James Battersby (artist)
ISBN #: 978-0-7643-3984-4
Chanel Bayless and James Battersby’s Simply Deep Tarot is their second collaboration. Their first, A King’s Journey Tarot, they self-pblished in 2011 and it was received very well by the tarot community. Simply Deep Tarot is created in much the same style of bright colors and easy to understand imagery. If you lay the cards side by side overlapping the narrow side borders the images then tend to run together and create a story line that can be simply read from left to right as though you were reading and turning the pages of a book. Your book. Your story.
Simply Deep Tarot is designed in the Rider-Waite style. Suits are Coins, Swords, Wands and Cups. Court cards are Princess (for Pages), Knight, Queen, and King. Strength is the eighth card of the major arcana and Justice is the eleventh card. All major arcana cards are named traditionally. The guide book includes both upright and reversed meanings. No sample spreads are provided. I recommend pulling 3 – 7 cards on an issue and simply lay them out left to right and read them like a story. The imagery really works well in this manner. The guide book has 96 pages and measures 2 7/8 X 4 7/8” while the cards measure 2 7/8 X 4 ½”. The cards are nicely laminated and they shuffle well together. Card names appear across the bottom border of the card. Borders are quite colorful and varied. The artwork consists of bright colors and the cards contain symbols that aid in their interpretation. The deck and guide book come housed in a hinged metallic closure laminated box that is sturdy and will stand up to years of use.
Simply Deep Tarot helps you to read your life’s story ~ where you’ve bee, where you are now, and the experiences that have shaped you and how your current mindset and circumstances will help to create your future. There are very few tarot decks that can be read in a strictly narrative manner, and Simply Deep Tarot is one such deck.
Chanel Bayless commences the guide book to her deck in an unusual manner. Most guide books begin with a brief discussion of the origins of tarot and explain what the major and minor arcana represent. Chanel Bayless chose to begin her guide book with a discussion of emotions and how to emotionally remove yourself from a reading so that your emotional expectations do not shape the manner in which you interpret the cards. As a professional reader with over 25 years of experience, I found this surprising and very welcome as it has already helped me to become a better reader for myself. Now my emotional expectations (hopes and fears) do not get in the way of my personal readings as much as they had in the past.
The emotional expectations of a reader can be a huge stumbling block, especially when they are reading the cards for themselves. When reading for others I do not have emotional expectations because I do not have any emotional investment in a client’s situation. So I am able to give them an unbiased reading. However, when it comes to reading the cards for myself, the opposite was normally the case. It is important to work toward removing our emotions from a reading so that we look at the cards with unbiased eyes. For example, a good friend of mine was having marriage difficulties years ago. She did a reading for herself and received The Tower as her outcome card. She called me all freaked out about it assuring herself disaster was sure to occur. I told her to look at the more positive side of The Tower, which is, yes this is a card of chaos and destruction, however, when the Tower falls there is always rubble from which we can rebuild. I told her that yes, perhaps her marriage had run its course and it may be time to move on, but even so, she will head toward an opportunity to rebuild her life into something she had always wanted, but her marriage circumstances had always held her back. What happened? Well, she did end up getting a divorce, but soon after began to concentrate more on her artwork. She is now a successful artist having her artwork shown in galleries, and she has met a wonderful man and is about to be remarried. Her marriage ending was not the end for her; and, in fact, brought to her a whole new opportunit y to rebuild her life and turn it into something she truly desired all along. My impartial interpretation of the Tower card allowed her to begin to see the possible outcome in a brighter light instead of allowing her fears and insecurities to take control.
When you are able to distance yourself from the reading you gain a new sense of clarity in your card interpretations. You slowly begin to move away from your expectations, both good and bad, as you move closer to a more impartial interpretation of your readings. Chanel Bayless includes an exercise anyone can do that will help you to gain emotional distance from your reading that will then help to increase your accuracy when reading for yourself. I normally skip over the introductory remarks in tarot guide books just because I’ve read them time and time again over the years in other guide books. However, in this case, the guide book was of tremendous help to me as a reader. I strongly encourage you to perform the brief exercise provided by Chanel Bayless every time you consult any tarot or oracle deck. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your readings.
Simply Deep Tarot is just that: simple and deep. If you take your time with it you can get a lot out of each card despite the deceptively simply artwork. My first question for the Simply Deep Tarot was, “why me?” This is a question we often ask ourselves when bad things happen. I had gone to the dentist in early November, 2011 for what I assumed would be a simple crown on my upper rear molar. As a result of that procedure I ended up enduring 4 ½ months of very intense pain in my jaw. The pain affected all aspects of my life due to its intensity. To top it all off I was told by an oral pathologist I consulted that the reason the pain was so bad was due to a congenital birth defect called Treacher-Collins Syndrome, which is basically deformed facial bones. From the outside you can’t tell anything is wrong with me but the CT scan told a whole other story. So, now not only was I in pain, but I was also depressed.
So, “why me?” I drew the 9 of Swords, the Wheel of Fortune and the 6 of Swords. At first glance the two Swords cards conveyed to me all the physical and emotional suffering I had endured. If you examine the 9 of Swords carefully you see a man with his head in his hands as all those thoughts run through his mind. I was struck dumb when I read his first thought in the upper left-hand corner, which reads, “why me?” This is the first time the tarot has ever thrown my question back at me so literally.
The 9 of Swords represents anxiety caused by excessive worrying. I had literally been tied up in knots over my jaw problem, plus the pain kept me up most nights for 4 ½ months. So I was operating on very little sleep, which only served to make matters worse. The 9 of Swords can also represent trouble sleeping & nightmares. I did have some horrible dental-related nightmares as I desperately attempted to sleep through the pain.
The Wheel of Fortune is the second card I received. Fate. Karma. Destiny. In other words, this was bound to happen sooner or later due to the congenital cranial defect of which I was blissfully unaware until recently. Just as the sun rises, as the Wheel turns it can bring things to light. Once again the card shocked me. I had been praying constantly for healing. There’s an angel up top and a praying woman below. I also listened to a lot of music and it helped me through each day. Plus, my daughter sings and this brings me great joy. This card also depicts a person singing or perhaps conducting a choir. The imagery told me I was using positive methods in my attempt to get my personal Wheel of Fortune to turn toward better times.
The final card is the 6 of Swords. This card depicts Chiron, the conveyor of souls across the River Styx in Greek mythology. I saw myself in the figure seated in the boat – despondent and without any particular direction in mind. Looking at this image I knew what it represented – there was no going back. I had new information about my health that would alter the rest of my life. The only direction I could move was forward.
The imagery of Simply Deep Tarot tells a story. My story about my jaw goes like this, according to the cards I received in my reading:
- 9 of Swords: Why me? Worrying and unable to sleep due to the pain (not to mention all the worry!).
- Wheel of Fortune: doing what I could to hep change things for the better.
- 6 of Swords: realizing the view I had of myself would never be the same, although my condition is a very mild form of the syndrome. However, later in life, Treacher-Collins Syndrome may have a greater impact on my quality of life.
Traditionally, these three cards represent fear, worry, anxiety (9 of Swords), Fake, Karma, Cycles (Wheel of Fortune), and passage away from difficulties (6 of Swords). In a nutshell, yes, I was very worried and anxious at the time al this was unfolding, but I did my best to remain positive and I had faith that “this too shall pass.” Finally, it di dpass and I was able to leave all the pain in the past and move on.
I include this sample reading to show you how clear, concise and to the point Simply Deep Tarot is, and how much you can glean from the imagery on each card. My reading showed me the way out of the “why me” syndrome and helped me to gain a higher perspective on my situation so I could move forwar in a positive direction.
A reading is as simple or as complex as you wish to make it. Sometimes simple is better.
Until Next Time, Wishing You Many Blessings,
Nefer Khepri, Ph.D., R. M-T.