The Ancient Egyptian Tarot Deck by Clive Barrett (or the AET, as it is often called in the Tarot world), has been one of my most favorite Tarot card decks. Ever since I bought it many years ago, I have been in love with it! 🙂 So, it is with great pleasure that I am going to write a review of this amazing Tarot card deck today!
A Tarot card deck themed on Egyptian Mythology, the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck has been lovingly created by by author, illustrator and sculptor
Clive Barrett, who has painted the images that we seen on these cards.
The size of the cards of the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck is approx. 7.25 inches X 4.8 inches. They are easy to handle and shuffle, and I am quite comfortable using them in readings. According to Clive Barrett’s interview on the Aeclectic Tarot, each card of the AET took about 40 hours to complete, right from the rough sketches to the final painting!
The deck follows the Rider-Waite-Smith structure, where Trump 8 is Strength and Trump 11 is Justice, which I am quite happy with, since I am pretty used to this structure.
The backs of the cards, however, are not reversible. 🙁 However, since the design is a bit busy, you can ignore that and read with these cards in the reverse too!
Along with the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck, you will receive a very well written book that explains each aspect of the card. This book is also written by Clive Barrett. A very informative book, it talks about the different aspects of reading the Tarot cards, the symbolism and structure of the cards, Tarot’s connection with Egyptian mythology, a bit about Egyptian religion, and then about the cards themselves.
For each of the cards, the book gives a detailed explanation of the image, the symbolism and the myth associated with it, followed by the interpretation of the image in a reading. It doesn’t give any separate meaning for reversed cards, so I often just let the interpretation speak to me as they will.
The book also as a section where the author gives a few spreads which you can try out with this deck.
The Appendix section contains a list of correspondences of the cards with Hebrew alphabets, elements, astrological signs and planets, and colors.
The Major Arcana cards of the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck contain images of the different Gods and Goddesses from the Egyptian pantheon. For example, The High Priestess card is Isis, and Strength is Sekhmet.
Here’s where reading the book comes in real handy!
For example, the book tells us that this card talks about Isis, the lunar goddess. Then, the book goes on to tell us how the Ankh, which she holds in her hand, is the key to the mysteries because it is a representation of the union and unification of the sexes and thus depicts the mystical union of heaven and earth.
The Major Arcana cards in this deck have a vast richness in their imagery – all the lushness that one would associate and imagine with Ancient Egypt shines forth in each of the images of the Major Arcana. These Gods and Goddesses come to life in the images of these cards!
The Minor Arcana cards of the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck talk about the everyday aspect of life in Ancient Egypt. It is as if one is transported to the sands of Egypt, living among the people of those days, walking through the vast palaces and peeking into the lives of the men and women, Princes and Queens of the Nile peninsula.
Every time I go through the images of this deck, I feel as if the deck’s creator, Clive Barrett has actually gone back in time and seen the life of the Egyptians back then, and stood there and made his paintings! LOL
The images of the Minors are so life-like, it is amazing!
Along with readings, I often use this deck for storytelling situations, when I am inspired to look at these images while getting into a story that I might be writing.
The Court Cards of the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck are also quite awesome.
And the book is truly quite helpful with the interpretations of the imagery present in these images.
For example, in the description of the Princess of Cups, the author describes each and every part of the image and then goes on to give his interpretation of the card.
The Princess of Cups, for example is imaginative, artistic, and spends a great deal of time in reflection and contemplation. She can also be described as a day dreamer. 🙂
Getting close to these court cards and understanding their imagery and symbolism isn’t difficult.
Reading With the Ancient Egyptian Tarot Deck
Reading with the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck is an amazing experience. I find the cards to be very open to the intuitive forces and are very easy to get into and make friends with.
Even if you haven’t spent much time reading the book and learning the names of the Gods and Goddesses, you can still read with this deck because it’s imagery conforms to many standard norms that most Tarot readers will be familiar with. Still, I wouldn’t recommend not reading the book – because it is a veritable storehouse of information. Also, if you are using this deck to read for clients, its a bunch of fun to impress them with the names of these Gods and Goddesses. 🙂
As I mentioned before, the Ancient Egyptian Tarot Deck is my favorite go-to deck for storytelling. I love how the cards and the images are so natural and real, even while evoking images of an ancient past!
The Cards I Liked
There are many cards from this deck that I absolutely love.
But here, I am going to show you a few of them which really caught my eye!
For example, look at the 9 of Disks! Isn’t she just beautiful! A woman of noble birth stands at the entrance of a cave, gazing at the gold plates that she has stumbled onto. The 9 of Disks has always been a favorite card of mine, in terms of depicting a wealthy woman who can figure out what she wants to do with her money!
Another classic example of the beauty of the cards of the Ancient Egyptian Tarot deck is the image on the 3 of Swords card. Actually, it was only after I saw this image and fell in love with it that I had decided to buy this deck all those years ago!
Now don’t get me wrong! But I just fell in love with the very simple and effective way in which the meaning of the 3 of Swords has been painted into this card!
In most all decks, I find that lingering too much on the images of the Swords cards gives me a bit of a headache. But not so with this deck! Wonder why?
Just look at the image of the 5 of Wands! If we compare this image with that of the Rider-Waite-Smith card, then this card seems different. But the competitive spirit amongst these soldiers actually becomes more pronounced with their rigid stance. According to the book, the conflicts are present in the image, but also present is the ability to overcome them!
And of course, my favorite card is the Queen of Wands! 🙂 Surrounded by fire (her element) and her pet leopard, she sits there calmly. This is one woman I totally admire for her calm and presence of mind, especially in tough situations. She is warm, giving and loving, while maintaining her regal bearing, never once seeming or being snobbish.
You have got to love how Clive Barrett has brought the people and places of Ancient Egypt to life in the images of the Ancient Egyptian Tarot Deck!
Buy This Deck
Normally, I would give you links to the deck on Amazon.Com, but not this time. If you go there, you will find the deck to be super costly! So here’s a site where you can buy the deck at a relatively low cost (compared to amazon of course). You can buy the deck for ￡70 (plus shipping I suppose) from www.greenmangatekeeper.com/aetbuy.html and save yourself some money.
Do you have this deck? What do you like about it? Would you want to buy this deck for yourself? Do share your thoughts in the comments section below.