Deck Interview: The Japaridze Tarot

Oooh mama! I am so excited to welcome The Japaridze Tarot into my collection. This deck has been around for a little while already (2014, according to the copyright on the box), but it only recently popped up on my radar. As soon as I saw those lush, lush images, I knew I had to have it! I have heard mixed reviews of this deck as a working deck, so we'll have to see if it does make its way into my reading rotation. It's pretty, but does it want to play? Only time and study will tell! 

So far, I've only glanced through the cards and the lovely, full colour booklet, but I already have a favourite card:

Would you just look at that. Those colours! What a hot fucking volcano goddess. You can feel her power rumbling! It strikes me that this deck would work well for pathworking and meditation, because don't you just want to fall into this image? It's very seductive. So rich! There's a whole world in this card.

The Japaridze and I are never going to get to know each other if we don't make proper introductions. Thus, a deck interview! Borrowed, as usual, from the wonderful Beth of Little Red Tarot. Let's get to work, shall we?

Umm, wowsers. That's some big, nothin' to fuck with energy you have going on here, Japaridze Tarot! Five out of six majors. The flippin' Death card straight off the bat. Yikes!

1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic? XIII Death

Obviously, this deck does not beat around the bush! Immediately, we are being taken on a journey, and a rather confronting one, at that! It seems the Japaridze Tarot is most interested in transformations, in the shedding of skins, and transitions from old ways of living to new.

I love the way the figure on this card is being drawn into a cycle, drawn into the land of death, but also into a red, womb-like space. This Death card is a chrysalis out of which something new can be born. This deck isn't afraid to lure us into dark places, and we need to trust that this exploration will prove to be for our own good.

2. What are your strengths as a deck? XI Strength

Ok, point taken! This deck is obviously a powerful tool. It embodies the particular kind of power that the Strength card represents - a kind of inner composure, a still, resonant kind of power, no force or brashness here. This deck is steadfast and supportive, but don't expect to be coddled by it! 

3. What are your limits as a deck? XXI The World

I don't even know what to say to this! I was literally laughing as I turned these cards because they are just throwing punch after punch! Reckoning with the limitations of The World is no small feat. Now that my nervous giggles have abated, I think the limitations of this deck might lie in the fact that it is so rich and full. It contains everything and more, and it won't spare any truths when reflecting that back to you. Reading with it might leave you grasping, overwhelmed. 

Also, its primary interest seems to be spiritual journeying. Don't ask it what to wear out on a Friday night, because it's only interested in taking you to the top of the mountain and showing you infinity. It'll definitely make you late for dinner! To get the best out of it, save it up for the big questions.

4. What are you here to teach me? IV War

I'm not at all surprised to see War appear in this reading, because it was one of the few cards I had a strong negative reaction to when flipping through the deck for the first time. The Emperor isn't an archetype I'm overly attached to, but I don't feel so great about interpreting it in this way. My first impression is that this is quite a negative, limiting way to think about The Emperor's energy. Obviously though, I have more to learn from this card!

Given the assumptions I brought to this, I think this deck is here to teach me to get some more beginner's mind going on. As soon as I saw War, I used my preconceptions about The Emperor to make a judgement about this card, but it's important not to cling to that judgement and be closed off to what the card can teach me. The Japaridze Tarot is obviously its own beast, and it won't be pigeonholed by anyone else's standards. I have to learn to accept it on its own terms.

5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you? 0 The Fool

This really reiterates what we just talked about, the idea of beginner's mind. The best way to work with this deck is to leave your baggage at the door. It wants to take me on a new adventure, and I must approach it with an open mind and heart. We've already seen that this deck doesn't shy away from confrontation, so there may be times when working with it feels like treading a dangerous tightrope through a mad, gravity-defying circus. My level of comfort is really not this deck's main concern! If I want to work with it, it will be important for me not to fear or judge what it has to say. Instead, I'll have to plaster on my fool's grin and keep putting one foot in front of the other!

6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship? Five of Fire

Once again, there is no coddling to be seen! The Five of Fire shows a serious confrontation - with skeletons! Am I about to be brought face to face with my mortality? We've already had the Death card come up today, so that is entirely possible!

I suspect The Japaridze Tarot and I may come to loggerheads at times. I can already tell that the ideas in this deck are quite different to my usual reading approach, so no doubt there will be moments when I feel as though it is pushing my buttons and will want to push it right back. In some ways, this card is an invitation - I might want to write off some aspects of this deck, or turn away from its tougher messages, but wouldn't it be so much more rewarding if I just let my guard down and got into the ring? It might not be pretty, but for all its beautiful paintings, this deck doesn't care much for pretty! This is down and dirty, full engagement. Take it or leave it!


Phew! That was intense! I think I've got a seriously powerful device on my hands here, and I can't wait to work with it more deeply and get to know it better. For now though, I'm going to step away and have a cup of tea. All those Majors have worn me out!

What are your thoughts on the Japaridze Tarot? Whether this is the first time you've seen it, or you've worked with it extensively, I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

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