The Barbara Walker Tarot

Updated: May 30



The Barbara Walker Tarot deck is one that deals with mythology, symbolism and the Goddess, or Divine Feminine. It's a deck that, at first glance, may seem to be based on Thoth, but it isn't. It's a deck that has similarities to, but doesn't exactly folllow, any of the three mainstream categories of decks. It's not based on Thoth, Rider Waite or Marseilles. It's a deck unto itself that gives a brief nod here or there to one of the three more commonly used types of decks but then goes on to bring so much more into play that it stands alone as a deck.


If you don't care for keywords on cards, then Barbara Walker's deck may not be that attractive to you. It spoiled the deck for me when I first saw it many years ago, but now that I've delved into it in earnest, I actually don't mind the keywords quite so much. To read for a client in person, I'd be more bothered but since I only read online most of the time nowadays, it's not a problem. I don't give my clients photos of spreads because they pay me for knowing the cards and interpreting them, they're not coming to me to have a Tarot lesson. If I were to read for a fellow Tarot reader who asked for a photo, I'd be fine with providing photos, but I don't ever run into that.


The card backs of the Barbara Walker are reversible. The backs are black with a white border. In the black field, there are two white triangles in red circles, pointed end to pointed end. In the larger book that came out with the original deck Walker explains that the two triangles were later moved together, which formed the Star of David. The triangle, when pointing up represents the male and pointing down represents the female. When they're slid together, that's when the Star of David is formed, which was a later invention once matriarchal society was deemed to be "of the devil" and patriarchy took over.


The original Barbara Walker deck resembled Lo Scarabeo's decks in the sense that it contained several languages on the fronts of the cards. The larger book had a different cover image than the current one. The images are larger on the deck that's been reprinted in the tin, because the original cards were pocket-sized like the ones in the tin, but the images had to be smaller to accommodate the several language card titles. The reprint of the larger book has a different image on the front but contains the same text. It's crammed so full of mythological, historical and symbolic information that's it's a fascinating book that could stand alone without the cards, in my opinion, if someone just wanted a reference book.


In summary, this deck isn't for everyone. I don't think I'd recommend it for a Tarot novice unless they wanted to just specialize in reading with this particular deck without bothering with any of the other three types of Tarot decks. I've been reading for over 20 years and it's still a lot to learn, even for me, but I'm finding it a fascinating and absorbing task at this time in my life so I'm glad I've tackled it.





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