Tarot de St. Croix
Created by Lisa de St. Croix
Self published 2014
I can’t remember where it was, I first saw images of Tarot de St. Croix but once I saw it, I was drawn to it immediately. The main point of interest that stuck out to me was its vibrancy and earthiness. The Tarot de St. Croix is warm, gentle, and is an experience of self-discovery and spirituality. The color story conveys a sense of maturity and wisdom. One of the things I really enjoy about Tarot de St. Croix is all the personal touches Lisa St. Croix made sure to incorporate thought out the deck. She’s included self-portraits, portraits of friends, and illustrated individual experiences. You can get a real sense of her own journey and discoveries as you associate the cards and their meanings to your own personal experiences.
Lisa de St. Croix pulls from multiple references in this deck including multicultural religions, spirituality, traditions, current events, and divine inspiration. She cites in her guidebook a shamanic journey where she was guided by the goddess Isis to create a tarot deck as the catalyst for her artistic adventure that became Tarot de St. Croix. Lisa St. Croix self-published the Tarot de St. Croix in 2014 but it feels like this deck is much older. It feels like a classic. Tarot de St. Croix is a seventy-eight-card deck which features 22 major arcana cards and 58 minors. Although Lisa’s introduction to tarot was through a Marseille deck, I think the Tarot de St. Croix explores more Waite-Smith based themes and images though intuitive interpretation.
The cards arrive in a sturdy, two-part box decorated with various images from the tarot deck and rusty shades of orange. One drawback about the box is that it does not have a thumb cut out so separating the two halves may be difficult from time to time. For its short length the guidebook packs a big punch. Lisa was sure to include explanations of her artistic choices as well as key phrases for the majors and a selection of card spreads. The minor arcana descriptions are grouped together numerically which is a detail I appreciate because it allows one to see the relationship of the cards through numerology. The courts are grouped together in individual sections for the pages, knights, queens and kings. The cardstock is medium without much give so although riffle shuffling is possible, it can be challenging. Because these cards are matte finished there isn’t any lamination protecting them which makes them vulnerable to creasing.
If this deck was inspired by the goddess Isis it would make sense that I find this deck to have the gentle yet structured energy of a mother or grandmother. It councils me with enough guidance so that I can identify problems or disruptions and create my own path to resolution. Many times, we read that the 22 major arcana are meant to represent a soul’s journey which most decks invite us to witness from an outsider point of view. With Lisa’s art in the 22 majors I feel as if my soul is on this journey. It doesn’t feel as if I’m witnessing someone else’s journey, I feel like my soul is having a next level experience. The first-person point of view does not diminish as you progress into the minor arcana but instead it becomes more relevant to the reality of your current environment. That, in my opinion, is everything you could ask for from a Waite-Smith inspired deck of tarot cards.
I’d be hard pressed to find anything I dislike about this deck. If I was splitting hairs, I would say that the size and shape of the cards is a bit awkward because they are a bit shorter and wider than a standard tarot card. For my hands that are short and a bit wider, I find these cards to be an ideal shape but I can see where someone who is used to working with traditional dimensions might be thrown off by the cards in this deck.
Three of my favorite cards from this deck are the Queen of Pentacles, The Hermit, and The Star. The Queen of Pentacles was the card that made me want to buy this deck. In this card we see a regal looking, dark-skinned, woman looking quite comfortable embracing fragrant blossoms, in a sedan covered by a thatched roof, adorned with pentacles. She is none other than Queen Sheba, the very real queen of antiquity. The men carrying her seem to be devoted to her and their task. They are not burdened nor do they appear to be mistreated, exploited, or abused. The trio are surrounded by lush, earthy, riches of vegetation in the background, delectable fruit in the foreground, fertile, red, clay soil below, and clear, blue skies above. This card made me realize that the pentacles are my favorite suite in the deck. These people are surround by all the wealth and prosperity mother earth has to offer. The pentacles embody reward from hard work, dedication, and diligence and this Queen of Pentacles says it all.
The Star is represented by the goddess Nut, mother of Isis. The star-dazzled fabric of the night sky become her robes as her coolness blankets the dessert from the harsh heat of day. She literally showers her love over the land by quenching its thirst with her life-giving rains. When I see this card, I am reminded by the lyrics of Dream a Little Dream of Me*, a song of love and hope.
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me.*
Finally, The Hermit is a powerful representation of self-discovery. The Hermit being represent by a woman is empowering and relatable especially since The Hermit is the card for the zodiac association of Virgo. She is a curandera, a wise woman, from the southwestern United States and Mexico. She heals physical and spiritual ailments and this curandera has just emerged from the darkness of a vision quest to bright, clear, skies. She’s seen some stuff, recognized some things about herself, and is a better woman for it. Thanks to her spiritual journey the potency of her medicina with be much more effective.
I must admit that Tarot de St. Croix is not the deck that lives in my purse, nor is it usually the first deck I reach for when I’m looking to shake things up in my tarot deck routine but I reserve Tarot de St. Croix for readings where I need a significant message to speak to my soul. There are times in my life where I feel lacking in maternal guidance and these are the times when this deck calls to me. The goddess Isis continues to shelter, guide, and love through her inspiration within this deck.
The Tarot de St. Croix can be purchased from Lisa de St. Croix website, https://lisadestcroix.com/shop/, or on Amazon.
*The lyrics, “Dream a Little Dream of Me” were written by, Gus Kahn.