Moving in with a tarot enthusiast, I guess it was only a matter of time before I was presented with my own deck. The Tarot of the Cat People by Karen Kuykendall was a deck that was ‘meant for me’, she said. I was touched, not directly because of the cards, but because of the thoughtfulness of the gift, and the fact that I love cats. I immediately awwwwe-ed at the artwork. There are kitties everywhere. Even Death has a feline skeleton walking by his side. I am not a tarot reader, so this review will not be in the eyes of someone who knows the meanings of the cards, or even has faith in the spiritual side of the process. I used to have a deck when I was a teenager – I still have it somewhere, wrapped in a small scarf, hidden away in my box of memories. Much like the iChing coins and the crystals I’ve picked up throughout the years. To me, they’re pretty, but not mystical. I’m a scientist. I’m guided by logic and reasoning. It’ll come as no surprise to a well-versed reader, that the suit I tend to pull most often is swords.
The artwork on the cards, apart from the cats, stems from a mixture of cultures. The figures remind me of proud Native Americans, decorated Hindu women, Mongolian warriors, and ancient Egyptian decadence. The colours are hazy, like they’re projecting a mystical world, ranging from violets through earthy tones to bright reds and orange. The book includes a detailed introduction to the world of the Cat People of the Outer Regions, explaining the values in their society, the geography and topography of their realm. Though I haven’t invested much time in studying the mythology laid out, I do appreciate that this makes this deck unique, carrying a different message to more mainstream designs.
My absolute favourite card is the Knight of Cups. He sits astride a tiger, holding his cup high as if presenting his essence to the world in the form of orbs floating up from within the goblet. The tiger is endearing to me, as he looks like The Tiger Who Came to Tea. To me, this card shows strength and confidence along with an inherent trust in his companion animal, allowing it to carry him without reigns. The tiger is a wild animal, a stealthy and intelligent hunter capable of violence at the flick of a switch, yet this one looks friendly and serene, more likely to snuggle up for a cuddle than ever inflict pain.
Another card that I like is the Page of Cups. It features a lone woman stroking her cat, sitting with her cup beside her. The reason it stands out to me is the solitude in this card. Compared to imagery on other deck, especially the PrismaVision third edition (a deck my best friend uses, which has artwork I absolutely LOVE and am really attracted to), where the Page is standing by a body of water, his essence flowing from his cup as he opens himself up to the world. This woman is sitting alone, in what feels like a desolate environment, as the sun shines through a haze. To me, the feels cold and lonely, but perhaps also that this woman finds strength in her solitude.
Finally, there’s the Seven of Swords. A grand lady stands tall in the dark, wearing lush robes, fine jewels and a flourishing headdress. Four swords stand to her left, two to her right, while she holds the last one high, her other hand outstretched to conjure a cat. She is strong, proud, and wise. From what I know the Seven of Swords depicts someone running off with five swords, leaving two behind and looking back with regret, and speaks bout success in unconventional ways and treachery, or a loss of power. To me the card is more about choosing your resources, taking advantage of what you have and picking the best tool for your situation. Another reason I mention the Seven of Swords is that it is the one card that seems to be pulled whenever someone does a reading for me. My landlady Kate, my best friend Amanda and I myself have all pulled this card in every single reading about me. Yesterday it turned up as the Soul card of a Body/Mind/Soul three card reading.
I haven’t done many spreads with this deck, but I do like to look at them, the artwork and read about a card here and there in the book that came with the deck. I don’t really know if I will start using them regularly. My friend Amanda pulls a daily card for me every now and then and has recently started asking me what the card says to me before divulging the interpretation she has on hand, so I’m starting to understand the underlying meaning behind the suits and values. If I did start using my cards, I think I would apply them more as a prompt mystical guide or spiritual tool. As I said, I’m a scientist, I rely on logic and reason. The spiritual aspect of tarot may not be my cup of tea, but I do love my deck and would recommend them to anyone who would like a deck that strays from the mainstream imagery and introduces you to a world where cats rule supreme.
Creator: Karen Kuykendall Publisher: US Games Reviewed by: Linda Amos