Herbal Tarot Deck

“Everything is poison, everything is medicine; both are determined by the dose,” said Paracelsus. You can call this popular expression the motto of the Herbal Tarot. The author of the cards took Waite’s motives as a basis and supplemented them with his own developments in the field of medicine. As a result, a powerful magical tool came out, which, if used correctly, can heal the body and spirit. As usual, it all depends on the ability of the practitioner. In skillful hands, the system will “speak” and reveal all the secrets that the author left for dessert to fortunetellers. The main thing is not to make a mistake with the proportions and not turn the medicine into poison.

History of creation of the Herbal Tarot Deck

The Herbal Tarot deck was first released in America in 1988. The publication of these cards was a breath of fresh air for all practitioners. The author of the deck, Michael Tierra, has achieved heights in studying the properties of useful plants. He created medicines based on wild herbs and shrubs, tree bark. Later, he combined his knowledge with a magical approach and, as a result, received a new tool for analysis – the Herbal Tarot. And the artist Candis Cantin helped him in this. In 1997, Michael wrote an accompanying book that made it easier to interpret the Arcana.

In general, the Herbal Tarot deck is a rather complex system that requires the study of additional literature. The author seems to have encrypted secret messages in the image of flowers and berries. That is why there is still so little information about this deck on the Internet. This Tarot is unique and multifaceted, it opens only to those who are ready to dive into the worlds of Michael Tierra. The lifeboat can be considered the duplication of information through classic plots – references to Waite. However, it was the author’s non-standard approach that made the deck so interesting and inaccessible at the same time.

Key features of the Herbal Tarot by Michael Tierra

The Herbal Tarot refers to the English school. There are 78 cards in the deck, and Strength comes at number 8. The names of the Arcana are classic, except the Medicine Wheel (Wheel of Fortune), the Suspended Person (Hanged Man) and the Pan (Devil). Moreover, each card of the major group has an astrological correspondence. The author himself writes about this in the book. Also at the bottom of the Arcana, Tierra left his own signature, like Arthur Waite. And in general, the meanings of the cards for the most part converge with the classic ones. The suits and court Arcana remained the same. The author seems to have deliberately retained the traditional structure so as not to confuse practitioners.

The Major Arcana of the Herbal Tarot deck demonstrate the path of the Spirit, the eternal game of life. One flows into another, the lower becomes the higher and vice versa. Images of plants provide an additional layer of information, prompt the questioner to certain thoughts. For example, ginseng is painted on the Fool. According to Michael Tierra, this plant has tonic properties. It is indicated for weakness and loss of strength. Thus, ginseng correlates with the main character – mobile and carefree, believing in himself and thirsting for discoveries. Planet of the Fool – Uranus. But on the Arcana of the Moon, lemon balm is shown. It calms and cools, allows you to sensibly assess the situation and your attitude to what is happening. Astrological correspondence – Pisces, ruled by Neptune.

At the same time, each plant can not only heal, but also harm, become poison. That is why in the accompanying book for the Herbal Tarot deck, the author pays attention to reversed positions. So, the same hero of the Fool can turn into a loafer, and the Moon card in the opposite sense will show melancholy or even depression. The Minor Arcana in the Herbal Tarot also have many nuances and hidden meanings. For example, ephedra is depicted on the Ten of Swords – a natural stimulant, diaphoretic. It would seem that on such a negative card there is a completely inappropriate symbol. However, ephedra shows the fortuneteller a new path, gives an incentive to push off from the bottom on which the person found himself.

The suits of the Herbal Tarot deck are also interesting. They remained standard: Wands, Cups, Pentacles and Swords. Only the author’s approach to interpretation has changed. He added additional information layer. The choice of plants for the minor group was not something chaotic. On the contrary, Michael Tierra justified his actions with evidence. So, on the group of Wands, he placed those herbs and plants that affect the heart and blood circulation. On the Swords – natural substances that affect the respiratory organs and the nervous system. On Cups – tonics and aphrodisiacs. But on the suit of Pentacles there are plants that normalize digestion.

Style and symbolism of the deck

The Herbal Tarot deck is very reminiscent of Waite in style. Candis Cantin used juicy bright shades and at the same time quite simple drawing. The artist placed the plants in the foreground in order to attract the attention of the questioner. Each card has a colored frame and a lower block containing a name and a numerical designation. At the same time, the author entered the names of flowers and shrubs on the Arcana themselves. A muted green shirt with a floral design. The picture itself is symmetrical.

Separately, it is worth noting the rich symbolism of the Herbal Tarot. For example, red thin rays can be seen on the Sun. The card corresponds to the plant angelica, which is a means of stimulating menstruation. This herb warms the blood, counteracts rheumatism. On the Arcana of the Moon, important symbols can be considered a lizard and cancer – creatures denoting base manifestations of personality, apathy and unwillingness to let go of the past. The black color on the background personifies the unconscious, everything that is displaced from the usual worldview of a person.

Interpretation of the Herbal Tarot cards

The interpretation of the Herbal Tarot deck can be carried out both based on the works of Waite and on Michael Tierra. Of course, it will not be superfluous to study books about medicinal plants. It is not necessary to read the author’s work. The main thing is to catch the message, to learn how to draw analogies on your own. At the same time, the deck is replete with standard symbols – the Ankh sign, the Mirror of Venus or the Caduceus. You can read information on the Internet to have at least a superficial idea. However, the fortuneteller has the right to rely only on the plot and colors. These slices will also give a lot of answers.

Fortune-telling on the Herbal Tarot allows the use of reversed Arcana. Here you can also read the author’s book or intuitively search for shadow meanings. Each card has both positive and negative aspects. For example, the Six of Cups means children’s openness, the ability to enjoy life. At the same time, an reversed Arcana indicates carelessness and infantilism. The plus-minus principle is easily applied to any card. This approach simply requires constant practice, which will subsequently bring the skill to automatism.

What questions is the deck suitable for?

The Herbal Tarot spreads cover a wide range of topics. This includes both everyday moments and purely spiritual, sublime ones. It can be considered a universal deck. However, it is most fully disclosed as a medical reference book in health spreads. In this way, cards can show predispositions and already existing diseases in a person. In this case, the deck will give a hint in which direction to move, what and how to treat. But in any case, the prediction should not be considered a panacea. Michael Tierra’s medical approach involves visiting a doctor before prescribing any medications, even herbal ones.

Also, the Herbal Tarot deck perfectly illuminates issues related to relationships. It shows the archetypes of people and the approaches that will allow you to connect with a friend or relative. The spiritual realm is not forgotten either. Cards allow you to find your way, work on your mistakes. For such questions, only the major group can be used. But for more mundane aspects, only one or two suits are suitable, depending on the specifics of the situation. Whether or not to use reversed Arcana is the choice of each practitioner.

Who are the Herbal Tarot cards for?

The Herbal Tarot deck will appeal to those who are fond of quackery and healing. These are the people who are close to the energy of the earth. Studying the medicinal properties of plants requires perseverance and concentration. This type of personality is often woven from Kapha – thick vibrations. However, the very same herbs and flowers can correct a person’s energies in different directions. Everything depends on the level of knowledge. Also, the deck will appeal to those who are interested in spiritual growth, personal development. These are the individuals who never rest on their laurels and set new goals.

The Herbal Tarot is also suitable for practitioners who value versatility in working with cards. The deck is able to illuminate almost any area – it all depends on the level of knowledge of the querent. Arcana will dilute the usual plots with vivid images, give many new meanings. At the same time, the mantic system is quite conservative and restrained. It does not deviate from classical plots and interpretations. That is why it can be suitable for beginners who want to understand the Tarot in more detail.

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