Inner Whispers

Guiding You To A More Magical Life

Inner Whispers

Navigators of the Mystic Sea Overview

BF-Navigators-OverviewWhile there are definitely interesting interpretations opened up by the Navigators Tarot of the Mystic Sea (US Games, 1996), overall I haven’t connected with it this week.

The card stock is good to shuffle, and the non-reversible backs (showing the Kabbalist Tree of Life) don’t bother me.  I’m also fine with a deck that has echoes of the Golden Dawn, keeping traditional Courts, but renaming many of the Majors in line with the Thoth Tarot or for other reasons.  Although I don’t love having keywords on cards,  having them on every card – from Majors to Minors and the Courts – is also not a deal-breaker for me.  What most puts me off, which to me is generally the most important thing in a deck, is the artwork.

Take the Destiny (Justice) card.  This is one of those where the image has echoes of the Thoth deck’s ‘Adjustment’ card, but the name is all its own.  I rather like much of the symbolism here.  The main figure is black and white, which is a good way of representing legal or differentiating thinking: seeing things as clear and simple, one way or the other.  There is a feeling of balance to the card composition, too: the cross in the heart, the two elephants, the rising staircase behind, and the differentiation at the back – two people or a bull.  However, I’m put off by the simple, blocky colours, and by the strange ‘people’ with no hair and strange colours.

This complaint is less apparent in the Knight of Wands.  Although he is green, it is clearly a unitard, rather than being his skin colour.  And his helmet hides his hairlessness.  In terms of symbolism, he is suitably fiery and dynamic, leaping over a flame-filled chasm.  Still, I don’t like the blocky, monochrome background.

BF-Navigators-Overview1Turning to the Aces, I don’t really like this Ace of Wands, either.  The pallid-skinned, genitally-challenged figure could simply be like the disembodied hand in the RWS version of this card.  However, the wand seems rather dull and puny, almost a background element.  The sun seems stronger, and I like the way its rays reach out to the green tips on the otherwise dead-looking tree.  However, there’s a Sun card for that, and the colour scheme overall feels  cold and lifeless.

The Five of Swords is a perfect example of what I most dislike.  The red, hairless figures have Barbie-smooth ground and hold unnatural poses.  They are on an ugly plain made up of blocky elements that feel unnatural and wrong to me.  Perhaps this is intended as an alien landscape to match the rather sci-fi people, but it’s not an aesthetic that appeals to me.

The bottom line is that I think this is a good deck, an interesting deck, but personally I don’t really like it.

4 Responses to “Navigators of the Mystic Sea Overview”

  • I fully agree with you on this one. It is a good thing for the artist, that how we perceive art is so subjective 😀

  • It is so interesting how we all see decks with different “eyes”!!! I just love this deck – it’s one of my favorites. I love the colors, and the unique presentations that still embrace the essence of the card meanings. I do agree with you that in general I prefer not to have keywords at all, though in this deck I don’t mind it so much. I would like to acquire the accompanying book at some point, but so far it’s rather expensive when it’s available!

  • Thank goodness we don’t all click with the same decks; it would make blog surfing much less fun! 🙂

  • I like this deck, like the Thoth skew, and the book is very good. I like her little poems in the book. I really think something this unique will never be seen again, so it’s worth keeping. It holds up for me.


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