May 20, 2024
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Tarot Deck Review: The Sacred Circle Tarot

Every month, Amazon, Etsy, crowd-funding platforms, and bookstores release numerous tarot and oracle decks. There are now thousands of decks available, ranging from new releases to out-of-print ones. Reviewing a deck helps readers decide whether to purchase it, focusing on factors like card quality, artwork visibility, and companion book usefulness. This month, I’ve chosen to critique the Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason.

The Cards

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From the publisher:

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This exceptionally popular and groundbreaking deck combines photographs, computer imaging, and traditional drawing techniques to create stunning images. Drawing on the sacred sites and Pagan heritage of Britain and Ireland, the symbols of the Sacred Circle Tarot unlock the deepest levels of Pagan teaching.

The imagery of the cards is designed to work on a number of levels, serving as a tool not only for divination but to facilitate meditation, personal growth, and spiritual development. The major arcana is modified somewhat to fit the pagan theme of the deck. For example, “The Fool” becomes “The Green Man,” “The Hierophant” becomes “The Druid,” and “The World” becomes “The World Tree.”

Enter the sacred circle and experience a dawning of consciousness harkening back to the bards of Celtic lore.

About the author:

Anna Franklin is a third-degree witch and high priestess of the Hearth of Arianrhod who has been a practicing Pagan for more than forty years. She is the author of nearly thirty books, including the Hearth Witch series, and the creator of the Sacred Circle Tarot, Fairy Ring Oracle, and the Pagan Ways Tarot. Her books have been translated into nine languages. Anna has contributed hundreds of articles to Pagan magazines and has appeared on radio and TV. She lives and works in a village in the English Midlands where she grows her own herbs, fruit, and vegetables, and generally lives the Pagan life.

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About the Artist:

Paul Mason is an English Pagan artist, photographer, and illustrator best known for his stunning photomontage images and book jacket designs. He has worked previously with Franklin as illustrator of “The Sacred Circle Tarot” and co-author of Lammas. Mason lives in the English Midlands.

Card Stock and Shuffling

Printed on medium card stock, these cards have a light gloss finish with rounded corners. They are not easy to riffle shuffle if you have small hands. The cards flex well because the card stock is of medium thickness. Pleasantly, they do not stick together when they first come out of the box. Because the card stock is medium thickness, they will last for many years, even with extended use.

Artwork and the Visual Accessibility of the Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason

The artwork for this deck is one of its most interesting features, combining graphic design and photography. However, the deck’s visual accessibility varies. It effectively communicates the meaning of the Major Arcana through its designs. However, the Minor Arcana use pips to determine the element and rank of the cards. Fortunately, there are key words at the top of the cards to make interpreting them easier. The court cards show individual figures, appropriately dressed as members of the Celtic ruling class.

Sample Card Descriptions

The Green Man

 

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The Green Man, symbolizing the spirit of the wild, represents untamed energy and primal instincts. It signifies new beginnings, potential, and the raw power of nature. Embrace the call to adventure and explore uncharted territories, trusting in your instincts to guide you towards growth and transformation.

The Seven of Cups

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The Seven of Cups warns of self-deception, allowing disrespect, or unreliability. It prompts introspection to identify areas of illusion or self-sabotage. Take responsibility for your actions, set clear boundaries, and prioritize honesty and accountability. Embrace self-awareness to overcome deception and foster genuine relationships built on trust and integrity.

The Four of Wands

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The Four of Wands signifies completion and the need for meticulous attention to detail for a successful finish. Ensure all loose ends are tied up and final tasks are executed with precision. Celebrate accomplishments, but remain focused on finishing strong to secure a positive outcome.

Explanation of the Cards

You can purchase just the cards of the Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason, but I recommend getting the box set, which has a fantastic book. The 300+ page book is worth owning. It has an introduction with history about the tarot, various spreads, and using the cards for meditation. The next section covers the Major Arcana and the Fool’s journey. And concludes with a section on the Minor Arcana.
In the section for the cards there is a description of the card, the symbolism, the divinatory meaning (upright), and the reverse meaning. The Major Arcana card descriptions include the role of each card in the Fool’s journey.

Usefulness of the Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason

This tarot deck proves invaluable with its comprehensive guidebook, and insightful keywords on each Minor Arcana card. The imagery, deeply rooted in Celtic themes, enhances understanding and connection with the deck’s traditional representations. Whether a novice or seasoned reader, this deck offers a rich blend of symbolism, facilitating profound insights and guidance.

Rating

I give the Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason 4.5 out of 5 stars. The meanings in the book are thorough and well-written, and extremely insightful when leaning how to interpret the cards. The artwork is excellent for the theme of the deck, and by far a wonderful feature. The card stock is medium, so the deck will last if heavily used. The use of the pips for the Minor Arcana is always disappointing and keeps the deck from reaching a five star rating.

Where to Buy the Deck

If you like the Sacred Circle Tarot by Anna Franklin and Paul Mason and wish to purchase a copy, you can do so online or in a major bookstore.