Voyager Tarot and the incredible James Wanless!

I have just booked an hour’s reading with James Wanless, Ph.D., the creator of the Voyager Tarot, who is coming to Seattle in May.

 Now, for those of you who have never heard of or used Voyager, it is probably the most unique, intelligent, creative design for a tarot deck ever, and my excitement at meeting Dr. Wanless stems from my belief that his overall vision of how one can best access intuition is unique and quite brilliant in its simplicity.

When using the cards for a reading, the overall knowledge one receives is profound. The design of the cards, made up of pictorial collages of images from all over the world, is intended to stimulate the parts of the brain that integrate and synthesise information. Intuition is enhanced when we see images that work as mnemonic devices, opening up access to embedded cultural knowledge we barely know we know.

So when you see a Voyager card, and realise that you are looking at a collage of images taken from all over the world, you also get an immediate sense of what that card means to you, different from reading any other tarot deck I’ve seen so far. The photographic process that was used to create the cards gives them a 3-D effect, which makes the images come alive and strengthens the message each card transmits to your mind.

Voyager is the only truly globally-aware tarot deck I know of. Most decks rely on one cultural influence to impart their message; the card either speaks to you or it doesn’t. Very few oracle or tarot decks are truly universal in their messages, but this is what Voyager achieves.

The photographic images work directly on the brain in such a way that the reader gets an immediate ‘hit’ from the card. Each card speaks directly to you, and because there is no artist’s representation, there is no interpretation to wade through. You know immediately, based on your visceral reaction to the images on the card, how you feel.

There is very little confusion, therefore, with the Voyager deck. Whereas most tarot decks require you to interpret and look up meanings, Voyager relies on you and your innate knowledge to interpret the card. There is also a book that accompanies the deck, in which Dr. Wanless has explained where the images come from, and what they symbolise. Each card is interpreted, but your interpretation is what matters most.

The deck is divided into the following: Cups, Wands, Crystals, Worlds. Crystals represent the mind, and stand in for traditional swords; worlds represent material reality, and stand in for pentacles. In each suit, there is a Man, Woman, Child, and Sage, instead of King, Queen, Page and Knight. In this way, Voyager discards the more traditional hierarchy, and broadens definitions and expectations.

If, for example, you ask the cards “what should I focus on today?,” and receive a Child card, it will be telling you to open your mind to play, learning, and open-ended growth. If you receive a Sage card, it might be indicating to you that you need to make use of your wisdom, and teach others what you know. Each card comes with its own name; so the Seven of Worlds is called “Breakthrough”; the Five of Wands is called “Oppression,” and so on.

Each name gives you the immediate sense of what the card’s message is, and each message is reinforced by the images you’ll see on the card. The readings won’t require interpreting reversed cards; the important message comes from your response to the card, rather than an a priori interpretation provided by someone else.

So far in my life, no other deck has been so simple to use, and given me such profound insights into myself, others, and the way things really are, rather than how I would like them to be.

The Hermit, from The Voyager website
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