The Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, is a powerful introduction into the world of the goddesses. Lorenzi-Prince is also the artist and should be commended for this massive undertaking. The youthful, bold, and colorful images capture the power of each goddesses experience. This 78 card deck brings to life the stories and wisdom of dark goddesses across various cultures around the globe. The deck is structured along the traditional Rider-Waite system, with a few minor changes. For example, instead of the Page, Knight, Queen, and Kings, representing the court cards, Lorenzi-Prince utilizes Amazon, Siren, Witch, and Hag as their correspondent as seen below.
Lorenzi-Prince maintains the traditional elemental suits, and selected goddesses based on their affinity for the element. Per the author of the deck, "Goddess represents her commitment to a personal, feminist expression of spirit."
Dark Goddesses are deities from various traditions who embrace the "darker path," or "left-hand path." Some of most commonly recognized dark goddesses include Kali, The Morrigan, Hel, Lilith, Ishtar, and Pele, just to name a few. All of these goddesses and more are included in her deck along with short blurbs about their history and the meanings associated with each card. This deck is perfect for exploring not only the personal gnosis of each goddess, but to personally connect you to each goddess on a deeper level. Unlike other Tarot decks, there are no reversals in the Dark Goddess Tarot. Let's try picking a card from the three placed below.
Begin by thinking of a question you have or a challenge you're facing of which you need clarity. When ready, pick either the card on the left, center, or right. Below is the reveal for each card.
LEFT CARD REVEAL: Goddess Athena | Two of Air, or Two of Swords (in the Rider-Waite).
Athena is the Goddess of Wisdom and War. Per Lorenzi-Prince, she is the "guardian of the city of Athens." This goddess has the gift of discernment, she is a just person, and works to serve her nation. She is not subject to being impulsive or thoughtless. She acts only after having carefully considered all options and utilizes the best course of action aligned with truth and fairness for all involved. The two of swords is usually about having to make a decision- customarily either a decision from the head, or the heart. In this case, Athena, is advocating that you choose from the head in this case.
CENTER CARD REVEAL: Goddess Scylla | Amazon of Water, or Page of Cups (in the Rider-Waite).
This goddess is a Greek sea dragon who was either born a monster, or born divinely beautiful, and was turned into a sea dragon out of jealously from another goddess after having the unwanted attention of another sea god. In her mythology, Scylla swallows the sea three times a day and then throws them up again three times a day. Whether this is out of anger or revenge, Scylla is no longer to be messed with. Scylla "haunts rocks and caves of a narrow strait opposite the whirlpool daemon Charybdis." (Lorenzi- Prince 2020, 107). Perhaps her actions are a bit emotional, which is to be expected after having been cursed by the goddess Circe. Regardless, Scylla will eat and destroy as she pleases (Lorenzi-Prince 2020, 107). The pages are traditionally messengers of sorts, and Scylla's message is to be mindful of how others may be feeling about you and steer clear if you can. Don't ignore the emotions of others in your environment, be careful or you may end up like the monstrous sea dragon, angry and vengeful.
RIGHT CARD REVEAL: Goddess Persephone "She who shines in the darkness, She who shines for all." | Liberation, or Judgement (in the Rider-Waite).
This goddess is likely super familiar to you already. But if you're new to mythology, Persephone is the Greek goddess of Resurrection, Life, and Death. Persephone is stolen from her mother, Demeter, and taken to the underworld by the god, Hades, who wants her as a wife. Persephone becomes his queen (not by choice) in the underworld. She does gain some power as the queen; she can overrule the judgement of Hades. She is merciful, unlike her male counterpart, and introduces this gift to the spirits in the underworld. Demeter, finds a way to bring her back from the underworld, but sadly Persephone has eaten the fruit of the dead, pomegranates, therefore she must spend half her time in the underworld, and the other half in the upper world. In the Rider-Waite, Judgement is about a resurrection of sorts, rebirth, or answering the call within. It can also be a rude awakening. In this case, the message from Persephone is that although you may have had experiences or a recent experience where you have been victimized in some way, and this situation was purely out of your control, there is still a way to heal. There is still life. It just may not look how you thought it would. You may be at the beginning of your own rebirth, but not quite out of the death yet. Hold on. There is light to come, but again, your world may look different now. Persephone knows what it's like to be in a situation you don't want to be in, a forced situation that has upended your world. She knows what it means to be operating between life and death constantly. But try to see what you have gained from this, even though it may take time to do so. There is always something to learn and painful situations are major experiences to teach us about our own inner strength- they help us become who we were meant to be.
In the booklet itself, the author offers various meanings for each card. I advise you take the meaning that works for you. However, if you find you have received a different message from the goddess, I would suggest you stick with that. I have found that most of the "dark goddesses" have been subject to injustice in some way, and some of them are labelled dark simply because they have retaliated in some way, or have used their pain and turned it into an unacceptable form of power by the patriarchy. I have included more images of the deck if you are interested in purchasing this deck published by Schiffer Books/Red Feather.
I highly recommend this deck if you are interested in learning more about the dark goddesses and want to tune into their wisdom to help you overcome personal obstacles. If you are a Tarot Reader and would like to give readings using this deck, I definitely recommend it. The stories are an added bonus to the recipient to remind them that they are not alone, and that many that have come before them have had similar experiences and have continued their journey nonetheless. I do suggest you become quite acquainted with each goddess and their story as to properly contextualize their history and foundation of their wisdom. Overall I have fallen in love with this deck and I do recommend pulling one card a day to learn about the variety of goddesses available to understand their knowledge!