes, help is available, this card seems to say, but what are you willing to risk to get that help? And if you get it, will you be able to live with the consequences of asking? Will you willingly enter that church knowing that you may have to give up the most basic part of who you are in order to get help? Maybe it is better to stand out in the cold than to ask for help from someone who will demand more than what you are willing to give.
I absolutely love this deck. The beauty of it, the carefully considered people that Paris used for her cards, the new perspectives on interpretation and the energy that exudes from them as soon as you open the box. The blueprint is fascinating and compelling and perfect for ancestral study. This deck is more than worth the price.
~review by Patricia Snodgrass
Creator: Carrie Paris
Weiser Books, 2021
p. $35.00 pp. 91