Though I’m most definitely a ‘Rider-Waite’ chick when it comes to reading tarot, I do quite like to dabble with alternative divination tools and techniques when I am given the opportunity. Earlier this month, Schiffer (also known as Red Feather) Publishing very kindly sent me a copy of the ‘First Light Tarot‘, which is most certainly an alternative to the traditional tarot.
The First Light Tarot is a space-themed divination deck, featuring imagery captured by the Hubble Telescope and according to the First Light Astronomy Club, ‘First Light’ is the moment a new telescope first opens itself up to the universe.
Designed and created by Dinah Roseberry, the First Light Tarot is a modern twist upon the traditional tarot as whilst it includes the major arcana cards (as featured within traditional tarot decks) everything else within the deck is a completely new concept.
After thirty years of reading tarot, Dinah wished to design and develop a new way in which to read the cards- a method that didn’t necessarily warrant such amounts of study and dedication in order to learn as the traditional tarot, thus the First Light Tarot came about.
Alongside the First Light Tarot, Dinah has also written numerous sci-fi, horror, and fantasy-based books, as well as a couple of non-fiction travel, romance, and career development books.
The First Light Tarot is packaged within a large, space-themed, magnetic-close, sturdy cardboard box which features a baby blue ribbon pull-to-open ribbon and a matching hinge-ribbon.
Inside the box is a single folded, shiny quick-guide reference card for the major arcana and insight cards, a ninety-six page, colour-printed guidebook, and the divination cards which are placed in two separate piles and housed within a cardboard template.
I have said time and time again throughout my tarot reviews that I just cannot cope with tarot decks being split into separate piles for packaging purposes. Each and every time I come across a tarot deck which requires splitting in order to squeeze back into its original storage, I find myself having to sew yet another pouch to keep the cards together as I just cannot cope with decks being divided!
As the First Light Tarot is a conceptual divination deck and therefore entirely different to read from the traditional tarot, the guidebook is, as you may expect, quite bulky.
The ninety-six page, colour-printed guide book which accompanies the First Light Tarot is split into three parts: part one includes an introduction to the deck, a guide to spreads and information upon astrological signs, numbers, numerology and meditation guides. Dinah has also included details upon the images used within the deck, further information upon the reference card, and a brief guide as to what you can expect from this deck.
Part two offers detailed information upon each of the twenty-two major arcana and twenty-two insight cards, each card has been given a full-page guide, featuring an upright and reversed card definition alongside advice. Finally, within part three is a conclusion and bibliography.
Divination With A Difference
Unlike standard tarot decks, the First Light Tarot consists of twenty-two major arcana cards, twenty-two insight cards, and twenty-two spread cards, all of which feature incredible images taken by the Hubble Telescope. Each of the images has been referenced and listed within the ‘authors note’ section of the guidebook, which if you happen to be like me, a space-nerd, is worth a read.
I personally have been interested in space ever since I was a child, I remember collecting books upon the universe, posters of the planets and whenever I had the chance to stay up late, I’d sit and watch ‘The Sky At Night’. These days I’m more into Brian Cox than Patrick Moore but still, space has and will forever fascinate me.
The cards are slightly larger than the average tarot card and I personally find them quite difficult to shuffle, though I do have quite dinky digits. The card stock is sadly rather flimsy and if I’m honest feels a bit cheap and cheerful.
Three differing but dazzling starry images are printed on the back of this deck to distinguish the major arcana, the insight cards, and the spread cards
According to Dinah, the First Light Tarot can help readers to:
- Bring solutions for day-to-day situations to light.
- Help to prepare long-term plans.
- Interact with the universe.
- Gain healing advice or inspiration.
- Understand your place in the universe as a whole.
- Figure out how to take action in your personal life.
- Gain insight into the collective mind of those in the world around you.
- Raise your vibration (the most important outcome).
- Find out how to read cards easily and without deep thought.
Keep It Simple
Tarot reading is an art that takes time to study, learn, and practice. According to the guidebook for the First Light Tarot, however, this is a deck with a difference as it makes use of much simpler systems involving pre-marked, numbered cards that can be arranged in any which way to provide connections to make for easier reading.
Personally, I found that this deck was so different from traditional tarot that I was almost constantly having to refer back and forth to the guidebook, and though I’m sure that with time and practice I could crack using these cards, I disagree with the guidebook entirely as I find this deck rather difficult to use.
The Major Arcana
The titles for each of the major arcana cards have been shortened to the likes of ‘Hermit’, ‘Star’, ‘Sun’, and so forth. The cards are labeled, numbered, and under each title is a printed keyword. Whilst I’m sure that this is helpful for some readers, I personally prefer to follow my intuition and I find printed keywords a distraction and an interruption to intuitive reading.
The Insight Cards
There are twenty-two insight cards within this deck, which perhaps could be treated much-like minor arcana cards, though truth be told, they are far more oracle based than tarot.
The twenty-two insight cards are named as Activate, Attraction, Battle, Children, Code, Conspiracy, Diversity, Emotion, Energy, Harmony, Healing, Karma, Messages, Nature, Portal, Power, Resistance, Soul Identity, Source, Thought, Vibration, and Well Being.
As I said above, the insight cards are almost oracle based, and whilst I often read oracle cards alongside tarot, I’ve never really thought to combine the two within one deck…
The Spread Cards
The twenty-two spread cards include: Querent, How querent sees the issue, Variable affecting the issue, Others looking in, Obstacles, Personal message, Past, Recent past, Present, First step, Strategy, Positive surroundings, Near future, Future, Outcome, Why is this happening? When? Who may hurt? What should I do? Who may help? and two wild cards…
Though I can completely understand the point of the ‘spread cards’ within this deck, I don’t really feel that they are needed, especially not ‘wild-cards’. Though I’m sure ‘spread cards’ may be of use to some readers, I tended to put them to one-side whilst reading with the First Light Tarot.
Reading With The First Light Tarot
According to Dinah, the First Light Tarot can be used in several ways:
- The cards may be used as a traditional ‘major-arcana-only’ deck.
- The insight cards can be used as a standalone oracle deck.
- The cards can be used as a more traditional tarot deck featuring the twenty-two majors alongside the twenty-two insight cards (which may be referred to as clarifiers in a more traditional spread).
- The cards can/ could be combined with other decks to add further information into readings.
- The cards could be used for insights into astrology, numerology, and meditation techniques.
Whilst reading with this deck, I chose to separate the cards into three piles (the major arcana, the insight cards, and the spread cards) and I used only the major arcana and the insight cards to follow a few of the spreads featured within the guidebook.
I’ll be entirely honest with you – these cards don’t really work for me, though I could happily gaze at the Hubble Telescope images all day long, I just cannot read with this deck. I think the First Light Tarot is just too far away from a traditional tarot deck and though I’ve sat and studied the guidebook, I find it too difficult to decipher.
In my eyes, the First Light Tarot is a divination tool just too far away from tarot to be classed as such, it’s a completely new concept which I’m sure with time I may grow to enjoy but for the time being – it’s just not tarot.
Pricing & Purchasing Information
Published by Schiffer (Red Feather), The First Light Tarot is available to purchase online via Schifffer for $24.99 or from the UK via Gazelle Book Services for £25.99. I have also found this deck advertised via Amazon for only £20.39.
To summarise, the First Light Tarot is totally different from the traditional tarot deck, and whilst it is a divination deck- it’s not entirely tarot nor oracle, it’s a hybrid of the two. This deck is just too far away from tarot for my liking, though the Hubble telescope images which feature throughout the cards are incredible and certainly something to enjoy at least.
Whilst I wouldn’t personally recommend this deck to traditional tarot readers – I would certainly suggest that the First Light Tarot could be an idea for those looking to branch out and to explore alternative divination tools and techniques.
For further information upon the First Light Tarot or Schiffer products visit www.schifferbooks.com
Disclosure: I was sent the above product for the purpose of this post however all opinions are my own.