The Anieth Tarot Deck
The Anieth Tarot deck was designed and created by Lucia Shields. Of all the players, she was the most familiar with the magic of the Gates and the movement between worlds. At first, arrivals in Anieth through the Maze and Gate of the Shields's residence seemed wayward. Lucia began to see that personality determined where someone might end up in Anieth once they walked through the Gate on Earth. She designed the trumps to be tied to the players and the characters they favored in Anieth. Many of the other cards became important people in their travels. Eventually, she began to use the cards as a way to communicate, even summon people in Anieth. Her deck is notable because it differs from traditional decks in two ways: their are fifteen cards in each suit and there are five suits instead of four. The fifteenth card is that of the Sage. The five suits correspond to the five directions, the five flights of Ogham and the five Clans of Greater Trees in the world of Anieth.
The Clan divisions are show in two ways, one is by the small symbol in the lower right corner of the card and by color. The color also determines the suit. This row of images represent the Sage cards. You can see by these cards that the colors vary slightly. Cups are blue, Wands are red, Swords are yellow, Disks are green, and Cords are white. You may also notice from these five cards that the names are in Gaelic. The translation is also not literal since the world of Anieth predates much metal technology, coinage and the use of swords. The word "cuach(a)" means vessel. The word "bata(i)" means wand, baton or stick. The word "scean(a)" means knife. The word "cloch(a)" means stone. The word "snáth(a)" means thread, string or snare. The suits are also decided by season. Cups are summer, Wands are fall, Swords are winter/spring, Disks are late spring, and Cords are timeless.
These cards also show some of the characters who are considered to be Clan Chiefs, but the association is a bit loose. The blue card is of Bán Eilit, head of the Fallow Deer Clan whose patrons are the River Birch, but she is the Willow Sage. Next is an image of Bleid Abrannan, Raven King. The Raven Clan is a client of the Alder Clan, who are technically clients of the Willow, but many images of ravens and of alder trees are in the Wands suit. The next image is of the Thorn King, Arn Rí. He is leader of a loose-knit group that is overseen by the Ash or the Pine depending on who controls the territory through which the Thorn travel, since they are nomadic. The next picture is of Rúnda, Head Healer of of the Elder Clan who are clients to the Oak. And last, the gray card depicts Nion Naoú who heads the Ash Clan.
The pattern that we began to see in the cards was of an unfolding and the reverse folding back. In the article "About the Tarot" we talk about the different interpretations of the divinations of the lower "pip" cards. The next illustration is what we determined. The suits are in order, with Cups being the body, Wands being emotions, Swords being thoughts, Disks being actions, and Cords being the spirit. As you can see, the upright positions of the cards follows the projection through greater and greater waves out of the self until the projection touches others and then dominates then and finally becomes society. Then the reversed position of the cards withdraws from that expression, first in a critical or rebellious way down into deeper and deeper introversion that ultimately turns in on itself in a knotted tangle.
Here are the cards, displayed in all suits one pip at a time. You will notice that the Ogham letters also determine the number of the card.
The Aces are sages of the Hazel Clan who specialize in lore and law and forms of ritual as well as keep calendars. Here you can see the colors more clearly. Also the sages hold up fingers for counting out their suits. The plants also correspond to the suits as well do the animals.
The Deuce cards merely show two animals, their attitudes reflected in the meanings.
The Threes reprensent more symbolism although there are a number of "three elements" in the images. The Cups card is a picture of Lonrach, a Seer of the Rowan, the Disks card is a picture of Ellie and Valon playing an ancient board game and gambling with feathers.
The Fours have less to do with "four" and more to do with the meaning of the cards.
Some of the Five cards have five animals, but their images are determined more by the meaning of the divinations.
Again, the Six cards show six animals or have meanings determine the images.
The Sevens, with the exception of the swans, are solely based on their meanings.
The Eight cards are the most abstract of the pips, their images tied to color and to the divination feeling rather than being literal "eight" images.
The Nines. We have tried to stay away from mere images of wands and disks, choosing instead mythic imagery as well as scenes from Anieth. The upside-down tree is a famous symbol in many Celtic myths, and below are the Nine, Fallow Deer shapeshifting daughters of Bán Eilit. One of the more important symbols for Wands is fire, and the Cords card is decorated by ash trees.
With the Tens, the pips of the suits end. Here is the greatest expression of the suit: Saturation, Oppression, Orthodoxy, Persecution and Fatalism. However, the cards have to mean the reverse. If you look at the cards, you can also see the upside-down meanings: Growth, Freedom, Exploration, Tolerance, and Identity. (This is especially so if you have read the books.)
The Court Cards have slightly different meanings in our deck. The Princess or Page card is called the Muse in our deck. The Knight or Prince card is the Protector. The Queen card is an agent of Transformation and the King card is the Mentor. The Gaelic words have these meanings. The final card is the Sage card. We have also stayed with gender only in the Queen and King cards. The others are gender neutral since in Anieth, women were warriors as well as sages or queens. Women were also mentors, yes, but we thought it important to show men in their father states, which is teaching the young.
The Muse cards are all shapeshifter in partial shape. The second card is a picture of Fuilteach na Fearna, the Alder Queen, smoking her mugwort cigar. The third card is of Tyllu of the Owls, the fourth of Dubh of the Elder, and the last of the multi-shaper Luath Ingaupe in her lynx form.
The Protector cards are warriors all shown with weapons particular to their Clans. The Willow warrior here fights with the "s" spears, the Cuilinn of the Holly with the light javelin, the Birch with bow and arrow, the Rowan with the stone shuriken and the Ash with poisoned darts and nets. They are surrounded by ghost animals particular to their suits.
The Queen or Agent of Transformation cards all represent the human queen half-breeds of some of the Nine Nations. The first is Ornait Glenacca of the Blue Nation of Skies, the second is Tamiu Veldonacca of the White Nation of the Setting Moon, the third is Buannan Lithmeracca of the Orange Nation of Fire, the fourth is of Natharatha Gwaranacca of the Green Nation of Summer, and the last is of Ula Druacca of the Red Nation of the Rising Sun. There are shown here with their animals in the number of the suit. The Ogham number here is 13.
And here are the Kings/Mentors each with a child, ages growing through the suits.
And again, back to the Sage cards.
The Trumps or the Major Arcana
Aleister Crowley in his Tarot deck named the trumps after letters in the Kaballah. We played around with tying these correspondences to the Ogham alphabet. The letter match after a fashion, but we shifted them around and went with the meaning of the word for the card rather than a strict adherence to the alphabet. However, what we did discover was that their were four flights of five cards that tied into the story archetype model discussed on other pages. The four basic story archetypes correspond to god archetypes talked about by Joseph Campbell in his Masks of God series. They are: the Hero's Journey, the Bridal Path, the Tricker's Tale, and the Witch's Way. Each of these stories is common in some form in most of Western Literature. Again, this is discussed on other pages. Here is the basic division of the trumps that we discovered.
These map directly to the suits, but we did not follow the strict suit symbolism that we had, since it was more important to us to depict the Players. For us, it was of consequence that there were the same number of players in the Invasion of Anieth that we had in the trumps. This was only discovered after the second generation of players became old enough to go to Anieth. Below are the Players and their cards.
Seen here in the heroic cycle are: Chas Gallanis playing Runion Adruacc o Gallanis for the Chariot card; Nick and Leo Stanford with Lucia Shields who represents the Wheel of Fortune Card; Bob Gallanis who plays Marsyas Gallanis as the Emperor; Nick Stanford as King Raol Aveldonacc who is the Hanged Man; and Geoff Martín who plays King Dubh Daracha (her with his friend, Mathin) as the Sun Card.
The Bride or romance story of the water suit is represented by: Diana Standford who plays Uafasach of the Hawthorn as the Hierophant, Morga Riaffacca of the Star Nation played by Mark Stanford as the Lovers with his wife Marion who plays Duvan Adruacc; Karen Stanford Gallanis who plays Queen LiHara, High Queen of the the Tualárach as the Empress; Thomas Angelini who plays Korutos o Gallanis le Dysanon here with his slave Valon as the Justice card; and finally Raissa Greshenka here as Fann in her lynx form with her best friend, Morga as the Temperance card.
For the Trickster/Mystery stories, we began with Bleid Abrannan played by Mishka Greshenko as the Magus card; Brian Abernathy who plays Tréan, White Cuilinn of the Holly, but appears here as a magpie on the Devil card; Theron Abernathy plays the part of Tinneal, Cuilinn of the Red Holly here at An Doras in the Death card; as the Tower, Susan Stanford as Queen Cuadhe, condemned for murdering her husbad; and finally Kevin Abernathy as Stan Antuig, Wolf Eola of the Moon Nation here as the Hermit.
The Witch story which is more rare but is better known as the "fall from fame" series of stories that appear as real life biographies. This flight begins with the High Priestess card depicting Edna Shields, one of Lucia's twin daughters; next is Valerie Stanford who plays Briau Veldonacca of the Moon Nation here as the Moon card; Sasha Greshenko here as Faol with Elitín as the Strength card; Leo Stanford who plays King Tuama here with his brothers in the Veldonaccii uprising that led to the Siege of Correna in the Last Judgement card, and Gundrid Freyasdattr who plays Teig Angwaranacc here as the Star Card.
Last, but not least, here is Peter Shields again as the Fool. The World card represents Edna's child, Ru.