Creating Motherpeace

Tarot Cards have been used in the West as a divination tool for centuries; it is thought they were carried from India into Europe by Gypsies during the Medieval period. Since “Gypsies” are most likely descendants of ancient Dravidian peoples living in India, we can assume that the use of these symbolic Arcana goes back to ancient times in some form. European Tarot decks—with four suits (elements) and twenty-two Major Arcana (the “big” cards)—first appeared in the mid-fifteenth century and has come down to us as playing cards without the archetypal or transpersonal cards, except for the Fool. The tarot tradition tells us that the Fool contains all the Major Arcana in the bag he (always he) carries. The majority of the images in traditional tarot decks depicted white males in courtly poses.

In 1978, Karen Vogel and I took on the challenge of creating a tarot deck that redressed the gender and race imbalance by bringing women into the imagery and including people of color from around the world; more than half of the Motherpeace Tarot Cards show people of color, mostly women. Karen and I had been researching the existence of ancient prehistoric cultures that were (apparently) women-centered and Goddess-worshiping; we were deep into the research when a friend of mine brought us a deck of tarot cards. I was smitten with the few female images: the Major Arcana High Priestess, Empress, Strength, Temperance, and World cards, as well as the four elemental Queens. We began using the cards for divination, studying the tarot from arcane books on the subject as well as expanding into the Western magical tradition and esoteric science, such as the Alice Bailey books. At the same time, I was learning yoga and we were practicing shamanism and psychic healing techniques. From all these varied resources, an inspiration emerged and the Motherpeace cards were born. I created the Six of Wands (a burst of creativity, Shakti) and Karen followed with the Chariot (independent agency, you’re the driver); we agreed, split the deck in half, and spent the next year drawing images everyday. When we couldn’t get the deck published in New York, Karen had them printed in Berkeley (1981) and shortly after that, Harper San Francisco asked me for the book I was writing to accompany the cards, Motherpeace: A Way to the Goddess through Myth, Art, & Tarot (1983).

The Motherpeace cards are female friendly. They embody the peace-loving values under which humanity evolved for hundreds of thousands of years before patriarchy burst onto the scene like a virus five thousand years ago with its contagion of violence and hierarchy, pushing women and matriarchal values to the background in favor of the centralized power of the State and male dominance. Our present condition of relentless wars, economic hardship, pervasive mental illness, refugee problems, and climate crisis are the inevitable consequences of this Power-Over approach to civilization. Working with the Motherpeace cards (and concepts) supports one in opening up and returning to a more peaceful, harmonious, feminine, and healing approach to life.

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Vicki will host a workshop in Dunderry Park from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th September 2018

For more info please see events details here