Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot Cards
by Kim Huggens and Nic Phillips
Published by Red Feather
First let me just say, this is a very special deck and I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to know such a worthy project. The Pistis Sophia: The Goddess Tarot Cards is a Majors only tarot deck and guidebook boxed set that explores the topic of goddesses and female wisdom. Pistis Sophia translates to “faith-wisdom”. Inspiration for the structure of this deck comes from the Rider Waite, Thoth and Marseilles tarots. The deck is multicultural-for real-no virtue signaling here we’ve seen some decks throw in the stereotypical depiction of a goddesses in a way that doesn’t really honor the culture. Some of the names of the goddesses are familiar to me and others are not. I find that spending time with this deck has been a journey in itself with the one card reading being my favorite. There are many goddess decks that have romantic or fairy-like characters but this one honors the actual goddesses instead of the folk tale.
There’s nothing stingy about the information in this guidebook. There are 6 illustrated spreads, the text and images are grayscale and the type is fairly small. The information is a wonderful treat for those who wish to learn about the goddesses of myth and lore and how they relate to tarot. There is a chart for astrological and Kabbalistic associations for each card. Each card/Goddess has 5 pages of text to explore. The card name, the culture it comes from, symbols, divinatory meaning and keywords are all addressed in the guidebook. There is an extensive bibliography in the guidebook should anyone want to do more research. The set up in the guidebook is “As Above” with the goddess information and “So Below” with the tarot information.
The card thickness is just right but the deck I have has a lip or rough edge around the back side of the cards that feels like a flaw. The cards have borders with the card name, number and Goddess name on the front lower, center. The cards have gilt edges that are not sticky or stiff. The art is almost Religious Icon style-is that a style? Nic Phillips has done a great job with the illustrations with each card depicting a clear idea. The card backs are orange with fancy swirl details that are suitable for reading reversed cards.
Some of the changes of card names:
Card IV The Constant
Card VI The Sisters
Card XII The Mystic
Card XIV Alchemy
Card XX Rebirth
Card XXI The Universe
One of my favorite cards is The Magician: Isis/Egyptian “Isis pulls the energy of gods down into manifestation; this act of creation is an act of magic and will. From the eye of Ra, from whom she stole the secrets of magic, Isis has control of the four elements and this the entirety of the world.” There is a wealth of information in the guidebook about the story of Isis and then it goes on to tell us the Divinatory Meanings and Keywords.
Death is another favorite of mine in this deck. The Japanese Goddess Izanami-no-Mikoto or The Female Who Invites comes from Yomi, the dark underworld. She is united beyond death with her mate Izangi-no-Mikoto (He Who Invites). A time of change is depicted so well in this story – “every act of destruction in this tale is an act of creation”.
I picked this deck for review because I knew it would be a challenge for me-I might be the only tarot reader on the planet who isn’t an expert on goddesses. I’m glad I’ve had this opportunity to delve into the academic works of Kim Huggins and Nic Phillips because it’s an opportunity to grow as a reader, also there’s so much here to broaden horizons with legends of goddesses strictly through the lens of tarot. Some of the cards are not the usual goddesses of legend in this deck because only the legends that are documented were used to create the Major Arcana.
There is a sister deck that came out in 2007 : Sol Invictus: The-God Tarot that studies the Masculine. I have so much respect for the work that goes into a deck like this that requires so much research, time and artistic ability. If you have an interest in goddesses and the stories that are able to be documented this deck will be a treasure to you. The Pistis Sophia would be a great addition to your tarot collection and to use for those big questions that a Major’s only deck can be so helpful with.
FTC Disclosure: In accordance with Title 16 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations Part 255: Any product sent to me from a publisher for a prospective review will receive my own personal opinion about the product.