The Secret Language of Birds Tarot

Sometimes it takes a while for a review to get written for The Magical Buffet. It’s not because I disliked the product, or even because I find it particularly hard to figure out something to say. Just somehow, it happens. One of the big factors lately is just a lot of really top notch stuff keeps coming out and I find myself up to my armpits in awesome books and products (a fantastic problem to have, trust me!). Add my health issues that slow me down and the holiday season, and well, stuff takes time. It’s been forever that I’ve been meaning to share the beautiful “The Secret Language of Birds Tarot” by Adele Nozedar and Linda Sutton from Schiffer Publishing on the site, and the cold winter chills finally got me at the keyboard.

There’s a lot of stuff to talk about here, so let’s dive in and eventually I’ll hopefully remember to tell you how cold weather temperatures got me off my ass and writing this review of a truly unique deck. Let me start with, this is a deck from Schiffer Publishing, so I must again take a moment to gush about the quality. It comes in a sturdy oversized gift box that has the awesome magnetic closure that apparently all Schiffer tarot decks come with. The 78 card tarot deck features cards 5 1/2″ high and 4″ wide, which admittedly are a bit hard to handle, but frame the vivid artwork of Linda Sutton beautifully. The set comes with a slightly over 200 page trade paper back style book written by Adele Nozedar (author of “The Secret Language of Birds” and “The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols” amongst others) and features an introduction from Philip Carr-Gomm (Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids).

Much like when I reviewed “Cat’s Eye Tarot”, don’t think that some sort of cutesy bird “theme” is covering up for a lack of thought, intent, or depth on the part of the decks creators. You would be making a grave mistake.

“When the early priests and Shaman discovered what they believed to be a link between the random vagaries of the weather and the actions of the Gods, they naturally turned toward the skies for confirmation and justification of their actions.

Birds, with their flight patterns, naturally assumed the nature of messengers from the lofty realms of these multitudinous Gods, since of course birds, symbolically, come from the same place as both Gods and weather; the vast, impenetrable Above.” – Adele Nozedar

Nozedar expands from there showing how birds make compelling subjects for tarot exploration. Perhaps not as adorable as the “Hanged Kitty” from “Cat’s Eye Tarot”, (Curse you “Hanged Kitty”!) but multifaceted, sometimes cute, other times fearsome, mysterious, I think you get the idea here, right?

And just in case that wasn’t enough depth and texture for you, here’s some more for you!

“You will notice that the deck you are holding contains a lot of Italian terminology. This is not only because the artist Linda Sutton lives for much of the time in Italy, but is also in honor of the origin of the Tarot cards as we now know them.”

Nozedar goes on to say, “What we do know is that, as early as 1420, there are references to a certain ‘Game of Gods and Birds’ which was commissioned by Duke Filippo Maria Visconti of Milan.” The deck wasn’t the tarot deck we know today, it is a branch in the weird and winding family tarot tree, and so “The Secret Language of Birds Tarot” opted to pay a little homage with a touch of Italian.

This brings us how the cold weather finally prompted me to write my review. One of my favorite cards from “The Secret Language of Birds Tarot” is “The Fool”. After a chilly day of errand running my mind wandered to the beautiful, breezy, beach scene depicted by “The Fool” in this deck. The scanned image doesn’t do the art justice, but it gives you a bit of an idea of how wonderful it is. And I love Nozedar’s introductory description in the book.

The Fool - Il Matto - The Cuckoo

“At the edge of a beach, pretty much where the sea meets the shore, we see a beguiling looking young woman wearing a strapless gold sundress and a gold bangle. She’s relaxed, looking over her shoulder in a come-hither manner, effectively flirting with the camera. This girl looks as though she’s more aware of her lipstick than her surroundings – but the lipstick is good, and, in some cases, lipstick can be important especially when there might not be much else to rely on.”

She goes on to discuss the significance of The Fool and the cuckoo. Also the crocodile our beguiling woman has no problem toying with. Remember, there is always a lot more going on with any of these cards than you might suspect at first glance.

“The Secret Language of Birds Tarot” is a bewitching deck that has certainly captured me in its spell.